First Impressions

Florida State's incoming freshmen have put their best foot forward during the Seminoles' summer workouts. Antonio Cromartie has concentrated on defensive drills but also has run pass routes. And what about Ernie Sims? Does he want to play offense this season? Plant City's Joslin Shaw is another recruit trying to make a favorable impression. "I worked hard (back home) and prepared to come up there, so I think I am doing alright," Shaw said. Click here for all the details.

Florida State's incoming freshmen have put their best foot forward during the Seminoles' summer workouts.

Naturally, standouts Antonio Cromartie and Ernie Sims are considered the cornerstones of the Seminoles' recruiting class.

Cromartie, USA Today's Defensive Player of the Year, selected the Seminoles over Florida, Michigan, Auburn and Alabama. Sims, considered the nation's top recruit, opted for FSU over Florida.

While the duo has drawn rave reviews from FSU veterans, each understands the importance of hard work and earning the respect of teammates.

"It's going real good and I am having a lot of fun," Cromartie said.

"By us (freshmen) coming out here and working hard, I think we are showing the veterans that we are coming out here to learn and we want to win as badly as they do."

Cromartie is the fourth FSU recruit to earn USA Today's top defensive award, joining Derrick Brooks, Lamont Green and David Warren.

The 6-fooot-3 Cromartie, a lean but muscular 193 pounds, has been earmarked for cornerback and special teams. Still, he's also running pass routes during the team's evening workouts and wouldn‘t mind trying wide receiver at some point. Cromartie said he was clocked at a 4.5 in Tuesday's 40-yard dash.

"I am learning different positions, different plays," Cromartie said.

"I am having fun doing that. I've been playing corner and sometimes wide receiver. I will probably try (wide receiver) my sophomore year. I want to get used to defense for right now"

Sims, meanwhile, also has embraced his new surroundings with a wide smile and unbridled enthusiasm. His muscular physique rivals that of veteran Greg Jones and his athleticism continues to impress.

Like Cromartie, the 5-11 Sims wants to prove he belongs on the field. He said he expects to play weakside linebacker as well as special teams. Also a gifted running back, Sims said he‘s concentrating solely on defense.

"I am having fun, getting stronger and faster," Sims said.

"Like with the (weight) lifting. It's more explosive. I never did this kind of lifting, power clean and everything. This is really new to me. Like I said, I just want to get on the field, to be honest with you. I will play safety, special teams, whatever. That's why we all are out here working hard and trying to improve."

While Cromartie and Sims are accompanied by fanfare, others such as Plant City‘s Joslin Shaw continue to make a favorable first impression. Shaw, a relative unknown early in the recruiting process last season prior to attending FSU's summer camp, burst on the scene and developed into one of the nation's top athletes.

He rushed for 1,396 yards his senior season and was a third-team All-State selection in Class 5A. Considered a gifted and elusive runner, Shaw may also see time at wide receiver as well as running back with the Seminoles. (He also played defensive back for the Raiders).

While disappointed in his 40-yard dash Tuesday -- Shaw said he was clocked at 4.66 -- his goal remains daily improvement.

"Workouts have been going pretty good," Shaw said.

"I worked hard (back home) and prepared to come up there, so I think I am doing alright. I am sure it's going to get a lot harder, too. Right now to me, everybody is standing out. Everyone is working hard and everyone is motivated. The biggest difference has been the pace, as far as being in the weight room and on the (practice) field. It's a lot quicker. I just want to come in and help anyway I can. We really haven't talked about redshirting or anything like that yet."

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