College Football: Wake’s Florida players were snubbed by Florida State
By Joedy McCreary
WINSTON-SALEM ó Riley Skinner wasn’t considered good enough to play for Florida State, so the quarterback had to go to Wake Forest. He spent the past two years making the Seminoles pay for it.
D.J. Boldin also seemed a natural fit in Tallahassee, where he hoped to become the second member of his family to blossom into an NFL star. But Anquan Boldin’s kid brother went unrecruited by Florida State, so off he went to lead the Demon Deacons in receiving.
Maybe coach Jim Grobe’s up-and-coming program should rename itself “Wake Florida.” After all, no BCS conference team from outside the Sunshine State has more Floridians on the roster than the 26 at No. 18 Wake Forest.
And while many of the Demon Deacons won’t publicly admit it, one of the rare things more enjoyable than their rise to Atlantic Coast Conference prominence has been sticking it to the school that once ignored them.
“It’s a game that ó I mean personally, being from Florida ó it’s one that you kind of take a little pride in,” Skinner said. “As we’re trying to move up in the eyes of the college football world, these are the kinds of games you’ve got to win in order to gain respect from other teams and everybody else. That’s what we’re trying to do ó go out and play with the best of the best and come out on top. It feels pretty good when you can beat somebody from kind of your hometown.”
Skinner isn’t alone in Winston-Salem: Seven Floridians are listed as starters this week, with nine more on Wake Forest’s depth chart.
But just how did they get away from Bobby Bowden’s powerhouse program?
The Seminoles only have space for so many players each year, leaving some unrecruited because Bowden already was stacked at some positions: Skinner went overlooked a few years ago out of high school in Jacksonville quite possibly because Florida State seemed set at quarterback with Drew Weatherford and the since-departed Xavier Lee.
Others simply slipped through the cracks, like Pahokee native and all-ACC cornerback Alphonso Smith. The Seminoles should have been aware of him ó they signed his prep teammate, top running back Antone Smith.
“We’ve misjudged a lot of people in the past,” Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said of Alphonso Smith. “They do a good job of selecting the players that fit what they’re doing.”