Florida State Seminoles: Kareem Are

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State returns the best quarterback in the nation. But what cannot go unnoticed is that Florida State returns the best offensive line in the nation, too.

Four starters are back -- all of them projected NFL draft picks. The new face on the line, center Austin Barron, has starting and game experience himself. As if that was not advantage enough, the Seminoles will field an all-senior offensive line, a rarity in college football. No other ACC team projects a starting offensive line with all seniors.

[+] EnlargeCameron Erving
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaLeft tackle Cameron Erving is one of five Florida State senior starting offensive linemen with NFL aspirations.
Indeed, this could be one of the best offensive lines Jimbo Fisher has ever coached -- potentially even better than the group last season that had center Bryan Stork, who won the Rimington Trophy as the best center in America. Another year should make all these players wiser and better, with 113 combined starts between them -- and a chance to make at least 70 more in 2014.

When asked for some perspective, Fisher pointed to the offensive line LSU had for its 2003 national championship season, when he served as offensive coordinator. Two of those players were drafted, and all five ended up on an NFL roster.

“But this group here’s a pretty good group now,” Fisher said recently. “It lets you sleep better, I know that much.”

Left tackle Cameron Erving and right guard Tre' Jackson each turned down opportunities to leave school early for the NFL. Erving already was recognized last season as the best offensive lineman in the ACC -- winning the Jacobs Blocking Trophy -- and should go into the season as a preseason All-American.

He and Jackson made the All-ACC coaches first team. Guard Josue Matias made the second team. Matias and Jackson are among the top four rated guards for the 2015 draft, and Fisher believes each player on this line will play in the NFL.

Returning so many experienced players gives the Seminoles a luxury that not many other programs have, especially when you return the Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Jameis Winston.

“What you’re able to do at the line of scrimmage, protection wise, run wise, and then you’ve got a quarterback to process it and get you into the right plays all the time -- it gives you a huge advantage,” Fisher said. “The confidence, on the road, the noise that can hurt your communication issues, you don’t have to worry about.”

What’s more, the players on the line are versatile. This spring, Fisher experimented a little bit. Where there is experience among the starters, there is hardly any among the backups. So to make up for some of the depth concerns, Fisher had Erving play some center and Matias play at left tackle.

He raved about both players in the different spots. Matias came into Florida State as a tackle, so he was a natural fit there. Fisher said Erving had “big-time capabilities” at center.

“The versatility of how you can mismatch those guys in there? It’s the best we’ve had for a long time,” Fisher said.

For their part, players on the line believe they have an opportunity to improve on what was already a fantastic line a year ago.

“I feel like we had a pretty stout line last year, but there’s always room for improvement,” Jackson said. “There’s no telling where this line can go.”

Some of the depth questions should be answered in the fall. Florida State signed the best offensive line class in the ACC in February. Fisher praised junior college transfer Kareem Are for his performance this spring. He also said another junior college transfer, Chad Mavety, “may be more talented than anybody we’ve got.”

It is clear Fisher knows how to develop talent. Florida State has had offensive linemen taken in three straight drafts, and Stork is a projected mid-to-late round draft pick next week. Several, if not all, of these seniors will be drafted in 2015.

For now, the focus is on just how good this group can be by the time the season ends.

“We’ve all played, been in the system for three years now,” Matias said. “This is going to be a big year for us to reach our full potential.”
For the second straight recruiting class, more than 100 players from junior colleges signed with schools from the power five conferences. And for the second straight class, Florida State contributed to that number.

Of course, that’s nothing new for Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher. He has signed a junior college player every recruiting cycle since he was named coach in 2010, and that will be extended again in 2015.

[+] EnlargeJimbo Fisher
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsFSU coach Jimbo Fisher has had success with junior college prospects.
A decade ago, some programs were unwilling to recruit junior college players. (One assistant coach told ESPN that his head coach once characterized junior college players as “nothing but thugs, criminals and dummies.”) But recruiting junior college players is a must for nearly every FBS program now.

