There's no question that freshman Brandon Warren is poised to become an elite player for the Florida State football team.
The Alcoa, Tenn. native was viewed as one of those "once every 10 years" type of prospects coming out of high school and Seminole coaches have high hopes for him.
Upon arriving in Tallahassee just a few days before preseason camp began after the NCAA Clearinghouse finally permitted his enrollment, however, it wasn't sure how much impact he would have right away after missing summer workouts.
Perhaps attributed to his freakish athletic ability and quick learning curve, one game into the 2006 season the 6-foot-2 standout has one career start under his belt.
"I was focused. My goal when I first signed with Florida State was to come in and potentially fight for the starting job," Warren said. "I was focused and got my plays done and my assignments right and the coaches told me once I got those right I'd be on the field."
Anytime a freshman player sees the field for the first time in college there is of course going to be a time for adjustment to level of play as compared to high school. But in Warren's case, his first collegiate play came against a Miami defense known for its speed and intensity.
Luckily for him, though, it helps facing that same speed everyday at practice.
"It's fast as hell. The guys play extremely physical," Warren said. "But our defense is the same way. I think we have the best defense in the country. We go against them everyday and stuff so that's good preparation for us. So, there wasn't much difference between our defense and (Miami's) defense."
And Warren knows a thing or two about defensive speed from personal experience. In addition to being a talented tight end in high school, he was also one of the nation's best pass rushers at defensive end.
His aptitude for getting to the quarterback is something that FSU coaches have plans to utilize at some point – but not until he becomes a consistent threat on offense.
"There are still a couple of things we are trying to get in offensively because I am not on special teams or anything like that," Warren told RenegadeReport.com. "(The coaches) are really trying to get me to learn the offense first and then I think by about N.C. State or so I will be playing a little bit of defense or some special teams. I am really looking forward to that."
Playing defense means taking hits instead of receiving them, something Warren says "everyone prefers." But against Miami, it was made apparent that despite the fact that he will be a primarily offensive player in college, he can still have opportunities to put his pads into opponents.
On fullback Joe Surratt's one-yard touchdown to tie the game at the start of the fourth quarter, Warren's block on the defensive end provided enough room for the Tribe to punch it in.
And according to Warren, expect to see more of that Saturday against Troy and throughout the rest of the season.
"I think I had a couple of good blocks. I pancake blocked on the first series on a very good defensive end in Baraka Atkins," he said. "I just got in there and took it kind of to heart that people have said I am more of a pass catcher than a blocker. I want to show that I can do it all.
"And I can assure you there's gonna be more pancakes to come."
Warren Making His Mark With the 'Noles
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