Freshman Ronald Darby was one of the nation's top high school prospects in 2012 and the early buzz around FSU is that he's every bit as advertised -- welcome news for a team with a starting job up for grabs at cornerback, writes Brandon Mellor.
As part of an ongoing series of articles, Seminoles.com Senior Writer Brandon Mellor looks at each member of Florida State's vaunted 2012 recruiting class. Next on the list is defensive end Chris Casher.
As part of an ongoing series of articles, Seminoles.com Senior Writer Brandon Mellor looks at each member of Florida State's vaunted 2012 recruiting class. Fifth on the list is Justin Shanks.
The Craig File
Dameyune Craig began to make his mark as Florida State's recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach as he reached two very big milestones following the 2010 season: The Seminoles attracted the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in 2011 and Christian Ponder - the Seminoles' quarterback in Craig's first season - was selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Now in his ninth season as a college coach - his third at Florida State, Craig has had a profound impact on the trail for promising new talent as well as an active role in developing some of the top passers in FSU history.
Charged with coordinating FSU's recruiting efforts, Craig's time in that role has produced No. 1 and No. 2 recruiting classes the past two seasons with the help of the entire Seminole coaching staff. His biggest impact has come in his home state of Alabama where he's positioned the Seminoles to have recent success in convincing some of the top talent in the country to head to Tallahassee instead of staying home to play in a tradition-rich SEC backyard. For his efforts in 2012, Craig was recognized as the 2012 Scout/FoxSportsNext ACC Recruiter of the Year as well as the Rivals.com ACC Recruiter of the Year. He joined fellow Seminole assistant Odell Haggins in being named one of the top 25 recruiters in the country by Rivals and fellow assistant coach Lawrence Dawsey as one of the top 50 recruiters by 247Sports.
In addition to his recruiting duties, Craig also assists Fisher in the day-to-day instruction of Seminole quarterbacks. One year after Ponder became the first Florida State quarterback to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft., EJ Manuel continued down his path of leaving a mark in FSU history in 2011. Manuel sits atop the FSU record book in career completion percentage (66.1) having completed at least 65 percent of his passes in each of his three seasons including 65.3 percent in his first season as a full-time starter in 2011. He was one of the ACC's and nation's most efficient passers ranking second in the ACC (151.2) and 18th nationally. Besides Manuel, Craig has plenty of talent to work with in young quarterbacks Clint Trickett and Jacob Coker. Trickett shined as a redshirt freshman in the limited action he saw in 2011 highlighted by his first career start at Clemson in place of an injured Manuel. Trickett threw for 336 yards and three touchdowns. Coker made strides in the spring of 2012 and showed a good grasp of the Seminoles offense after running a wing-T offense in high school. Adding 2012 top quarterback recruit Jameis Winston and New Jersey star quarterback recruit Sean Maguire will give Craig two more arms to groom as the Seminoles look to keep pace as one of the top passing offenses. FSU ranked third in the ACC in passing offense in 2011.
In 2010, FSU shined in passing efficiency with Ponder (135.7 passing efficiency) ranking third in the ACC and 44th nationally. Ponder and Manuel combined to throw for 2,905 yards while Ponder completed 61.5 percent of his passes and Manuel completed 69.9 percent of his passes.
Craig came to Florida State after a strong two-year run at South Alabama where he directed the wide receivers for Joey Jones. Jones made Craig his first hire when he was charged with starting the Jaguars' football program, which played its first season in 2009 and is in the process of becoming a Football Championship Subdivision program.
Craig played quarterback under Jimbo Fisher's watchful eye for four seasons at Auburn. He still holds numerous Auburn passing records, including completions (216) and passing yards (3,227) in a season as well as a single-game record for most net yards gained (445 vs. Army in 1996; 75 rush, 370 pass). The two were reunited at LSU when Craig began his collegiate coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant on Nick Saban's staff, which included Fisher as the offensive coordinator. He also spent one season with Saban as a special teams assistant with the Miami Dolphins. Like his FSU pupils EJ Manuel and Christian Ponder before him, Craig was an exceptional student-athlete on and off the field, earning Academic All-SEC honors as a senior at Auburn in 2007.
After spending four years in the NFL, Craig returned to the college ranks and helped Tuskegee to a two-year record of 22-2. As the Golden Tigers' quarterbacks coach he was instrumental in fine-tuning an impressive offense and also earned the reputation as an outstanding recruiter. Tuskegee won a pair of SIAC titles and defeated Virginia Union in the Pioneer Bowl X to cap a 12-0 season in 2007 by winning the Black College National Championship.
At South Alabama, Craig was instrumental in implementing a run-based, spread offense that put up prolific numbers during its seven-game inaugural season in 2009. The Jaguars (7-0) averaged 45.9 points and 439 yards of total offense in 2009.
Craig also brings professional experience as a player to the Seminoles. He signed as a free agent quarterback with the NFL's Carolina Panthers and appeared in six games over a four-year stretch. Craig gained his greatest acclaim on the field as a pro with the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe, where he passed for a single-game league record 611 yards against Frankfort and matched another league mark with five touchdown passes in a game. He finished his professional playing career in 2002 with Indiana of the Arena Football League.
Craig began his coaching career at his high school alma mater, Blount, near Mobile, Ala., where he was an assistant coach in 2003.
Craig's Coaching Ledger