It will be time for Florida State to put on a big show today with a pair of special guests in the house at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Sure, there's a game on the field and defeating state rival Miami will be important in front of numerous big-time prospects roaming around Bobby Bowden Field. But two major prospects in particular have been tempted by other suitors.
And what's going on in the minds of St. Petersburg Lakewood DE Dante Fowler and Cape Coral Island Coast RB Mario Pender seems to be a big question mark for the two Florida State commitments.
Pender (6-0, 185) pledged to FSU more than a year ago (Oct. 15, 2010), but he's learned recently that there is more than one belle at the BCS Ball. Tennessee was the suitor last week and almost no one comes away from Knoxville without some kind of favorable impression.
"The most important factors right now are how I'm going to fit in their schemes and the depth that they have right now," Pender told Rivals affiliate Volquest.com of the schools he's considering. "Tennessee is doing a good job at playing freshmen, and I believe that would help them in the later run."
FSU has also let loose one of its freshman running backs in Devonta Freeman (Miami Central) this season, but he hasn't had quite the success that Marlin Lane (Daytona Beach Mainland) has at Tennessee.
Penders told VolQuest he liked what Tennessee was doing with Lane in some Wildcat scenarios.
Meanwhile, most people have no idea where Fowler stands. It seems he's always in Gainesville on unofficial visits. At Friday Night Lights in the Swamp in July, Fowler was hamming it up all night with various UF personnel and Florida pledges and targets.
Fowler has, however, always contended he's strong with his FSU commitment. THe Seminoles could certainly strengthen that bond today.
Fowler told Zach Abolverdi of the Gainesville Sun in September: “I’m still 100 percent committed, but I’m gonna take visits and we’ll see what I do on (National) Signing Day. Something real bad has to happen for me to decommit from Florida State, but that’s why I go (on visits) to Florida, just in case.”
Some speculation on Fowler's thought process was that he was tired of the Seminoles losing during FSU's three-game losing streak to Oklahoma, Clemson and Wake Forest.
The 'Noles, however, have since gone on a four-game winning streak, during which the defense has allowed just 39 points to Duke, Maryland, NC State and Boston College.
Also in town for what could be another marketing test will be Daytona Beach Mainland's massive DE Leonard Williams, a 6-foot-5, 254-pound specimen of a football player who currently has Auburn and Florida as his top two teams ahead of FSU, Tennessee and Alabama.
Williams spearheads a defense that has shut out four teams this season, and nearly had a fifth in a 33-6 rout of Orlando Olympia on Friday night. The Bucs have allowed just three touchdowns all season and are giving up just 6 points per game. One stretch saw them compile 18 straight shut-out quarters of football.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun