Posted: 5:10 pm Friday, February 1st, 2013
By Jeff Greer
Seminole Ridge running back Silas Spearman waited and waited, but he finally got what he wanted.
Spearman, who picked up a scholarship offer from FIU on Tuesday, committed to new coach Ron Turner and the Golden Panthers on Friday at the beginning of his official visit to FIU’s campus. FIU’s was Spearman’s only FBS offer; Alcorn State, Southeast Missouri State and Texas Southern offered Spearman (5-9, 190 pounds, financial aid packages to play FCS football.
FIU’s offer came after weeks of agonizing delays for Spearman, whose recruiting took off after a breakout senior season. Spearman ran for 1,258 yards and 11 touchdowns, earning first team Post All-County honors and the attention of Don Brown, then the defensive coordinator at Connecticut.
For much of December, Connecticut was the only FBS program chasing Spearman. Louisville, Minnesota, Bowling Green and several other programs constantly sent assistant coaches to Seminole Ridge to visit Spearman’s teammates. Each coach acknowledged Spearman, who played defensive back and running back in his two seasons at Ridge, but none of them pursued him. UConn, he thought (and hoped), was where he’d end up once it became clear he’d qualify to play Division I sports.
When Brown accepted the same position at Boston College, the Eagles began recruiting Spearman. He visited the Chesnut Hill, Mass., campus. New BC head coach Steve Addazio said he would offer Spearman a scholarship once BC’s admissions office gave him the go-ahead.
Spearman flew home and waited. And waited.
Addazio scheduled an in-home visit with Spearman for the middle of that week. That’s when BC would finally offer Spearman, he thought. Addazio never came. And neither did the offer.
BC, reports said, wanted to wait for Gainesville running back Raphael Webb to choose a college, knowing Spearman would instantly commit if given a scholarship offer. Webb still hasn’t pledged to a program.
Sensing an opening, USF traveled to Loxahatchee last week and met with Spearman. The Bulls, like BC, had players ranked ahead of Spearman on their recruiting board. They landed Kissimmee Osceola running back Stafon McCray’s verbal pledge on Sunday and eased up on Spearman.
That’s when FIU found its own window of opportunity. On Monday, FIU assistant coach Apollo Wright came to Seminole Ridge and spoke at length with Spearman and his coaches at Ridge. If the Golden Panthers offered a scholarship, Spearman told them, FIU would get a commitment. Wright returned the next day with an offer, and Spearman accepted an invitation to visit FIU’s campus. His commitment came Friday, as expected.
He joins Benjamin tight end Jonathon Pavlov and Palm Beach Gardens offensive lineman James Cruise as the county’s FIU-bound football players. FIU already has six Palm Beach County grads on its roster.