Receiver Chauncey Stovall left Hinds Community College in Mississippi at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. Six hours later, Stovall arrived in Tallahassee with hopes of joining the Seminoles Thursday when the varsity reports.
Stovall, who would be a welcomed addition due to question marks at receiver, watched both practice sessions while taking care of some necessary paperwork. However, Stovall won't be cleared to join FSU until the university receives his transcripts from Hinds CC -- Stovall must earn his Associate Arts degree to be eligible.
Stovall told TheTerritory that he had earned his degree and was just awaiting confirmation. FSU coaches are optimistic that Stovall will be cleared.
"I am just anxious, but, you know, I have to take it day-by-day," Stovall said.
Defensive lineman Broderick Bunkley admittedly struggled with the heat due to a 50-pound weight gain since the end of his senior season at Tampa Chamberlain High School. Bunkley, a 6-2 1/4, 276-pounder, said the increase was intentional, though it obviously hampered his performance in drills. Bunkley is expected to be given an opportunity to contribute at nose guard.
"I spent a lot of time lifting and eating," Bunkley said. "I worked out very hard, and now it's time to get back by cardiovascular (conditioning) back in shape. I will be good to go. I wanted to come in as big and as strong as I possibly could so I could focus on being prepared. If I came in with good strength and still was a little big, that would be fine because I can now lose weight still keep my strength."
Bunkley, who led the Chiefs with 18.5 sacks and was rated the state's No. 2 defensive lineman by Florida Kids, is eager to play this season. Junior Jeff Womble anchors the Seminoles' nose guard slot. He's back by senior O.J. Jackson and walk-on Mike Shaw.
"I am definitely going to play this year," Bunkley said. "They really need some D-tackles. They are looking at me at noseguard now. I have no problem with that. I have a chance to get the quarterback or get the ball carrier."
Quarterback Wyatt Sexton certainly looked at home on the practice field. He features a fluid throwing style with plenty of zip on his passes. Of course, Sexton is the son of FSU assistant coach Billy Sexton, who got to work with Wyatt and the running backs in the session's first ballhandling drill.
Coach Bobby Bowden said it's the first time he has ever coached one of his assistant's sons on scholarship. While at FSU, Bowden coached his son Jeff as well as Mickey Andrews' son - however, both were walk-ons. Wyatt admitted there would be added pressure because of his bloodlines.
"There's always that pressure," Wyatt Sexton said. "All the players coming in, and the players already here, they are going to be skeptical. The way I look at it, if I can perform like I can, there's no reason for them to be skeptical. In a couple of years I will prove myself and we will be good to go. I guess there is pressure but it's not that bad. I will prove myself."
Sexton traveled a similar path at Leon High School, where is father also was a star quarterback.
"I went to the same high school as my dad (Leon) and I got that a lot in high school," Sexton said. "That's exactly how it was. Before I started playing, a lot of guys gave me some grief. Guys weren't in my position were saying the only reason and all that stuff. But when it came down to playing, I actually could play and had some talent and I performed. Everybody kind of forgets all of that."
Papa Sexton said he intentionally stayed out of his son's recruitment.
"It's fun. I am happy for him," Billy Sexton said.
"His goal growing up was to play college football and possibly one day get a scholarship. It happened for him. I told him to make it (decision) on his own. Go where he wants to go. Don't let me influence you. The only thing I told him was to go to a school where they throw the ball. I ended up going to a school, I was a throwing quarterback and we ended up running the wishbone (Alabama). I said you want to go from a philosophy standpoint, where the quarterbacks are throwing. And we are going to chunk it here."
Linebackers Sam McGrew, A.J. Nicholson and Buster Davis looked comfortable Wednesday. Middle linebacker expects to be a question mark, even if senior Jerel Hudson reports in shape Thursday. He is backed by Robert May and Nate Hardage, a junior-college transfer who missed spring drills with a partial Achilles tendon tear.
"It felt okay. I liked it," McGrew said.
"Basically, get in as much as I can and know as much as I can about the defense before the varsity gets in here. Right now, it's just us three we will be able to get in more work. We get more attention. I am trying to get as much as I can. I think the intensity level will be a lot higher (when varsity reports). But that's good news (possible playing time). I want to go out there and play to the best of my ability. Getting some playing time will help in my (future)."
All eyes will be on the freshmen tailbacks -- Lorenzo Booker, Thomas Clayton and Leon Washington. With veterans Greg Jones and Nick Maddox returning, as well as redshirt freshman Willie Reid, it remains to be seen if any of the newcomers will be given an immediate look-see.
"We have talent there," running backs coach Billy Sexton said. "Now I just have to teach them what to do so when we scrimmage they know where to go so they can compete. That's the focus right now. Teach them the plays, the reads, and then you have all the passing game. So, they are going to be busy guys here for the next three weeks.
"We don't plan to redshirt anybody. We go through training camp and we judge them on performance. It's a long season. We have potentially 14 football games this season. So, there's a lot of football to be played and a lot of guys being tackled."
ODDS AND ENDS
Zack Oller, a walk-on from North Carolina, will be given a chance to compete as a kickoff specialist for the Seminoles. Oller was the MVP of North Carolina's East-West game two weeks ago in Greensboro, N.C.
"He kicked about a 46-yard field goal to win it and he kicked out of the end zone and things like that," recruiting coordinator John Lilly said. "He also was impressive in high school."
Lilly also was impressed by the incoming class.
"You never sleep very well the last few nights because you are anxious to get going, especially when you have I think a group that is as talented as we think this one has the potential to be," Lilly said.
"But right now it's very similar to any other freshman group. They are trying to learn what to do as quickly as they can. You feed them an awful lot in a short amount of time because you are trying to get them prepared to get into the mix a little bit when the rest of the team reports. You don't expect them to be able to hit the ground running. Like coach Bowden says, we are going to ease them into it a little bit."
Wyatt Sexton, who worked out with the team this summer, said he was impressed by the physical skills of Booker. "(He has) great cuts and stuff like that," Sexton said. "It's going to be interesting to see what he can do against a college level defense. He definitely has the physical tools. It's just going to be if he can handle the hits and pounding of 240-pound linebackers. Warrick Dunn could do it. And he (Booker) has the same type of elusiveness and skills."
A.J. Nicholson battles the sled.