Watson in, Louis out... at least for now

Florida State lost a commitment Wednesday when WR Ricardo Louis re-opened his recruitment. But the 'Noles also gained one, as OT Menelik Watson pledged his allegiance to the garnet and gold.

Wednesday was a wash on the recruiting front for Florida State, as Miami Beach (FL) Senior High School receiver Ricardo Louis decommitted from the Seminoles but Mission Viejo (CA) Saddleback College offensive tackle Menelik Watson announced his intentions to play for coach Jimbo Fisher.

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All things considered, the end result may end up being a net gain for FSU because Louis, while exceedingly talented, is still very raw as a pass catcher, most likely needs to redshirt as a freshman and wideout is arguably the deepest position on the roster as it is. On the other hand, the 'Noles were nothing short of awful along the offensive line this past season, and Watson has the ability to step in and be a starter right away for a unit that badly needs help.

Watson, a 6-7, 310-pound mountain of a young man, is one of the elite junior-college offensive tackle prospects in the country, this despite the fact that he's relatively new to the game of football. Originally from England, he started off as a basketball player at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, averaging 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 29 games for the Red Foxes during the 2010-11 campaign. At Saddleback, he was brought in to play defensive end but eventually moved to the other side of the ball, where his freakish athleticism helped lead the Gauchos to an 8-3 mark in 2011.

Florida State is losing Zebrie Sanders and Andrew Datko at the offensive tackle position, and they were both four-year starters with All-ACC pedigree. Sanders is billed as a possible first-round selection in a lot of mock drafts already, while Datko -- he was sidelined after four games this past year due to lingering shoulder issues -- ultimately decided against pursuing a medical redshirt and will also turn pro.

Alongside Daniel Glauser, who is from the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell and already enrolled in Spring-semester classes at FSU, Watson is the second JUCO offensive lineman to commit to the Seminoles.

As for Louis, he decommitted from Auburn just this past week and flipped over to the 'Noles, which was considered a major get for Fisher and Co.

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At 6-2 and 200 pounds, Louis has played more quarterback than receiver at the high school level and is considered quite raw, but he is electrifying with the ball in his hands and has a story that reads an awful lot like Christian Green's. He came to Tallahassee as a QB, redshirted in 2010 to learn his new position and flashed a ton of potential in 2011 catching passes instead of throwing them.

With or without Louis, Florida State is loaded at receiver and says goodbye to only the likeable-but-replaceable Bert Reed. Another sought-after recruit, Orlando (FL) Boone High School's Marvin Bracy, is committed to the Seminoles and might be the fastest prep player in the nation -- he could be a future Olympic sprinter, as a matter of fact. Additionally, 6-6, 242-pound behemoth Kelvin Benjamin is fresh off a redshirt and hopes to break into what is a deep rotation.

Louis, by the way, didn't commit to another school and simply said he'll make his final decision on National Signing Day (Feb. 1), so it is not behind the realm of possibility that he ends up a part of Fisher's class after all.


John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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