It was one of the bright spots of Mike Norvell’s first full recruiting class at Florida State, and he brought it up repeatedly when talking about the 2021 signees.
A handful of recruits who became Seminoles last winter played in high school for former FSU football players-turned-coaches. It’s a trend that Norvell would love to see continue, both because it strengthens the legacy of the program and because those young players are learning from alumni who understand the Seminoles’ program.
Based on FSU’s first summer camps this June, there will be plenty more of those opportunities in the future.
Several former Florida State players were on hand this past weekend for Norvell’s “Mega Camp,” which featured more than 50 college recruiters from around the country, and they brought with them a number of high school players under their tutelage.
“I love it,” said former FSU wide receiver Greg Carr, who is currently the head coach at his alma mater, North Marion High. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids, and just something that gives kids an opportunity to get more exposure. … I think it’s something great for the kids and a great look for Florida State as well.”
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Carr brought seven players with him to Tallahassee this past weekend. The camp was actually conducted on the former intramural fields, near College Town, with Doak Campbell Stadium serving as a backdrop to the festivities.
Carr could’ve pointed to that backdrop and told his players about all the touchdowns he scored there, but he was much more concerned with his players getting exposure and learning under Norvell and his staff.
“It’s a passionate group that’s willing to do what it takes,” Carr said of the Seminoles’ new coaching staff. “Coach Norvell, I love what he’s doing here and what he’s got going on. It’s a very promising future for Florida State.”
Former Seminole offensive lineman Dumaka Atkins, who is an assistant principal at Suncoast School for Innovative Studies and an assistant coach at Palmetto High School, also brought some players to the camp.
Atkins marveled at the changes to FSU’s campus since his playing days in the mid-2000s, and he also had strong praise for Norvell’s staff.
“I chopped it up with Coach Atkins (offensive line coach Alex Atkins),” he said. “I’ve got a son named Alex Atkins. So, we took a picture. That was cool. They all seem enjoyable but intentional. I like the way they moved around. They had people (recruits) on their short list, but they also had (an eye on others).
“I liked it.”
Aaron Jones, a former FSU defensive lineman who also played in the mid-2000s, has been training football players in the Orlando area since 2014. His company is called Trenchmen Academy, and he works primarily with defensive linemen.
This past weekend, Jones made sure to bring a few of those “trenchmen” to his old stomping grounds.
“It was good seeing Odell (Haggins, FSU’s defensive tackles coach) getting after it, still yelling at the guys,” Jones said with a laugh. “He’s still got the juice, man. So, it was good seeing Odell. I’ve been talking to Odell frequently as well; he’s been looking at some of the guys that I have, that I train.”
It was more than just Haggins though.
Jones was a big fan of the entire camp, and the opportunity it gives prospects from all over the state.
“This is huge,” he said. “With me being in the game of (coaching) a lot of young men who are hungry to get into college, the next level … this is an opportunity to get in front of a coach and show that coach that they deserve that opportunity.
“You’ve got all these colleges out here. And you might not impress Florida State, but you might impress Arkansas State. So, it’s an opportunity that you get to go to school based on work ethic and what they get to see physically.”
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