Posted: 4:54 pm Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
By Anthony Chiang
Travis Rudolph kept everybody guessing during the recruiting process.
But in the second quarter of the Under Armour All-America Game on Thursday, the Cardinal Newman wide receiver ended the mystery and verbally committed to Florida State on ESPN. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound wide receiver chose the Seminoles over Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Miami.
“I’m taking my talents to Tallahassee,” Rudolph said on ESPN.
Along with announcing that big decision, Rudolph also helped Team Highlight earn a 31-21 victory over Team Nitro, which featured Palm Beach Central offensive lineman and Miami verbal commit Kc McDermott.
Rudolph finished with four catches, including an 11-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, in the All-America game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
For most of the week, reports had Rudolph leaning toward verbally committing to Alabama. But when it was time to announce his decision, he pulled out a Florida State hat.
“When I first landed on campus, I just felt like it was the place to be,” Rudolph said on ESPN. “I prayed on it and did my homework on it, and that’s where I wanted to be.”
Rudolph took an official visit to Florida State on Nov. 2 and watched the Seminoles beat Miami. The star receiver is ranked as the second-best recruit on PBGametime’s Class of 2014 Big Board, and 24-7 Sports rates him as a four-star prospect.
In his senior season at Cardinal Newman, Rudolph set school records with 1,237 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. Rudolph, who was named the Lou Groza Awards High School Player of the Year, also finished with a team-high 63 catches to help the Crusaders capture their first district title since 2004.
Rudolph’s verbal commitment capped off a stellar recruiting week for Florida State. Miami Central’s Dalvin Cook, who is rated as the No. 2 running back by 24-7 Sports, switched his verbal commitment from Florida to Florida State on Tuesday, and North Carolina defensive end Lorenzo Featherston, who 24-7 Sports has as a four-star recruit, chose the Seminoles on Wednesday.
The Seminoles recorded a 13-0 record this season, earning a chance to take on Auburn for a chance at the BCS National Championship on Monday.
Rudolph will have an opportunity to catch passes from Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston for at least one season. Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy this season, threw for 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns, helping the Seminoles score 53 points per game.
Rudolph will find plenty of players from the area when he enrolls at Florida State. He will join 10 players from Palm Beach County that are expected to be on the Seminoles’ roster next season.
Although Florida State features a lot of talent, Rudolph could battle for playing time immediately. The Seminoles are expected to lose two of their top three wide receivers in the offseason, as senior Kenny Shaw will move on and Glade Central’s Kelvin Benjamin is expected to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
Like Rudolph and McDermott, Dwyer wide receiver Johnnie Dixon will take the national stage to play in an all-star game. Dixon, who is verbally committed to Ohio State, will play in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on NBC.
About the Author
Anthony Chiang began his writing career in Gainesville at the University of Florida’s student-run newspaper. At The Independent Florida Alligator, he covered the school’s golf, volleyball, baseball, and football teams. The Miami native has also written for the Sun Sentinel and MLB.com, following the Tampa Bay Rays.