“Those guys are making an impact,” Fisher said, “… and we’ve had some pretty good success with our guys here lately.”

That’s a slight understatement from Fisher. Former Noles Menelik Watson and Cornellius Carradine were both second-round selections in the 2013 NFL draft, and Fisher could have another player from the juco ranks taken high in the draft in the coming years. Last week, Fisher said Kareem Are, who enrolled in January out of Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, is the surprise of spring practice.

Are has only participated in half of Florida State’s practices, but he has seen significant time with the first-team offense at left guard as the Noles battle some injuries and experiment with varying lineups along the offensive line. Senior Cameron Erving has been alongside Are for much of those drills working at left tackle and even some center. Erving said there is a different level of maturity with Are and junior college players in general.

“For the most part the guys we’ve had here that transferred from juco, they’ve come with a different focus,” Erving said. “They were hungry and always felt like they had something to prove. Those guys have always played hard from what I’ve seen, seeing Menelik, seeing Kareem come from juco, seeing guys like [senior Desmond Hollin].

Troy Morrell has coached Butler (Kan.) Community College to three national championships in his 15 seasons as coach. He said junior college recruits are better prepared physically and academically than they were even just a few years ago. Watson declared for the NFL after just one season at Florida State. Coaches are constantly looking for ways to improve their team, and the junior college ranks have a number of able bodies that can contribute immediately.

“They’re going to maybe be more prepared in the classroom. That gives the schools a little more freedom to be able to recruit a junior college kid that maybe they haven’t been able to before,” Morrell said.

“And there’s a tremendous amount of pressure for those big schools to win.”
Through the first third of spring practice, guard Kareem Are was still walking the sidelines in street clothes. It was the story of the spring for Florida State’s top early enrollees -- they all were expected to contribute early but were sidelined for various reasons.

Dalvin Cook tore the labrum in his shoulder and is sidelined until the summer. Kain Daub has an NCAA Clearinghouse issue and can’t practice. But as for Are, a junior college transfer, there were questions surrounding his absence from the first five practices. There were whispers he came in overweight -- he dropped 15 pounds before practice started -- but Jimbo Fisher never said Are was dealing with a specific injury.

Whatever the case, Are, listed at 6-foot-6 and 335 pounds, is emerging as the star of the spring despite practicing only three times. Following a Monday scrimmage in which Fisher expressed disappointment with nearly every facet of his team, he made a point to heap praise on the junior.

“[Are is] learning what to do, but I’ll tell you what, very talented, very good player,” Fisher said. “I’m extremely excited. He has a chance to really help us. He’s a big, athletic guy, learns well, you can coach him hard, takes criticism. … He’s done his work and he paid attention when he was sitting out.”

Considering how the early enrollees have fared thus far, it is only fitting even Are had trouble getting cleared at Florida State. He planned to enroll for the start of classes Jan. 6, but by mid-January he was still being held up by online classes he took previously.

The Seminoles brought in Are, ranked No. 46 in the ESPN Junior College 50, with the idea he would immediately add depth and push for a starting spot in 2015. The Noles return four of their five offensive linemen from a season ago but will undergo a complete overhaul next offseason. In only three practices, Fisher said Are has exceeded expectations.

Senior right guard Tre' Jackson was not available for Monday’s scrimmage, so it was the newcomer Are receiving the bulk of the first-team snaps. Lined up across from Are occasionally was former five-star defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr., the No. 1 recruit in the 2012 class, who was in harmony with Fisher regarding Are’s quick start.

“He’s definitely aggressive, that’s one of the good things I’ve noticed about him,” Edwards said. “He loves to pile you in the ground if you let him, and he has strong hands.”
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher said he didn’t have any expectations for Florida State’s first scrimmage.

Well, odds are he didn’t expect the first two players he praised following Monday’s practice would be a walk-on receiver and a backup offensive guard. And not to rain on Jared Jackson's and Kareem Are's parades, but, when it comes halfway through Fisher’s media session, that is more of an indictment of the reigning national champions than anything else.

