Round Table: Summer Workout Impressions

The Florida State football team is drawing closer to fall practice and with summer workouts set to end in a little more than two weeks, publishers Dave Peters and Brandon Mellor look back at what has transpired over the past month and a half. What freshmen have impressed? Who has looked the best in one-on-ones? What youngsters have the best chance to see the field this year?

Q: What freshman player(s) has impressed you the most this summer?

Dave Peters: There have been several freshmen that have really impressed me. Probably the player who has really caught my eye the most is linebacker Marcus Ball. Everyone knows about his outstanding athletic ability and chiseled body. But it's his work ethic and leadership skills that separate him from the pack. During workouts I overheard the Georgia native getting on another freshman for walking and he told him that he was supposed to representing his home state. I've also been impressed with what I've seen from wide receiver Preston Parker and cornerback Patrick Robinson. Both former South Florida standouts look like they could contribute early in their Seminole career.

Brandon Mellor: I never would have thought I'd say it after seeing him the first day but Matt Hardrick has really impressed me with his work ethic. After checking in over weight, the former Edgewater High School standout has turned it around in a quick way. After struggling to complete the drills on day one, every day since then has been an improvement. It's been pretty inspiring to see. Another player that I haven't really talked about in some of my posts is offensive lineman Tyler Graves. He is deceptively athletic and gives it 110 percent in every drill. As Dave mentioned, Marcus Ball looks great as does Marcus Sims. I really like Anthony Leon as well. He has the size and the look of his cousin Sean Taylor but the massive safety is a quiet, kind and hardworking athlete. He is going to be a menace in that Seminole secondary for years to come.

Q: Of those freshmen players, who are the ones (not counting the tight ends) most likely to see significant action this fall?

DP: I could see offensive tackle Daron Rose getting some reps because of the depth situation on the line. He's a smart, talented kid who will probably have a small learning curve. His high school coach played in the NFL and taught him quite a bit about zone blocking. Toddrick Verdell didn't light it up in the spring so I could also see Marcus Ball getting on the field early at Sam Linebacker.

BM: I agree with Dave in that Rose should see the field and I think that Hardrick will work his way into the rotation at guard. I think that both Parker and Robinson will see the field in some capacity as well. They are just way too talented to miss an entire year. Justin Mincey will see plenty of action from the defensive end spot as well as the Tribe will be looking anywhere to replace the production that will be missing from the since-graduated Kamerion Wimbley. A Mincey and Everette Brown combination is pretty exciting coming off the ends mixed with the other veterans

Q: What veteran player has stood out?

DP: I would have to say Drew Weatherford has stood out. I know he's only going to be a sophomore but he is probably the most respected player on the team. His work ethic should pay huge dividends this upcoming season. No one can cover Greg Carr. It's going to be fun watching the 6-foot-6 phenom work his magic once again. He also has improved his route running.

BM: Weatherford is definitely the winner here but since Dave already mentioned him I should point out the likes of Darrell Burston and Roger Williams. The veteran defenders don't get much publicity but they are quietly very hard workers and extremely talented. Burston has battled injuries his entire career but he's still out there coaching the other guys and going full speed. Williams gets lost with talk of all the young safeties but he is arguably the most underrated player on the entire defense.

Q: In one-on-one drills who has impressed you the most? Who still has some work to do?

DP: Like I said in the previous question, Greg Carr can't be covered. Freshman tight end Caz Piurowski looks real big and fast. The former Land O' Lakes standout looks like he will contribute sooner than later. Senior wide receiver Chris Davis is practically impossible to cover as well. His hands are also very impressive. On defense, Tony Carter looks like he'll be the next great Seminole cover-corner. Late in the season, he looked like he was turning the corner. He has not disappointed in workouts. Ochucko Jenjie has struggled with his technique and he looks like he could be headed for a redshirt.

BM: We've known since he enrolled at FSU back in 2002 what kind of moves he has but if you haven't seen Chris Davis dish out the moves on a defensive back you are missing out. He is a guy that just cannot be covered. Another guy that looks great (just as he did last summer which generated all kinds of hype) is Richard Goodman. If he can duplicate what he does during the summer this fall, watch out for No. 85. Defensively, Carter covers like a blanket and Patrick Robinson is right behind him. Before he injured his ankles (ironically, in one-on-ones) Jamie Robinson was looking real good lining up against the receivers.

Q: What is your overall impression of the four Seminole quarterbacks this summer?

DP: I've been impressed with all four. However, Xavier Lee looks a little rusty but that's to be expected with his shoulder recovery. Both freshmen (Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson) have a real strong work ethic. They both have been inconsistent but the talent is there. I expect Weatherford to compete for all ACC-honors.

BM: Lee has looked a bit rusty but he has his moments. And when he does it's a very nice thing to see. I know it's only one type of pass and to be a successful quarterback at this level you have to have a full arsenal of throws but nobody, I repeat nobody, throws the deep ball like Xavier. He does it with no effort at all. Hopefully he can keep fighting back from the offseason surgery and develop all his throws. Ponder and Richardson look good but they are a long ways away from being ready to contribute. Weatherford looks great.

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