/Why Florida State for Cam Akers

Why Florida State for Cam Akers

Clinton High School’s star declared, “It was just a best situation for myself and my family.” “All around. It’s not far from my home and I didn’t want to travel too far. It’s a wonderful situation for me, and I just fit it well.” Mapquest says that Tallahassee, 442 miles away from Clinton, is also not that far. Why Florida State? Akers would fit into any program extremely “well.” A better question is: Why Florida State? Florida State has won 18 conference titles and three national championships. The Seminoles are proud to have produced three Heisman Trophy-winning players and three undefeated seasons. Many consider Dalvin Cook, the current FSU running back, the best running back in the 2017 NFL Draft. He rushed for 1,620 yards this season and scored 18 touchdowns. Akers also said that he felt connected with FSU coaches including Jimbo Fisher, head coach, and Jay Graham, running backs coach. Graham was a former running back player at Tennessee and in NFL. Graham has been with FSU for four seasons. Cook will be the fourth NFL runningback he’s helped to produce over those four years. He was the South Carolina coach of Marcus Lattimore. Akers had to be impressed by Graham’s and FSU’s track records. These schools were Akers’ favorites at one point or another: Alabama, Ole Miss Tennessee, Ohio State, Florida State, and Tennessee. Ole Miss would have been his choice if he had chosen to remain in-state. People in the Ole Miss football team felt optimistic about their chances, even as recently as Tuesday afternoon. Ole Miss’ No. 1 target. His recruitment has been a long-term investment by the Rebels. Ole Miss coaches believed that they had him at different times. There were also selling points: home-state appeal for a young man who loves the state, and difference makers at quarterbacks and wide receivers. One thing is missing: A running back who can make a difference. The obvious question is: How did Ole Miss’ ongoing NCAA investigation affect the Rebels’ chances of winning? Akers was not asked this question Tuesday night following his selection announcement. I doubt we will ever find the definitive answer. It played an important role in Cam’s decision. This is my best guess. This is how it always goes with NCAA investigations, even one as well-publicized. Even though they are dreadful, the eventual penalties don’t hurt as much as the dark clouds that came before them. Jimbo Fisher and other NCAA officials used Ole Miss against them? They did. It’s obvious that they did. There was at least one other instance when the NCAA investigation had a significant impact on a national recruit’s decision to move elsewhere. Peyton Manning made Ole Miss one of his final choices in 1994. Remember? Manning chose from Tennessee, Texas and Texas A & M. His mom and dad were his alma mater. Ole Miss was being investigated for the second consecutive time over a period of six years. Peyton chose Tennessee and Ole Miss was again under investigation a few months later. The future will show if this is a repeat of history. This NCAA investigation has already taken a significant toll. Rick Cleveland is Mississippi Today’s sports columnist. Check out his columns as well as his Sports Daily blog. Reach Rick at rcleveland@mississippitoday.org. To support this work, you can start a regular donation today to celebrate our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this story. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.