News and Notes: Young Guns Sticking Out

Florida State's season gets underway in just a few short weeks. The Seminoles have been practicing hard preparing for the Labor Day game versus Miami. Some of the most impressive players in camp so far have been the recruits from the 2009 recruiting class. NoleDigest looks at some of those players, as well as looks at some issues as the team gets ready for the season opener.

Florida State's 2009 recruiting class was thought to be one of the best in the nation this past year. When they came in the summer for workouts many stood out in testing and 7-on-7 drills. When camp started and the pads came on several have kept that momentum going as they battle for playing time this fall.

When he came in the summer Jacobbi McDaniel was a little overweight as he was over the 300 pound mark. It didn't take long for the former 5-star recruit to get back into playing shape as he slimmed down to the high 280's. Since camp has started McDaniel has proven to be the best of a talented bunch of freshmen.

While it's clear that McDaniel doesn't have prototypical size for his position it is his brute strength and power that make him difficult to stop. McDaniel really knows have to use leverage and he uses his hands very well. FSU's offensive line is considered to be one of the nation's best, but they are routinely getting beaten by Jacobbi in drills. It seems as though every practice report talks about how Jacobbi goes undefeated in 1-on-1's.

Justin Mincey's injury has allowed McDaniel the opportunity to see more time in the rotation as now he is on the 2-deep for the ‘Noles. Day in and day out Jacobbi continues to prove himself, and each day he earns more reps with the first team.

Entering camp FSU was loaded at the running back spot as they had 5 players that can potentially contribute to this year's rushing attack. Unfortunately the injury bug has hit this group as Tavares Pressley and Ty Jones have battles hamstring injuries and Chris Thompson an ankle injury. The freshman that has taken his chance to shine and ran with it is Lonnie Pryor. Truthfully the success Pryor has had so far shouldn't come as a surprise. He came in as one of the state's best running backs last year, and he fits the running style Jimbo Fisher is looking for.

After getting into playing shape this summer after coming in a little bigger than the coaches wanted Pryor is now a healthy 213 pounds. Pryor didn't blow the doors off the testing this summer as he ran just under a 4.7 40, but when the pads came on and the practices got underway Pryor has shown excellent toughness and game speed. Lonnie has been a tougher runner than expected whose instincts make him a guy who should see time this year.

Early on in camp Greg Reid was adjusting to the college game as he was struggling a little bit against FSU's more experienced wide receivers. Since then, though, Reid has shown that he is as good as advertised. What Greg lacks in size, he more than makes up for in grit and pure coverage ability. While he hasn't picked off too many passes yet Reid is getting his hands on the ball and has been racking up PBU's by the truck load. As NoleDigest stated earlier in the week Reid is among the group battling for the starting spot opposite Patrick Robinson.

JaJuan Harley is back from the heat issues he had early in camp, so look for him to continue to push for early playing time. Dustin Hopkins is the real deal and may have the strongest leg FSU has had since Sebastian Janokowski. If he isn't the guy taking the majority of the kicks this fall we'll be surprised.

Some more news and notes

• FSU has a problem at rover still and with the Miami game 17 days away they have a limited time to get that fixed. Korey Mangum has been hurt, Harley has been out with heat issues, and Terrence Parks has been underperforming. Nick Moody has gotten most of the reps as the starter, but he is making mistakes expected from a guy who hasn't seen the field much since coming to FSU. Coach Andrews has been critical of this group but he does see some potential as long as they realize the role they need to play in his scheme.

• It looks like the punt return duties will be handled by Bert Reed and Greg Reid. Both are the most natural returners on the roster. Look for Greg to make an instant impact here as it has already been stated that many feel he is naturally gifted as a return man.

• We've heard some talk with the injury to Antwane Greenlee that Rodney Hudson could slide over and play some tackle if needed. The injury to Greenlee will allow either John Prior or Garrett Faircloth the chance to contribute early.

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