Jacksonville First Coast is an important pipeline of talent for FSU. FSU has 3 former First Coast players currently on the roster (Jermaine Thomas, Nigel Carr, Avis Commack), and 2 verbal commitments for the 2011 recruiting class (Eric Beverly, Derrick Mitchell). Not to mention 2012 prospects, Shaq Beverly and Chris Black, who I would assume have FSU high on their list of schools to continue their football careers at the collegiate level. First Coast has pumped out a lot of talent the last few years and FSU has benefitted the most from it. That being said, this has been an offseason to forget for former and current Jacksonville First Coast stars that are current and/or future ‘Noles.
JermaineThomas is the ‘Noles returning leading rusher at RB. Thomas got off to a slow start last season, but turned it up in the last two thirds of the season after a behind the scenes coaching change. Thomas averaged 5.10 ypc last year as a sophomore, and was expected to be the starter at RB for new RB coach and recruiting wiz Eddie Gran. When we first hired Gran, I felt a little worried for JT because he does not run like a typical Eddie Gran RB. JT is a 1-C runner with a little wiggle like Gran likes, but he does not run low nor does he finish runs the way Gran likes. I figured he would have somewhat of a steeper adjustment curve to his new position coach than the rest of the backs because of this. Thomas entered the spring as the projected #1 RB, but left the spring 2nd on the depth chart behind sophomore Chris Thompson. Not only is Thomas no longer the starter at RB, he is not even the clear cut #2 RB, as he is the co-#2 with classmate Ty Jones. I cannot say I am surprised by this turn of events, but I am somewhat disappointed. Obviously, JT will still get his share of carries because Jimbo seems to prefer a stable of good RBs over a single workhorse to carry the load when he has a stable at his disposal. JT still has a chance to take his spot back with training camp right around the corner. Hopefully, for his sake, he enters camp more motivated than ever to get his spot back or he could end up further down the depth chart with senior Tavares Pressley breathing down his neck. To go from starter one year, to 4th on the depth chart the next, would symbolize a dramatic fall from grace for the former First Coast standout (which has happened before with former Fisher RBs).
Former First Coast 3* WR Avis Commack was a player I looked forward to seeing develop in Jimbo's system with his 6'4" 182 lb. frame coming out of high school. Big WRs thrived in Jimbo's offenses at his previous programs, and I thought/hoped Avis would be next in line to follow suit. Not only has Avis not been able to thrive in Jimbo's offense, he has found it difficult to even find playing time here at FSU. Commack played in 5 games as a true freshman, and did not record a single reception (~2 dropped passes). Last season, he played in only 2 games and did not record a reception either. This means, Commack has played in only 7 games in 2 seasons, and has yet to record a single reception in his college football career. Not even in mop up duty. In an attempt to salvage Commack's career, coach Fisher moved Commack to DB this offseason. Commack is an intriguing prospect in new defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' zone-based scheme because of his frame. Unfortunately, Commack suffered a broken femur during track practice, which has delayed the move to his new position and Commack's subsequent development. I am not sure where Avis is at as far as rehab, but for his sake, I hope he can contribute sooner rather than later because FSU is in line to bring in a top 5 DB class for the 2011 recruiting cycle. Avis will only be one year ahead of the incoming recruits as far as scheme knowledge is concerned. Odds are, if he is not 1 year ahead as far as scheme experience is concerned, he may be the next in a recent line of Seminoles headed to North Alabama to play for Terry Bowden.
Nigel Carr. Man oh man. Nigel Carr. Sigh. It was always fun to watch former First Coast LB Nigel Carr get amped up for every little play made by one of his teammates, whether he was on the field or not. He seemed to genuinely enjoy the game of football. All people were waiting for was for him to translate that energy into being a more productive player on the field. I, like many fellow Seminoles fans, expected a lot from Mr. Carr this upcoming season. There were multiple reports from Christian Ponder, Everett Dawkins, and Tomahawknation's head honcho Bud Elliot that lead many to believe Carr was headed in the right direction and finally starting to become the player that many expected him to be coming out of high school. It was reported that Carr was expecting a child, and had changed his attitude on & off the field. He gained 9 pounds in 50 days post-spring. He was on a roll. All of that momentum came to a crashing hault on July 26, 2010. On this date, as reported by Tomahawknation's SWFLNole, Carr was arrested by the Tallahassee Police Department on the following charges:
· BURGL OF STRUCTURE CONVEYANCE UNARMED WO PERS INSIDE (2 Counts)
- DAMAGE PROP-CRIM MISCH 200 DOLLARS AND UNDER
- FRAUD-IMPERSON USE/POSS ID OF ANOTHER PERSON WO CONSENT
- THEFT OF CREDIT CARD
Not only did Carr receive the charges mentioned, but he is also a suspect in another burglary which occurred a day earlier. This is definitely not a good look. This has been a relatively quiet offseason as far as off the field legal issues go for the ‘Noles (Ed I. is the only other arrest I know of), but everyone seemed to have a "it's too good to be true" feeling. It just so happens that the player to get arrested was a projected starter and former First Coast player. Even though when recently answering a series of questions about Carr, Jimbo stated he was not the starter out of spring, according to the released post-spring depth chart, Carr was indeed the listed starter at SLB ahead of senior Mister Alexander. Carr is now indefinitely suspended, and his career at FSU is now in jeopardy. I just want to ask Nigel one question: Why? You had finally earned a spot in the starting lineup, this is a big year for your future prospectus as an NFL player, you have a child on the way (or had a child), and yet you do this? Why? I wish the best for Nigel Carr, and his family. Hopefully, for his sake, this is the wakeup call he needs to truly turn his life around (as if the other things previously mentioned were not enough).
In conclusion, this has been a terrible offseason for First Coast FSU players. Eric Beverly has not even put on the G&G uniform yet, and has had an offseason to forget (torn ACL, at LEAST a 6 month rehab). There has just been a series of unfortunate events almost across the board. If any type of bad news breaks about Derrick Mitchell, I will give up on calling it unfortunate events or bad luck and go ahead and say someone has cast a spell on the First Coast-FSU pipeline (Urban Meyer?). That being said, all of the First Coast players have an opportunity to redeem themselves. Thomas is still in the hunt at RB, Commack has a chance to salvage his career at DB, and Carr may still be able to play if the legal process turns in his favor (although I doubt he will start this year unless there are injuries if he is indeed re-instated). All is not lost...yet.