Five-star Josh Sweat was the nation’s No. 1 recruit last season before injuring his knee. Sweat tore his ACL and dislocated his left kneecap in a game on September 19th of last year. Since then Sweat had surgery and started rehab before enrolling early at Florida State. He sat out the entire spring with the injury and kept up his rehab. He finally started running and moving over the summer, and since then he’s made incredible progress.
New Florida State defensive ends coach Brad Lawing recruited Sweat to play at Florida last season. Now he’s pretty happy that he lost that recruiting battle.
“I recruited Josh out of high school, I know what he can do. We are just bringing him along slowly right now. Getting a chance to see him develop is going to be a lot of fun.”
Sweat has been fully participating during fall camp, and hasn’t just eased back into it. According to Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher Sweat has been really standing out.
"He's healthy," Fisher said. "He's playing fast. He's long and athletic. He's getting better in knowing what to do and playing with more consistency. He's playing faster."
He hasn’t just impressed the coaches though. He’s impressed senior linebacker Terrance Smith as well.
“It’s not a surprise,” Smith said. “I watched his highlights from back in high school. He’s a tremendous athlete. The things he can do rushing off the edge is crazy. He has tremendous speed coming off the edge and his pass-rushing skills are going to be very, very needed.”
For Sweat to come back from that type of injury this fast is a pretty incredible feat by itself, but he’s not just fighting for playing time right now. He’s also fighting for a starting spot. Defensive ends Lorenzo Featherston and Chris Casher are currently out with knee injuries and have left the door open for Sweat to move in.
He’s apparently made the most of his opportunity. Coach Fisher mentioned him as one of the three players that really stood out on defense after the second scrimmage on Saturday.
“Jalen flashed at me,” Fisher said. “Demarcus Walker at times. Sweat. I’ll look and see on the film.”
Sweat is the most talented defensive end on the roster and getting him on the field is something that will definitely benefit the Florida State defense, especially the pass rush. If he manages to win the starting job don’t be surprised if he stays in that role for the next three years.