As Florida State kicked off its first observe for the Cheez-It Bowl final week, Mike Norvell wished to guarantee his gamers that they needn’t fear about making any rapid selections on their futures. As it turned out, the third-year Seminoles coach had nothing to fret about.
“I talked to the players and said, ‘Hey, just so you know, you don’t have to go and make any decision,’” Norvell recalled. “Twenty minutes later, I’m taking a look at my cellphone, and we have now a few gamers already, ‘I’m enjoying on this sport. This is it.’
“The great thing is there was no convincing that needed to be made.”
Defensive finish Jared Verse and security Jammie Robinson, each thought-about NFL prospects, shocked some after they introduced their dedication to enjoying within the Dec. 29 bowl sport instantly after observe. As it seems, it wasn’t a lot of a call for each gamers.
“One time in the locker room, we walked past each other and he was like, ‘Are you playing in the bowl game?’ and I said, ‘Yeah,’ and he said, ‘Me, too,’” Verse stated about his dialog with Robinson.
In a day and age when increasingly faculty gamers select to choose out of bowl video games to arrange for his or her NFL futures or enter the switch portal, Florida State’s state of affairs is considerably distinctive. The Seminoles will discipline virtually their total roster from the season, besides cornerback Sam McCall, sort out Lloyd Willis and defensive linemen Shambre Jackson and George Wilson Jr.
FSU’s opponent, Oklahoma, has 5 starters opting out of the sport, together with tackles Wanya Morris (NFL) and Anton Harrison (NFL), operating again Eric Gray (NFL), receiver Theo Wease (switch) and defensive lineman Jalen Redmond (NFL). The Sooners additionally shall be with out backup linebackers Joseph Wete (switch) and Clayton Smith (switch), quarterback Nick Evers (switch), receiver Trevon West (switch) and cornerbacks Joshua Eaton (switch) and Kendall Dennis (switch).
Much of Florida State’s turnaround this season might be attributed to the kind of gamers whom Norvell and his teaching workers have assembled on this roster. It’s one thing that’s taken three seasons to repay and it’s carried over into the postseason.
“Right after the Clemson week, I started realizing how special this group was, specifically on the offensive line, specifically on the offensive side of the ball,” stated redshirt senior guard Dillan Gibbons. “I just wanted one more game, one more experience with this group of guys.”
Added quarterback Jordan Travis: “We owe it to this university. Florida State gives us everything. We are blessed every day we get to wake up a Seminole and know how far we’ve come as a football team. Nobody wants to leave anybody behind.”
Travis is amongst a gaggle of starters, together with operating again Trey Benson, receiver Mycah Pittman, offensive linemen Maurice Smith and Robert Scott and linebacker Tatum Bethune, who have already got dedicated to returning subsequent season, easing the minds of the teaching workers and creating untold optimism within the fan base for what could possibly be attainable in 2023.
“We have a special group of guys with very special individual pieces,” Gibbons stated. “It is great to go out there and play another game, but I am looking forward to fist-pumping the guy to my right and left and going out there and sacrificing for each other.”
Verse, a first-time All-ACC choice after totaling 14.5 tackles for loss and seven.5 sacks in his first season, isn’t shocked that his teammates wouldn’t wish to move up enjoying within the bowl sport.
“Jammie, Fabien [Lovett] and me … everybody is like if they’re able to play, they’re going to play. That’s just the type of player coach Norvell brought in,” defined Verse. “Here is just special — you want to play more.”
Norvell additionally credit the gamers for his or her unselfishness.
“These guys, they love playing the game, and they love playing and getting a chance to represent each other,” he stated. “It’s always about them, and that is what has been so nice because this team is excited to play.”
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Matt Murschel at [email protected] or comply with him on Twitter at @osmattmurschel.