“It was a very average scrimmage both ways,” Fisher said.

Even the quarterbacks, Jimbo, where Heisman winner Jameis Winston returns?

“Very average.”

OK … what about the defensive line, where you have all those five-star recruits?

“No, nothing outstanding.”

Time to try something else: The younger receivers are getting first-team reps and working extensively with Winston for the first time, so what do you want to see more of from them?

“Get open and catch the ball. I’m not seeing enough of it.”

It was evident early on he had no interest in filling up reporters’ notepads with positive spin. Fisher was terse answering most questions, often falling back on the adage that he needs to look at the film. That’s usually coach speak for “I’m none too pleased.”

As mediocre as Fisher made the scrimmage out to be, the reality is it is still the spring. A dozen Noles expected to start or at least play significant minutes in the fall were either held out of practice or in a green non-contact jersey. This is still a program that has recruited as well as any since 2011 and has elite talent at nearly every position.

Coming off a national championship and with a roster made primarily up of players who have experienced losing just twice (if that) since coming to Florida State, there is certainly more incentive for Fisher to try to bring the team back down to earth. The Noles have been adamant all spring complacency has not set in, but Fisher was annoyed at the lack of intensity and enthusiasm Monday. Former coach Bobby Bowden said it is imperative Fisher see complacency and “nip it in the bud” as soon as possible, and maybe that is what the fifth-year coach is doing.

The first scrimmage is far too early to make any type of definitive statement about this team, as inviting as it can be when dealing with the obvious preseason No. 1. Myriad questions surrounded the Noles coming into the spring and some have been answered while others are still coming into focus. There are concerns, but what happens Aug. 30 will not be determined March 31.

“I stay in the reality world. When you expect things you get in trouble,” Fisher said. “You just wait and see what your eyes tell you.”

His eyes are telling him this is an unfinished product. Our heads are telling us it’s only April.

Top position classes: OL 

February, 20, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
Not only did Alabama put together the best offensive line class in the 2014 cycle, but it's also one of the best in recent memory. The Crimson Tide inked early enrollee and five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (Monroe, La./West Monroe) and also got top-ranked junior college offensive tackle Dominick Jackson (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo). On the interior, the nation's top two centers, No. 168 overall Josh Casher (Mobile, Ala./Saint Paul’s Episcopal) and No. 190 J.C. Hassenauer (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge) signed, as did No. 3 guard Ross Pierschbacher (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls). A second guard in the class is three-star Montel McBride (Plant City, Fla./Plant City), who could also play nose tackle at the next level.

The Crimson Tide had the nation’s best offensive line class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Three years ago, Jimbo Fisher was out of options. Injuries and ineffectiveness had rendered his offensive line a sieve, and as the 2011 season drew to a close, Fisher threw his hands in the air and sent four true freshmen onto the field to start Florida State’s bowl game against Notre Dame.

The last resort proved to be a stroke of genius. The group gelled and by the time the Seminoles secured the 2013 national championship, the offensive line was a strength. With five seniors projected as starters for 2014, the line promises to be the backbone of Florida State’s offense again.

[+] EnlargeRoderick Johnson
Cliff Welch/Icon SMIESPN 300 offensive tackle Roderick Johnson is the Seminoles' top-ranked offensive line signee for the 2014 class.
The problem, however, is the incredibly uncertain future after Tre' Jackson, Cameron Erving, Josue Matias and the rest of this veteran line wave goodbye.

Fisher clearly remembers the struggles of 2011, and he’s not eager to relive them again in 2015 and beyond. So while rebuilding the line is still a year away, the groundwork for that massive overhaul began in earnest Wednesday.

Florida State inked an impressive class on national signing day, reeling in 28 new Seminoles -- including five early enrollees -- and one quarter of that group is offensive linemen. It is one of the largest recruiting scores at the position in school history, Fisher said, and it’s a group with significant upside.

