July 16, 2009

Tide among favorites for 4-star RB

While Fort Lauderdale (FL) running back Giovanni Bernard is preparing for yet another big season at St. Thomas Aquinas, the four-star prospect is also moving forward with his recruitment by recently naming a top nine, a list that includes in-state schools, Southeastern powers and schools from the other end of the country.

"Right now my top nine are Miami, Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Oregon State, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Oklahoma," said Bernard. "That's not a final list. Other schools can become a factor if I saw something that impressed me or someone new sends me an offer during the season. Those are just my top nine right now."

Bernard, 5-foot-9, 198-pounds, said that while all nine are in equal standing with him, the three in-state schools are showing him the most attention.

"All the Florida schools are trying really hard to keep me in state. It's hard for the outside state schools to recruit me as hard as they do, obviously, but those three are definitely after me the hardest."

Alabama's presence on the list of Bernard's top schools has a lot to do with Bernard's relationship with Crimson Tide assistant coach, running backs coach Bobby Williams.

"My relationship with Coach Williams is a big part of what I like about Alabama right now. We have a really good relationship and we've talked a lot and had a chance to really form a bond. He's always been really straightforward with me. He doesn't try to pump me up or anything, just talks about my skills and how they would fit in to what Alabama does."

Bernard's plans for the fall and the remainder of the recruiting process are still undetermined but much will rely on Bernard's experiences with each school and his overall comfort level with the program.

"Obviously I won't be able to take official visits to all nine schools so when I get closer to the season, I will make the decision of which schools will get official visits."

"I'm spending the next few weeks working out with my team. I might take an unofficial visit to Florida State during their camp just to meet with their coaches and take a look around but I'm not sure on that yet."

"I'm going to make my decision whenever I feel comfortable. I'm not waiting until Signing Day or for some certain date. It could be tomorrow if somebody really just jumped out, although I doubt it. When I find a place where I feel really comfortable just being around the players and coaches, I'll know that's the right place and I will make my decision."

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