Kendall Randolph is from Lincoln High School in Tallahassee Fla., which is only 15 minutes away from Florida State University. It would seem as if the Seminoles should have a huge "home-field advantage" for the 4-star defensive back, but that's not the case, according to a report from Radi Nabulsi of ESPN.com.
Nabulsi reports that Georgia is the leader for Randolph:
The Georgia coaching staff is looking for another cornerback in the Class of 2014 to pair with ESPN 300 athlete commit Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County). Its chances improved over the weekend as another ESPN 300 standout Kendall Randolph (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) named the Bulldogs as his leader, followed by Florida State and South Carolina.
“Georgia is the school I am feeling the most comfortable with right now,” Randolph said. “It is the school that I feel like I could come in and make the quickest impact. Right now I have the best relationship with the Georgia coaching staff of any of the staffs I am talking to. So really it is the comfort level I have with Georgia that has them up front.”
Randolph is the No. 24 cornerback in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, so he would be an important out-of-state recruit for the Bulldogs to land. Georgia has been hot on the in-state recruiting trail, but "stealing" a recruit right out of Florida State's backyard would put Mark Richt and his staff on a different level this cycle.
Georgia has already received commitments from two state-of-Florida recruits—5-star running back Sony Michel and 3-star wideout Gilbert Johnson—and Michel's commitment, in particular, was a monumental one for the Bulldogs. Randolph wouldn't quite be on Michel's level, but he would still be an important pickup.
Don't count the Seminoles out just yet though. Here's what Randolph said about Florida State, per Nabulsi:
“The thing with FSU is that I am comfortable there,” Randolph said. “It’s home, so I don’t have a problem with that. I have a great relationship with Coach [Jimbo] Fisher. I haven’t talked to him lately, but when we do talk we always have a great conversation. We actually had a few conversations that had nothing to do with football, which means he isn’t looking at me just as an athlete but he is looking at me as an actual person. I already had a good relationship with Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt when he was at Alabama. So he just made that much better with the scheme he brought to FSU—it is more DB-friendly. They have a lot more defensive backs on the field and they honestly need more defensive backs still.”
Jimbo Fisher has landed plenty of top-notch defensive recruits during his time at Florida State. Now that FSU boasts defensive coordinator, and stellar recruiter, Jeremy Pruitt, it should be considered a major player for any defensive recruit its interested in.
Randolph would only have to drive 15 minutes down the road to play for Florida State, a team with plenty of defensive potential, mind you.
That said, Randolph stated distance "wasn't a factor", and said he has a brotherly friendship with Georgia freshman Reggie Davis, both per Nabulsi. With that, any proximity advantage Florida State had was essentially thrown out the window.
Finally, consider that 2013 Georgia signee Shaq Wiggins is reportedly (Nabulsi) helping recruit Randolph, and it would seem as if Georgia has the clear advantage.
Nabulsi reports that South Carolina is the third team on Randolph's list as the defensive recruit has mentioned Miami, Alabama and even Stanford as other schools he's looking at (Nabulsi).
Still, Georgia seems to be the clear favorite.
Could Florida State steal away Randolph's affections? Sure, anything is possible in recruiting.
At the moment though, that doesn't seem likely.