TAMPA—Remember this guy? You loved him. Then you hated him. Then you held your breath.
You weren't alone.
A name most FSU boosters, Alum, and fans alike will not soon forget. In true Gator flip-flop fashion, Matt Elam—the highly touted all-purpose athlete out of Palm Beach Gardens' Dwyer High managed to captivate the essence of College Football recruiting season's biggest drama-fest: the de-commit.
What's remarkably interesting about the unique case of Elam was not that he de-committed from in-state, arch-rival Florida, but the successive love parade with the Seminoles that ended just as quickly as it began.
Even after taking time out to pose for cameras, Elam showed the nation just how easily a player can be in, and out again, without even batting an eyelash.
Let's take a look at some of the other talented players who teased us, graced FSU's campus, yet somehow landed just short of faxing in their John Hancock to Tallahassee on Feb. 3rd.
While not the biggest name on the board on National Signing Day, it certainly was the biggest for USF's new Head Coach Skip Holtz—especially after FSU had taken USF's two biggest targets with Tampa's own Christian Green (WR, Tampa Catholic) and Winter Park's Christian Jones (OLB, Lake Howell High)
What's of particular interest about this player is that he was not only a solid verbal to FSU, but he was also the only player on FSU's chart that may actually play against FSU before he graduates (Elam already being a Florida commit prior, is not being considered due to what ultimately became nothing more than a waffled decision).
With USF now fundamentally a legitimate football school in the State of Florida, the progression of Mitchell could set the stage for recruits in subsequent seasons in the Tampa Bay Area—a viable breeding ground for talented athletes coming from schools like Plant, Armwood, Leto, Jesuit, Tampa Catholic, St. Pete, Dixie, and Clearwater High (to name a few).
"He'll be a Nole. No question.
No, he'll be a Tiger.
No, he's a Nittany Lion.
Well, maybe he'll go to South Carolina?"
Yep. We all knew EXACTLY where he'd go, right? Righhhht...
Marcus Lattimore: Long-touted as the premier running back of the 2010 class, had to go through a long list of premium schools to make his final choice between Auburn and his home team—Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks.
While there wasn't really a good shot at landing Lattimore heading into the last few days of January, FSU fans heard plenty of chatter that Mr. Byrnes High might follow his former teammate Brandon Willis (DT) to Tallahassee. Unfortunately, Willis committed to Butch Davis' Tarheels, making Lattimore's choice to stay home that much easier.
So close, yet so very far.
'Twas the night before Signing Day and all through T-Town,
not a 'Nole fan was weeping, not even a frown.
Then came the big moment, when Corey would come,
And Everette-like fantasies would soon become numb.
When Lemonier didn't sign, arose a blogging chatter,
FSU fans all soon recognized this disturbing matter.
But looking in hindsight, with five stars stuck in their head,
Jimbo's DE recruitment was far from being dead.
Bjoern Werner secured, and a Tackle or three,
It's safe to say we'll only slightly miss Co-rey.
So Corey Lemonier has some explosive stuff, and the prospect of landing Lemonier seemed assured with such an immediate impact player needed, but for all of the hype and the glamor surrounding the Hialeah High stud, the acquisition of German exchange student Bjoern Werner (Salisbury, CT) supplies FSU with a much stronger Defensive End that can be molded into the shifty DE that Lemonier provided.
While the comparisons between Werner and Lemonier are lacking, the prospect of a player who may be more of a raw talent, affords new DE coach Darin Eliot a potential opportunity to groom a more mature (20-years old) player on techniques needed to be a presence at DE.
All in all, Lemonier will be a player worth keeping an eye on at Auburn and is certainly a player that was high on many FSU fan's "dadgummit" list.
Fool us once—shame on UF.
Fool us twice—shame on FSU.
Well, there is certainly a lesson to be learned here. A simple lesson at that—FSU should distance itself from taking even the best Gator de-commits.
While Urban Meyer was basking in the possibility of having one of the best classes before signing day, even after his retirement hiccup; FSU became all too eager to entertain the likes of Safety prospect, and recent de-commit. Matt Elam. Then, just two weeks later, Boyd Anderson Safety standout Demar Dorsey came a-calling.
With the nation already catching the attention of the Elam flip-flop, this seemed like a perfect segue into part two of the Florida-Florida State recruiting see-saw.
In retrospect, Florida State lost out on the rights to Dorsey, who signed with Michigan on National Signing Day after being a rumored "silent" verbal to FSU.
In large part, Safety Greg Dent of Glades Central was the recruit that FSU had sought after the January recruitment of Elam, committing to Florida State on Thanksgiving weekend in 2009. Then Dorsey followed Elam's lead a week later, reopening his recruitment in January.
While Dorsey may have been, in many ways, a highly-touted and sought after addition to FSU's class, rumor has it that in his past, he has been a bit of a problem off the field and has had a few serious brushes with the law as a minor.
Reminiscent of another possible Adrian McPherson or Fred Rouse, perhaps sticking with Dent alone might have been a blessing to the other players on FSU's Secondary.
In the end, each of the Seminoles that could have been—it would seem FSU picked up a lot of talented, smart young athletes who will gel quite nicely with the new defensive staff, and existing players.
Here's to hoping we don't have to see these guys explode into greatness in their new homes abroad, and if they do, may we never be the recipient of that talent, at least not in a losing effort.