Former Florida defensive line coach Brad Lawing has resurfaced at Florida State. After losing Sal Sunseri unexpectedly to the NFL, FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher wasted no time in hiring Lawing to replace him.
The hire was a great move for Fisher as Lawing is an experienced position coach who has coached several All Americans including Jadeveon Clowney and Dante Fowler.
But perhaps Fisher had more nefarious motives for the hire. Perhaps the move was a Hail Mary attempt at getting two five star defensive ends CeCe Jefferson and Byron Cowart.
After all, they’ve been considered Gator locks for over a year. Lawing would have been their position coach if Muschamp had been retained and they did indeed enroll at Florida. Obviously they’ve both had a long standing relationship with him.
And despite a national championship in 2013 and 29 straight wins, the Noles were never really in the race for either player. So why not hire Lawing? He has a good rapport with recruits, players love him, and he’s a proven coach. And if there’s a chance bringing him in could get the Noles in on these two five stars, what’s the downside?
CeCe Jeffersons dad immediately took to Twitter to praise the hire.
Does this mean CeCe might consider following Lawing to FSU?
Considering he announced a final five in an ESPN interview which didn’t include FSU, probably not. I understand he tried to say the Noles were still in it but the fact that he didn’t announce them as a finalist despite the fact he was wearing a Noles sweatshirt is telling.
CeCe loves the recruiting game. He loves the attention, he loves to talk, and he loves to troll fan bases.
You can’t really put a lot of stock in what he says right now.
It’s tough to believe that a kid who grew up a Gator fan and has visited Gainesville as many times as he has would become a Nole simply because of one coach. It could happen but not likely at this point.
While CeCe loves the limelight and loves to play the game, Byron Cowart is the opposite.
Apparently the story goes, FSU coaches visited Cowart on Wednesday evening and leaked the fact they were hiring Lawing in an attempt to pressure him to commit to the Noles.
If so, it didn’t work. In fact, if the story is true, it actually backfired. In a story by ESPN national recruiting analyst Derek Tyson, Cowart eliminated FSU Wednesday morning hours after the visit by Nole staff. He was scheduled to visit FSU but now it appears he won’t be taking that visit.
“The visit (by Noles coaches) was good. It was different,” Cowart was quoted by Tyson. “I haven’t had the heat put to me like that before. It’s crunch time, so they want me to come up for this last visit, but it’s like I already know what they can bring to the table, I already know what I can I get from Florida State the school. It’s just crazy, I just want to relax and get away, think and get my thoughts together, and that’s why I was like ‘I don’t know if I’m going to do my last visit — I don’t know if I’m going to go anywhere on my last visit.’
Basically, he doesn’t want to pressured into making a rash decision.
“I don’t want to make a mistake,” Cowart said. “Like my mom said, when you are rushing and you’re moving too fast sometimes you can make a mistake and go somewhere that you never even thought you would go. So I want to be in the right mind and be focused, and to know that this is the school I want to go to.”
Of course, there has been rumors, mostly from Nole sites, that adding Lawing does help the Noles with Cowart despite what he told Tyson.
And then there’s an interview with Andrew Spivey of Gatorcountry published on January 15th where he specifically mentions Lawing and implies it hurt Florida’s chances to sign him when they let Lawing go.
“[Will] Muschamp, [Nick] Saban and Coach Tosh [Lopoi] have been recruiting me for years and I have a good relationship with those guys and Florida fired the guy I like, Coach Lawing, so yeah.”
So where does that leave Cowart? Only he knows, but for now he has publicly eliminated FSU despite the end around attempt to lure him in. For the Gators, it will be important that they get him on campus this weekend and sell the Florida degree, proximity to home, and their vision for football success. It helps that mom has always preferred Florida.
** Update 6:40 CST 1/23/15
A report by 247sports recruiting analyst Josh Newberg appears to contradict the widely circulated idea that Cowart knew about Lawing’s hire prior to eliminating the Noles from his list of finalists.
“This has definitely caught me by surprise,” Cowart said concerning Lawing’s hire by FSU. “There’s been a lot of surprises in my recruitment. The fact that FSU got Lawing will give me a lot to think about given my relationship and connection with him. I got a lot of stuff going on, but I’ll stay composed and deal with the pressure. There’s a lot going on.”
After visiting Florida this weekend, will he actually trip to Tallahassee next weekend as originally planned?
“I don’t know about what’s going to happen next weekend,” Cowart said in the same story. “I have to call (FSU Coach Lawrence) Dawsey, talk to my mom and then I’ll call you and let you know.”
As always stay tuned to Swamp Music for up to the minute updates on Florida Gator recruiting news and analysis.