Four-star Hawthorne (Fla.) quarterback Cornelius Ingram came away from his official visit with Florida State a bit star-struck this weekend.
“It went great. I had a great time this weekend,” he said. “I was a little surprised how much I liked it.
"The best thing was getting a chance to sit down one-on-one with coach Bowden and talk about football and life in general with him. That had to be one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. It was like sitting down with a legend. I really have a lot of respect for the man and his career.”
Did the venerable coach have anything special to pass along?
“He made me feel really good because we talked about a lot of stuff outside of football,” Ingram said. “He told me that he thought a lot about me as a person, and I’m the kind of person they’d like to have in their family. He said that if something would happen and I didn’t have a career in the NFL, I’d always have a future with Florida State. They really take care of their players.”
Ingram (6-5, 215, 4.6) is one of the highest rated quarterbacks still on the board for the Class of 2004. He’s the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the nation coming off a senior season which saw him pass for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 500 yards and 10 scores.
He’s also a top basketball prospect off to a great start as a senior, averaging 28 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the No. 1 team in Class 2A.
Basketball looms large in Ingram’s decision-making process, and he says he came away impressed with what he heard in Tallahassee.
“Coach Bowden told me he didn’t have any problem at all with me playing basketball,” Ingram said. ‘He said, ‘Look, it’s already been done with Charlie Ward.’ They’re going to support me in both sports.
“I stayed and watched some of their game against N.C. State. I liked what I saw. I think their program is on the rise.”
Ingram has narrowed his decision to FSU, Florida and Georgia. He will visit the Gators this coming weekend and hopes to be in Athens on the 23rd.
Asked what Gators had in their advantage, he said: “It’s so close to home. We’re only 15 minutes away. I’m real comfortable with their campus and the coaches. My family and friends would be able to come and see me real easy. That’s not the main factor for me because they’d follow me wherever I go, but it is a nice plus.”
And regarding the Bulldogs: “That’s just a program that I’ve always admired, both for football and basketball. I always liked watching Georgia play. I have a lot of respect for coach Richt, too. He’s got a great program right now and a real good offensive system. He’s got a good reputation with quarterbacks.”
Ingram said he doesn’t list a strong favorite at this point, but gave the Noles a “slight edge” coming off the visit this weekend.