By Buddy Collings and Brendan Sonnone, Orlando Sentinel
2:53 AM EDT, June 20, 2011
Olympia offensive lineman James Hamilton left Florida State's team camp on Saturday knowing that he wanted to be a Seminole.
He loved the campus, the coaching staff and the school's tradition.
All that he needed to become a Seminole was a scholarship offer from FSU and that was taken care of on Sunday evening when head coach Jimbo Fisher extended an offer to Hamilton over the telephone.
The 6-foot-3, 338-pound Hamilton accepted immediately and became the 13th commitment of FSU's 2012 recruiting class.
"Yesterday I knew that's where I wanted to go, that's where I wanted to play ball at and it just felt like the right place and I committed to Florida State," Hamilton said on Sunday night.
Hamilton was the third commit that the Seminoles received this weekend, as Olympic High (Charlotte, North Carolina) Cason Beatty and Lutheran High (Orange, California) tight end Christo Kourtzidis also gave the Seminoles verbal pledges.
Ranked No. 8 on the Sentinel's 2012 Central Florida Super60 prospect list, Hamilton has been one of the area's most sought-after recruits as he entered the weekend with more than 20 offers.
FSU was not one of those schools however and Hamilton did not know just how interested the Seminoles were before he went to Tallahassee.
"To tell you the truth, Florida State hadn't really been recruiting me like that, so it was kind of a shocker," Hamilton said. "But once I got up there they made me feel like family and everything like that and I knew it was right for me."
Hamilton created his own goodwill in getting the Seminoles to commit to him as he dominated the camp as both an offensive and defensive lineman.
"At first I was with the offensive line and Coach (Rick) Trickett said I should go try D-line and I went with the D-line and they fell in love with me," Hamilton said. "In the one-on-ones, I was unstoppable, couldn't be beat."
Olympia head coach Bob Head said it was no surprise that Hamilton impressed FSU's coaching staff.
"He went up to camp, completely dominated like we knew he would,"
Head said. "They loved him and extended the offer."
Hamilton has been a physical fixture at offensive guard at the high school level, and that's the position where most recruiters and analysts have him pegged. But Hamilton's work as a defensive lineman at FSU's camp convinced Fisher and his staff that he will be a nose tackle in college.
"He'll be very successful as a defensive lineman," Head said. "He'll be a great nose tackle or one-technique. He has a big body, real quick feet and is tough."
Hamilton added that shifting from offense to defense should be relatively easy.
"It's not really a big transition for me because I know I can play both sides of the ball," Hamilton said. "I know what I can do on defense and everything and what I can bring to Florida State."
Hamilton is due to graduate at mid-year and enroll in January and will be the first Olympia player to sign with one ofFlorida's big three football powers.
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