November 13, 2014 - by
Homecoming For South Florida Noles: @Tim_Linafelt

By Tim Linafelt Senior Writer
@Tim_Linafelt on Twitter

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Bobo Wilson has had long-lost family members come out of the woodwork, calling in search of tickets.

Rashad Greene has been through this enough times to get his family’s arrangements settled before the season begins.

Saturday’s Florida State-Miami game is a homecoming for the several South Florida natives on FSU’s roster. Which can make it an awfully tough ticket for friends and family members.

“It’s just crazy,” Wilson said with a smile. “We only get four tickets. My mom, my little sister and my brother, they’re first.

“I’m trying to work on (getting more) now.”

That could be a tall order. Florida State’s semi-annual visit to Miami is always a highlight of the college football calendar. Even more so for the Seminoles from the area.

FSU counts six scholarship players from Miami on its current roster – Wilson, RB Dalvin Cook, LB Matthew Thomas, DE Desmond Hollin, OG Ruben Carter and DT Fredrick Jones.

That number grows significantly when including players from the surrounding region. Greene, WR Ermon Lane, QB John Franklin, DT Nile Lawrence-Stample, RT Bobby Hart, C Austin Barron, TE Nick O’Leary and WR Travis Rudolph all hail from South Florida as well.

There will be friends and family in the stands and, more often than not, friends and former teammates on the opposing sideline.

Wilson reeled off six friends on the UM roster, including defensive back Deon Bush, who played with Wilson at Columbus High.

And Greene counts Miami receiver Philip Dorsett among his former teammates at St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale.

“I’m hearing from a lot of people back home, blowing up my phone,” Wilson said. “Most of it is encouraging, but “there’s some people talking (trash).”

So much extra attention, combined with the natural spotlight that comes with the Florida State-Miami rivalry, has led the Seminoles to place extra emphasis on keeping their emotions in check this week.

“Coach Fisher, that’s the first thing he said once we started prepping for this game – control your emotions,” Greene said. “Don’t get too hyped too early. Peak at the right time.

“And with a game like this, everybody is going to be emotionally ready.”

It’s been that way for years. A list of former Seminoles from South Florida is a list of some of the program’s all-time greats.

Marvin Jones (1990-92) made his mark. So, too, did Samari Rolle (1994-97), Andre Wadsworth (1994-97) and Snoop Minnis (1996-2000), among several others.

Florida State has enjoyed a recruiting renaissance in South Florida during coach Jimbo Fisher’s tenure. Running back Devonta Freeman (2011-13) and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (2010-13) each played key roles in FSU’s recent resurgence.

And the freshman trio of Cook, Rudolph and Lane has made an instant impact for this year’s team.

“There are so many good players down there,” Fisher said. “That’s such a hotbed and a great area.

“It’s fun to recruit there… it’s great football.”

That’s what attracted Greene to the area. After playing two years in his hometown of Albany, Ga., Greene moved in with family in Fort Lauderdale in hopes of finding a faster, more skilled brand of high school football.

“South Florida and South Florida football is totally different,” Greene said. “There were better skill guys for me to compete against.”

The move paid off. Greene won a state championship at St. Thomas Aquinas, played with the likes of future NFL stars Giovani Bernard and James White and, most importantly, caught the attention of FSU’s coaching staff.

Greene still considers himself Georgia native, but his time in South Florida has provided a unique perspective on the region and its players.

“What all of them have in common is they talk too much,” he joked.

“But from a football perspective, all of them have that swag, that demeanor — that confidence about themselves. They’re very good and they know it.”

Wilson said that the bonds formed between Miami players, regardless of collegiate affiliation, create a brotherhood. But once the game begins, all bets are off.

“It’s all love,” Wilson said with a smile. “But once we line up and compete, it ain’t no brotherhood. I can tell you that right now.”

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