Summer Workouts: Premium Notebook

The FSU football team got back to work Monday afternoon in a spirited conditioning session that marked the beginning of the second summer semester and the return of a few familiar faces that had taken the first half off to go home. However, much of the excitement Monday surrounded the arrival of 17 new faces on campus.

Of the 22 players that FSU signed in February, 17 were qualified, cleared, dressed out and working with the team Monday afternoon. That's exceptional given that only nine were out on the first day possible last summer as several other players had to wait to be cleared by trainers or didn't arrive on campus until August.

"It's a great sign to have all of us out here," said Eugene Hayes, who made one of the shortest trips to Tallahassee from nearby Madison County. "We all sat down (over the weekend) and set some goals that we wanted to accomplish as a class and were all making sure that we stick to them. Things are done a certain way here and we want to keep things up."

Hayes and company were easy to spot, most wearing brand new gold FSU tops assigned to them. Along with a little good-natured ribbing, the newcomers were shown the ropes by veterans during conditioning stations and positional work afterward. When it was time for 7-on-7 player-led scrimmages, the freshman got a few reps, but mostly sat back to take things in as the returning players went up against one another.

"It'll be real key for them to get in here and get to know everybody," linebacker A.J. Nicholson said. "You build chemistry sweating out here. You know you have to go to war with the guys that are out here. So want to to get know these guys running around, talking a little bit."

For last year's class, Monday provided a reminder.

"I know what they are going through," linebacker Rodney Gallon said. "The first year is going to get a little rough at times. That's how it goes. There are going to be ups and downs. It was whole new experience for me."


One trio of players that will acclimate to life on campus a little easier is Russell Ball, Korey Mangum and Clarence Ward, all of whom went to high school together in La Marque, Texas.

Ward – a Pensacola native – said he's taking the lead in getting out and meeting new teammates and people around town. The three made the drive from Texas on Friday with their parents to move into their on-campus dorms.

"We know that this experience is going to make us closer," Ward said. "All three of us coming here just kind of happened. It wasn't planned. At one point, we were three different players committed to three different schools."

Given the depth that FSU has at tailback (Ball) and in the secondary (Ward and Mangum), it's likely all three will redshirt this season. Ball – still rehabbing an ACL injury – confirmed it Monday.
It still feels good to get out here and get a jumpstart on my education," Ball said. "Having these guys around will make the year go by fast."

Added Ward: "We're at Florida State with the best of the best, so its a good feeling."


Michael Ray Garvin was easily the most physically impressive freshman, with Antone Smith running a close second. Appropriately, the chiseled Garvin had the word "Thoroughbred" tatooed across his back.

"I got it right after the Army All-American game," he said. "I think it fits me. Both of my parents are athletic and ran track, just like I'm athletic. Just like thoroughbreds are born to race, I was born to run and play sports."

Garvin said that he's been working out with a personal trainer over the past few months and is up to around 200 pounds.

"Every chance I got, I was with him getting some work done," he said.


Joe Manning was working at corner back, likely his new position for now. Graham Gano worked with the other kickers after conditioning and made good on a few 40-yard tries. Look for a photo gallery and additional reports from Tuesday's work out. The players have Wednesday off.

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