“We got size on the edges, in the middle and that can snap the football,” Fisher said. “From that standpoint, it’s a great group, and guys are just getting bigger and faster.”

There might not be room for the seven linemen FSU inked to get much bigger. The group already averages 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds, including juco transfers Kareem Are (6-6, 350) and Chad Mavety (6-5, 315), who Fisher believes can step in and play immediately.

Of course, finding reps for the fresh faces won’t be easy given the veterans already in place atop the depth chart, but Fisher understands it’s necessary if Florida State wants to avoid another season of linemen learning on the job in 2015.

“If those guys play well, there will be a lot of playing time,” Fisher said. “They’ll get a lot of playing time, and that’s why it was critical we got two junior college guys.”

If game-ready talent was necessary, developmental projects were significant for Florida State, too.

Fisher has racked up big recruiting wins in virtually every segment of the roster since his arrival in 2010, but the offensive line has remained a concern throughout. Part of the struggles to recruit top talent on the line lies with position coach Rick Trickett, who is far less interested in recruiting rankings than finding players malleable enough for him to build up from scratch.

Since Trickett took over the line in 2007, Florida State has signed just three offensive linemen ranked among the top 150 recruits. Jordan Prestwood left shortly after arriving. Ira Denson, last year’s prize recruit, could be on his way out, too. (Fisher said Wednesday that Denson was “still in school,” but didn’t elaborate on his status with the team.) Of FSU’s best line recruits in the Trickett era, only Bobby Hart remains embedded on the depth chart.

In fact, if Denson leaves, FSU will have just two scholarship linemen to show for its recruiting efforts in 2012 and 2013 combined and, before Wednesday’s haul, had just three linemen on the current roster set to still be with the team in 2015. Fisher praised the potential of redshirt freshman Wilson Bell and redshirt junior Ruben Carter, but there’s no doubt Wednesday’s new additions were a necessary influx of bodies.

“The guys who put their hands in the dirt on the offensive line, that controls the game,” Fisher said. “You can have all the skills in the world you want but you’ve got to win those battles up front and protect. Getting great offensive linemen is critical.”

Just how great this group ends up remains to be seen. Strong bodies with weak constitutions have a tendency to crumble under Trickett’s demanding approach. But the potential for this group is obvious.

Roderick Johnson is 6-7, 330 pounds and ranked as one of ESPN’s top prospects at tackle. FSU snagged him out of Missouri as one of Wednesday’s late additions to the class.

"Big Rod is a very athletic guy -- bends tremendously well for a guy 6-7 and 330 pounds,” Fisher said. “Great length and can bend his lower body, great flexibility and very intelligent. Very smart guy. Works very hard. I think the sky is the limit for the guy.”

Corey Martinez ranked just a tick behind Johnson as an ESPN 300 member, too. It’s the first time FSU landed multiple ESPN 300 linemen in the same class since Prestwood and Hart came aboard in 2011.

At 6-9, Brock Ruble is one of the tallest recruits in the nation, while Are and Movety were both among the top junior college linemen in the country. The Seminoles also added three-star center Alec Eberle.

Replacing the five seniors projected to start in 2014 will be no small task, but the first step in the process was providing Fisher and Trickett with some building blocks. Wednesday’s recruiting haul did that, and Fisher hopes that means there won’t be another season like 2011 on the horizon.

“Those guys will get a lot of playing time this year, and we’ll develop them,” he said. “They’ll have been able to play, and they’ll all be sophomores and juniors [in 2015] and they’ll fit in.”

FSU depth chart breakdown: Offense

January, 24, 2014
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A lot has changed for Florida State in the few weeks since Jimbo Fisher hoisted that crystal trophy above his head in Pasadena, Calif. Stars have departed, several incoming freshmen have arrived and the Seminoles are already at work with an eye toward repeating in 2014.

