Ja'Baris Little was a two-way standout for Lincoln High in Tallahassee, FL. Even though he excelled as a defensive end and linebacker, most colleges projected him to play tight end on the collegiate level. It was vital that Florida State signed at least one tight end for the 2008 class (they later added Bo Reliford in May), so getting Little to pledge early was big for the Noles. Now that he'll be an official member of the team in less than a week, he says the excitement is at an all-time high.
"Things have been pretty cool since I signed. I'm just getting excited now that I'll be at FSU in a short time. I can't wait to get there and compete against guys who are more mature and better than what I've gone against. The best way I can describe what I am feeling right now is nervous excitement. I wouldn't say I am anxious, but I am just ready to get started."
Ja'Baris comes from a program that is traditionally a Florida State pipeline. Add that to growing up in Tallahassee, Little knew where he wanted to go to college. After committing in May of 2007 he never wavered, stating the need for his position, plus his desire to go there, made it an easy choice on where to go to college.
"We haven't talked about early playing time, but I am planning on coming in and earning it. I don't want anything handed to me, but I know the need for tight ends on the team. After the offer came through I knew what I wanted. Really there was no where else I wanted to go so I made the decision to commit early. The location and the playing time added up to the best choice for me."
When Little was being recruited the Seminole coaching staff had a different guy coaching the tight ends as John Lilly was the guy Ja'Baris thought would be his future position coach. After Lilly moved on to Georgia James Coley was brought in to take over the recruiting coordinator and tight end spots. Little told NoleDigest that he's very happy with the move and he says he gets along well with the new coach.
"I like Coach Coley a lot. When I went there for the spring game I was able to sit in on the meetings and listen to how he was coaching his guys. We were watching the film and going over what to do in certain situations. He is a really cool guy and I think he has a great personality."
The visit for the spring game was the last time Ja'Baris was at FSU. He says he's been working hard to get in shape to be ready to contribute as soon as he steps on campus. He had to lose some weight for weightlifting, but he says he isn't too worried about putting it back on.
"I haven't been over to FSU too much since the game. I've been working out a lot preparing myself so I can come in and compete. I've been told from the start that it's up to me to come in and be ready, so that's what I am doing. I had to qualify for weightlifting at 238, so I lost some weight. I'm okay with that as I am at 235 right now. I've been running and lifting every day. My agility has gotten a lot better and I'm getting a lot stronger. Coach Coley wants me to come in a little smaller so they can add good weight to me. I'd like to add 10 pounds and get faster and stronger during summer workouts."
Ja'Baris is a recruit that most likely will see playing time right away. Other than tight end, look for him to be a contributor on special teams. Overall, Little says playing at FSU is something that he can't wait to do.
"Whether it's tight end, special teams, or whatever, I want to show the players and coaches that I am a guy they can depend on. I want to earn the respect from them and show that I am a guy that can hold up his end of it all."Other Random Things on Ja'Baris:
Ja'Baris wants to wear number 15, but knows walk-on quarterback Andrew Knowles wears it.
His roommate is going to be Ty Jones.
Ja'Baris hasn't decided on a major, but says he's leaning towards sociology.
He has been working every day on pass catching, as he's been working on his routes and throwing the ball at Lincoln every day.