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BOWLING GREEN — When Dave Clawson took the job as football coach at Bowling Green State University, he made it a point to say he would recruit "the state of Bowling Green."
When it comes to the 2013 recruiting class that "state" is known by another name: Florida.
The class the Falcons are expected to unveil today will include at least eight players from the Sunshine State, more than double the total of any other state. Only one university not located in Florida is expected to sign more — Kentucky may have 10 on its rolls — and BG may end up with more Florida natives that the University of Miami, which is projected to sign only three.
Jared Shanker, who oversees Midwest recruiting for ESPN, called Bowling Green’s class, "probably one of the better recruiting classes in the Mid-American Conference."
One big catch Shanker pointed to in BG’s class was Fred Coppet, a running back from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Coppet, who originally committed to Boston College and ran for 1,435 yards to lead the Raiders to the Class 7A state title.
"That’s a real steal for Bowling Green," Shanker said of Coppet. "You don’t see a lot of four-star players go to MAC schools, especially from Florida, and we [at ESPN] have him ranked as the No. 30 running back in the country.
Coppet isn’t the only players in the Falcons’ recruiting class who originally committed to a BCS school before switching his commitment to BG.
Two players — Isaiah Gourdine of Farmington, Mich. and Marcus Levy of Fort Pierce, Fla. — originally planned to sign with Cincinnati, while a third, Ronnie Moore of Sanford, Fla., listed the Bearcats as his top choice early in the process.
When Butch Jones left UC to become coach at Tennessee, all three reopened their recruiting and eventually committed to BGSU.
Moore is a versatile athlete who on offense ran for 939 yards and 13 touchdowns, threw for 332 yards while catching 29 passes for 484 yards and four TDs. He also had six interceptions at cornerback, two of which he returned for scores, while returning kicks for 371 yards and another TD.
Gourdine focused on defense last season and had 83 tackles and one interception from his safety position after making 95 stops as a junior.
Levy is a running back who ran for 809 yards and 16 touchdowns in just nine games after rushing for 1,382 yards and 18 TDs as a junior.
Coppet, Moore, and Levy are three of the eight Florida players who are expected to sign with the Falcons. The rest of BG’s recruiting class, which may expand to as many as 24 players, could include as many as four players from Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois, two from Indiana, and one apiece from New York and California.
Two local players will commit to the Falcons today. One is Southview High School quarterback Austin Valdez, who threw for 1,727 yards and nine TDs while running for 906 yards and another score last season.
The other is Findlay High School product Joe Davidson, who coach Mark Ritzler said would join the Falcons as a preferred walk-on and eventually become the BG punter once current punter Brian Schmiedebusch graduates. Schmiedebusch will be a senior this coming season.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.