With that in mind, we’re taking a quick run through the depth chart to see where Florida State stands in advance of spring practice. Up first, the offense.

Quarterback

Projected starter: Jameis Winston (RS-So.)
Backups: Sean Maguire (RS-So.) and John Franklin III (RS-Fr.)

[+] EnlargeWinston Sacked
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesKeeping Jameis Winston upright will be a key for Florida State, especially with Jacob Coker transferring.
Storylines: Winston plans to play baseball again this spring, which means at least some concerns about injury. Jacob Coker is transferring, leaving Maguire as Winston’s top backup. He had only limited playing time in 2013 and will need to continue to improve this spring. Franklin has great athleticism, but questions linger about whether he’ll stick at QB for the long haul.

Status: A
Returning the Heisman winner makes life easy for FSU’s offense, but Winston’s health will be watched closely.

Offensive line

Projected starters: Cameron Erving (RS-Sr.), Tre Jackson (Sr.), Austin Barron (Sr.), Josue Matias (Sr.), Bobby Hart (Sr.)
Backups: Sterling Lovelady (Sr.), Ira Denson (RS-Fr.), Ruben Carter (RS-Jr.), Wilson Bell (RS-Fr.), Ryan Hoefeld (RS-Fr.), Kareem Are (Fr.), Stephen Gabbard (Fr.)

Storylines: Barron steps in for Stork in the only noteworthy departure from the line. Barron has starting experience, and if he wins the job, FSU will have five senior starters -- meaning lofty expectations for the unit. Erving and Bell played well on the edges last year, but both could make further strides. The improvement for youngsters such as Bell, Hoefeld and Are will be crucial for both depth in 2014 and managing a massive overhaul in 2015.

Status: A
The starting lineup might be the best in the country, but developing depth for the future will be crucial this spring.

Running backs/Fullbacks

Projected starters: Karlos Williams (Sr.) and Freddie Stevenson (So.)
Backups: Mario Pender (RS-So.), Ryan Green (So.), Dalvin Cook (Fr.), Cameron Ponder (Sr.)

Storylines: Williams was a revelation in his first season as a tailback, but for all his success, 70 of his 91 carries came in late-game, blowout situations. Pender returns after sitting out two years because of injuries and academics, but he provides ample speed and a knowledge of the system. Green showed flashes of potential as a freshman but must improve his blocking and decision-making this spring. Cook could be the wild card. He’s an immense talent, and by enrolling early, he’ll have a leg up on getting touches in the fall.

Status: B
With a ton of talent, this group could easily turn this grade to an A by the end of the spring.

Wide receivers

Projected starters: Rashad Greene (Sr.), Christian Green (RS-Sr.), Kermit Whitfield (So.)
Backups: Isaiah Jones (So.), Jarred Haggins (RS-Sr.), Jesus Wilson (So.)

Storylines: FSU must replace Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin, who accounted for nearly 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns between them. The current group, aside from Greene, has combined for just 34 catches, 441 yards and no touchdowns in the past two seasons. After a solid 2011 season, Green has virtually disappeared and must show he’s still capable of making an impact. Haggins returns from a knee injury and figures to be limited in spring practice, but he could provide a solid veteran influence. Whitfield is a budding star thanks to his blazing speed, but FSU will need to see marked improvement from both Jones and Wilson in order to make up for the depth this unit lost.

Status: C+
Without any established depth behind Greene, this is the one area of the offense where Florida State has a lot of work to do this spring.

Tight end

Projected starter: Nick O’Leary (Sr.)
Backups: Kevin Haplea (RS-Sr.), Giorgio Newberry (RS-Jr.), Jeremy Kerr (RS-Fr.)

Storylines: O’Leary had a breakthrough 2013, but with two of FSU’s top three receivers gone, he figures to see even more looks this year. Haplea returns from a knee injury that cost him all of 2013 and will likely take it slow entering spring practice. Newberry’s stint at tight end after moving from defensive end wasn’t entirely smooth, and he’s been vocal that he’s not enamored with staying at the position.

