Exclusive, in-depth interview with TP

Yesterday NoleDigest reported that 4-star JUCO running back Tavares Pressley still has work to do in the classroom. We spoke to him today for an exclusive, in-depth look into what he needs to do to get to Florida State before camp, as well as what he is doing to make sure he's in-shape when he arrives in July.

Tavares Pressley was a JUCO All-American after a standout 2007 season. Widely considered a top 10 JUCO player, Pressley has been a guy pegged by the coaches and fans as a player who'll contribute to the team in 2008. Tavares had hoped to report with the rest of his fellow classmates, but he hit a snag with a pre-requisite class needed for his Associate's Degree. He says he's working hard, and if all remain as it now, he should be reporting before the start of fall camp.

"The class I missed on was a political science class that I need for my AA. I was taking a lot of classes and didn't get to focus on the class. The way the teacher taught the class was hard for me to learn, so I didn't pass it. I'm taking it online and now I understand it pretty well. The class ends the 24th of July so after that I will be heading up to Tallahassee right after. I was told the lowest grade I can get is a D, but I am aiming higher than that. I am going to pass this class."

Tavares says that he is disappointed that he didn't get the grade to get to Florida State early to partake in the summer workouts and 7-on-7's. He says it's not going to deter him from working hard and maintaining his drive to come in ready to play.

"Basically I am going to be doing the same things I've been doing. I'm focused on this class, but I workout every day. I'm going to start to hit it hard before I come there. I'm around 215 pounds right now so I'm making sure my conditioning is ready. Coach Carter and Coach Fisher knew this may happen and knew what I was going through at El Camino. They told me I've got to be ready because they are throwing me in there."

"I'm planning on working out with Chris Johnson (the Titans 1st round pick) and like 6 other D-1 kids to make sure I am in shape and fit for when I get there. I'm not too worried about the on-field stuff because I know I can get it done."

Other than missing the conditioning activities with Coach Stroud, Pressley will be missing a lot of practice learning the plays with his teammates as they work in 7-on-7 drills. While he was in California Tavares watched film and studied plays to get ready for FSU. He says he'll need to work on some things, but he's confident he can make the quick adjustment.

"To be honest it's not going to be hard for me to learn the plays because I played quarterback for so long, so I am able to learn and retain plays pretty easily. I have to mainly working on the pass protection schemes. Running is natural and I've been watching film to get my mind set on what FSU does. At El Camino we ran a lot of the same things, so the adjustment isn't going to be that difficult for me."

Tavares' disappoint is driving him to make this happen so he can realize his dream of playing at Florida State. He told NoleDigest that he isn't going to let all of his hard work go by the wayside now.

"I have to be honest and say I was very, very disappointed in myself. The last couple of weeks at El Camino were tough because I didn't know if I was going to pass that class. All the stuff I went through to get here…I am not going to let it slip away. I wanted to be finished with this JUCO stuff, but it is what it is. I'm moving forward now and getting done what I need to. I have my family here to support me and they are making sure I do what needs to be done. Also, I talk with Corey Surrency all the time. He's going through some things with his mom, so he'll be up at FSU in a week or so. He just told me to keep my head up and make sure I get there. When I get there, I am going to give the coaches and fans what they've been looking for."

Stay tuned to NoleDigest as we track Tavares' progress with his class. It looks like at this time not getting to FSU in the summer is a minor setback, but look for him to come in late July and be a major contributor in 2008.

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