Talented Tandem

<b>Antonio Cromartie</b> and <b>Pat Watkins</b> each attended Lincoln High School, which has served as a pipeline to Florida State over the years. The pair enjoyed a productive summer as the Seminoles ended their conditioning drills on Tuesday. Cromartie has added noticeable bulk, while Watkins enters drills as the starter at free safety. Click here for an update.

Florida State's secondary is in good hands this season due to plenty of experience.

It also features a hometown spin in Pat Watkins and Antonio Cromartie, two former teammates at nearby Lincoln High School.

The duo is expecting even bigger and better performances this season for the Seminoles.

Watkins, a junior, enters drills as the starter at free safety in front of senior B.J. Ward. Cromartie, a sophomore, expects to push for quality playing time at the cornerback slot.

Both Cromartie and Watkins feature lean yet extremely physical, cut bodies. Cromartie is especially pleased with his weight gain from last season -- he's up to 207 pounds from 192.

"I wanted to lose some body fat and gain more muscle mass," Cromartie said. "I lost around 3-percent body fat. I feel real good. I feel better than when I came in here last year."

Cromartie, of course, made a postive first impression.

He appeared in all 13 games and led the team in kickoff return yards and ranked fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 22 returns for 527 yards. He was one of only five true freshman to see action last season.

Cromartie had a career game in the victory against Duke, recording four tackles and returning an interception 71 yards for a score. He finished the year with 19 tackles (17 solo, two assisted) and two pass break-ups. He had two kickoff returns for 41 yards in the Orange Bowl against Miami.

"I feel real comfortable, even though last year I was trying to learn the sysem," Cromartie said.

"But I feel really comfortable coming in this year. I believe this is going to be one of the best secondarys. We have a lot of talent, plus there's a lot of talented young guys, too.

"All I can say this is going to be a Cornerback University again."

Watkins likewise is an exceptional mix of height, speed, and great football instincts. He played in all 13 games his sophomore season a year ago and made his first start of the season against Miami in the Orange Bowl.

He tied for the team lead along with cornerback Leroy Smith with three interceptions. Watkins also ranked third with eight pass break-ups and fifth with 62 tackles.

Lean yet muscular, Watkins is up to a career-high 208 pounds. He hopes to play around 215 this season after playing around 200 last season. Despite tweaking his left knee and sitting out the final conditioning session, Watkins has been pleased with the Seminoles' effort.

"I see a lot of positive things out of the whole team," Watkins said.

"A lot of people have showed for practice. A lot of different players doing different things to motivate the team to come out and be involved. We have a lot of people stepping up and talking to the team. Personally, I am happy where I am at and with the team I am really happy."

Watkins also has watched film of Miami, though he expects to pick up the pace over the next few weeks. "Every now and then I glance at the tape," Watkins said.

"I am not trying to think of them too much. I don't want to keep them on my mind. They are going to come around eventually and we will be focused on them. We will have our time for Miami."


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