Status: A
O’Leary figures to be among the top tight ends in the country this season, and getting the veteran Haplea back for blocking situations adds to the unit’s depth and versatility.

Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

December, 23, 2013
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As the Christmas holiday nears, recruiting has slowed some. But not entirely as both Virginia schools extended offers.

Florida State and Virginia Tech landed commitments recently, too.

Biggest offer: 2015 defensive end Sterling Johnson (Clayton, N.C./Clayton) already has an impressive group of schools after him. Clemson, Florida and NC State have all offered. And just last week, another high-level ACC school jumped in, too -- Virginia Tech. The Hokies would love to add a 6-foot-5, 245-pound player off the edge for Bud Foster’s defense. The Hokies' in-state rival, Virginia, also issued an offer, but this one went to 2015 tight end Jackson Harris (Columbia, Tenn./Columbia Central). Other ACC schools in on Harris include Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Louisville, a future ACC school, has offered as well.

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ACC recruiting storylines: Dec. 19 

December, 19, 2013
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The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it, so too is national signing day.

ACC programs are scrambling to firm up their commitment lists and add to them as well. Here are a few top storylines for the conference:


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The junior college midterm signing period opened on Wednesday and the Auburn Tigers came away as the clear-cut winners.

Despite relentless pursuit by LSU, Auburn signed receiver D'haquille Williams, the nation’s No. 1 junior college player, out of Mississippi Gulf Coast College. The Tigers also announced the signings of his teammate, four-star linebacker/safety Derrick Moncrief, and offensive lineman Xavier Dampeer from Wesson (Miss.) Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

[+] EnlargeD'haquille Williams
Courtesy of Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.D'haquille Williams, the No. 1 juco prospect, signed with Auburn and Gus Malzahn called him "a dynamic player who can run, catch, do all the things it takes to be a great wide receiver."
The good news continued Wednesday afternoon as defensive tackle DaVonte Lambert (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military College), the No. 6 player in the ESPN JC 50, flipped his pledge from Tennessee and said he was signing with the Tigers.

By the end of the day, the Tigers had inked three of the top 14 players in the country and are now poised to crack the top 10 of the ESPN Class Rankings with more than a month left before signing day. But make no mistake, Williams was the prize of the haul.

"He's a dynamic player who can run, catch, do all the things it takes to be a great wide receiver," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "If you look back we've had years when we threw it a lot. We are going to get more balanced next year. Anytime you have a dynamic player like him coming, that's a good thing."

Despite missing out on Lambert, it was still a banner day for the Vols.

Tennessee signed the nation’s No. 2 juco prospect in Lavon Pearson, an impact receiver from Quincy (Calif.) Feather River College. The Vols also landed No. 26 Dontavius Blair, an offensive tackle from Garden City (Kan.) Community College, and No. 40 Owen Williams, a defensive tackle from El Dorado (Kan.) Butler Community College.

All three are expected to see the field quickly at Tennessee and are a major part of the Vols’ second-ranked recruiting class.

"Von was as productive of a player as there was in all of junior college football this past season,” Tennessee receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Azzanni said. “He brings instant help as a threat on the outside to our offense.”’

Oklahoma State also came away a big winner with the addition of running back/receiver Tyreek Hill, No. 4 in the ESPN JC 50, out of Garden City. Hill had flirted with Texas and even took an official visit to Austin last weekend, but in the end he stuck with the school he committed to early in the process.

“It feels good to finally get this all out of the way,” Hill said. “I owed it to myself to make sure Oklahoma State was the right place for me. In the end, it was OSU and it wasn’t even close.”

Hill is one of the fastest players in the country, with a 200-meter time of 20.14 seconds and a 100 time of 10.19.

Several other teams filled major holes with commitments as the signing period opened Wednesday.

Kansas State landed Andre Davis (Santa Rosa, Calif./Santa Rosa JC), a receiver who is No. 36 in the juco rankings and is expected to complement All-Big 12 receiver Tyler Lockettnext season. Davis said he told the K-State coaches he plans on coming in and being better than Locket.

Florida State added to its offensive line depth with the addition of Kareem Are (Fort Scott, Kan./Fort Scott Community College), who is No. 45 in the ESPN JC 50. Are is a nice addition because he can play virtually every position along the offensive line.

Florida also landed a nice signing day surprise when Drew Sarvary, an offensive tackle from Tyler (Texas) Junior College switched his commitment from Texas Tech and signed with the Gators. UF needs as much help as it can get up front and Sarvary, a Tallahassee, Fla., native, jumped at the opportunity to stay near home.

Scarcity to surplus at OL for Florida State 

December, 18, 2013
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The task is still at hand for Florida State and QB Jameis Winston as the Vizio BCS National Championship game is close to three weeks away. However, Winston can smile early knowing he will have the protection to make another title run in 2014.

The Seminoles picked up their second commitment from a junior college offensive lineman in the last 10 days when guard Kareem Are (Fort Scott, Kan./Fort Scott CC) pledged to FSU. Are is No. 45 in the ESPN Junior College 50, and Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau), No. 8 in the rankings, committed Dec. 9.

Are, 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, plans to enroll in January and signed with Florida State when he committed. Wednesday is the first day midyear juco enrollees can sign with colleges.

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ACC top juco targets 

December, 3, 2013
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Recruiting junior college players is no longer a college football taboo, as even No. 1 Florida State has a handful of juco targets. Prospects from the juco ranks such as Cam Newton and Terrence Cody have helped programs to national championships over the last few seasons, so coaches are willing to go to juco programs to provide immediate help.

Here are the top five juco players in the ESPN JC 50 being recruited by ACC teams.

1. OT Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau)
The second-ranked tackle and No. 8 overall among juco recruits, Mavety is down to Florida State and Ohio State. Clearly Mavety is a player who could have an impact on the national title race next season as both the Seminoles and Buckeyes are poised to make another title run . Mavety visited both schools in November, and a decision should come soon. The offensive line is priority No. 1 for the Noles between now and signing day.

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The annual Florida-Florida State game is usually one of the top games in the country. This year, with Florida’s disappointing season, the game seems to have lost some luster. Florida State, however, is fighting for a chance to make it to the BCS National Championship game in January. The Gators would like nothing more to ruin their archrival’s season, especially in front of several top recruits. Here’s a closer look at which recruits will be watching this weekend.


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FSU once again place to be for recruits 

November, 17, 2013
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Every home weekend has seemingly turned into a big recruiting opportunity for Florida State.

And while a game against middle-of-the-road Syracuse isn’t garnering the same attention as the Miami rivalry, a number of ESPN 300 prospects still found reason to head to the Florida panhandle.

It was a mixed bag as far as the visitors go because some prospects were uncommitted, some were Noles commits (and wavering) and others were commitments to other schools.

Several ESPN 300 prospects roamed the sidelines, including a few surprises. Alabama commitments Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy), No. 21 in the ESPN 300, and 2015 pledge Dallas Warmack (Atlanta/Benjamin E. Mays), No. 297 in the Junior 300, were in Tallahassee for the game.


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Weekend visitor preview: Florida State 

November, 15, 2013
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Florida State will be hosting five official visits this weekend against Syracuse. Here is the rundown on each player:

Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara): Prince was a late addition to the visitor list, but he becomes the most important right off the bat. The four-star offensive tackle is fresh off an official visit to Maryland, in which the Terrapins lost to Syracuse. Florida State hopes this visit goes a little better than that one in terms of results. Maryland is still the clubhouse leader, but this official will be one of the more important ones the Seminoles will host all cycle long. Prince fits the bill perfectly as the talented offensive tackle Jimbo Fisher can count on for the next several seasons. He is the No. 26 prospect in the country.


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