Yesterday Tomahawk Nation covered the Under Armour All-America Game, presented by ESPN. Practices are held at Disney's Wide World Of Sports complex. Matt couldn't make it, so I was joined by "CSI 'Nole", who happens to be a talented photographer as well.
Florida State has six commitments in the Under Armour All-America Game: Bobby Hart, Karlos Williams, Keelin Smith, Nick Waisome, Giorgio Newberry, and Trey Pettis. All but Pettis are in the ESPNU150. I'll talk a little about each kid. I will only go into what I saw today in a three-hour period and will try to avoid making definitive statements on a kid. For more on each recruit, please see the recruiting board.
Bobby Hart- The 6'4" 300' 16-yo had an excellent Saturday and showed flashes on Sunday. Being only 16, Hart is less physically and mentally mature than many of the 18 and 19yos on the roster. There was an NFL offensive line coach out there and he really rode Hart, demanding consistent intensity. Hart did show some nice flashes and you really have to like his build as all his weight is in his hips and legs. He wasn't dominant today, but on one play he quickly got out of his stance, pulled flat, planted as he turned the corner, and sealed the defensive end quite well. I spoke with Hart after practice and he was kind enough to tell me I had pushed the "play" button instead of the "record" button on my recorder. Hart said the toughest guy he faced on the day was Georgia defensive end Xavier Dixon (Hart did handle him in pass pro once, but was also beat another time). He said that he is adjusting to the intensity of the practice and the need to focus on every down in practice. He also said he appreciates the tough coaching and cited a similar mentality in FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett as one of the reasons he chose Florida State. Hart also spoke about how all the FSU prospects are bonding.
One final note on Hart-- those saying he isn't a tackle at the next level are misguided in my opinion. While he isn't likely a left tackle, making a determination of "guard only" at this point is premature because he won't turn 17 until the Oklahoma game! Nobody knows how much Hart will grow during the next two years. Hart has all the makings of a special player.
Giorgio Newberry- The 6'5" 260' Newberry played offensive tackle for most of the day as ESPN felt it was his best position. Newberry is being recruited as a defensive end for Florida State. He seemed more interested in playing defensive end in the reps I saw. Newberry wasn't bad as an offensive tackle, but he's clearly a project at the position. His frame isn't all that wide and I don't see him ending up at tackle. He was better in pass protection than run blocking due to his bulk. The consensus with Newberry is that he is a developmental big-bodied athlete who should be evaluated for his best position after at least one year of development (red shirt).
Trey Pettis- Pettis really surprised me. I had not heard good things about him from those who saw him more than me in his high-school career. I had heard that he wasn't worthy of the invite to the game and only got the call because he plays for nearby Deland HS.
But he held his own. At 6'4" 295', he won't be winning any "best body" contests, but Rick Trickett doesn't run a modeling agency. He is considerably slimmer than he was at one point in his career and in an event where the defensive linemen often have their way with the offensive linemen, Pettis wasn't bad. If a player isn't bad against elite kids, he's probably pretty good. He definitely is an interior lineman at the next level and not a tackle. If Pettis is the weak link in Florida State's excellent offensive line haul, then this line haul is even better than I thought.
Karlos Williams- Williams is perhaps the most physically impressive DB at the event. He has been working with a pro development coach for a long time and it shows. Williams had a pick-six today and looked pretty good. He is a dynamic personality out there. He has great straight-line speed for a kid his size (6'2" 210). I am sure he will be a fine safety, but I still wish he would play receiver. Reminds me of a center fielder in baseball who has great speed but who doesn't see the ball off the bat as well as others. Defensive back requires him to react to the opponent, while receiver allows him to dictate the action and not react.
Keelin Smith- I have always been a big fan of Keelin Smith. He is a very long defensive back at 6'3" 190. He might be 6'2 1/2" but he's definitely not a kid listed at 6'3" who turns up at 6'1". Keelin worked at safety beside Karlos Williams and he moves pretty well out there. If he sticks at corner he will be a big, big corner.
I spoke pretty extensively with Keelin. He said he really likes playing alongside Karlos Williams and echoed Bobby Hart's sentiments that all of the FSU commitments are hanging together. He said he is really learning to back pedal and that his high school played a lot of off-man coverage, which doesn't require the back pedal. While noting that his school played a lot of off-man, Keelin wanted to point out, however, that's not all he can do, saying "but I can jam. Jamming is my thing [extends his really long arms]." He couldn't name the specific offensive player he faced who was the best, saying they were all very good and that he was used to being faster than everyone he faced while at Treasure Coast.
Nick Waisome- I'm not sure Nick Waisome is the best overall corner at the event, but he is clearly the best cover guy there. Anyone who dominates in 7-on-7 format has some serious corner skills, and he didn't disappoint today. Waisome is not 5'10", but he is squarely in the hip pocket of everyone he faces. He had at least one interception today and as we here at Tomahawk Nation said when he committed, he is the perfect smaller corner to compliment the bigger guys FSU is bringing in. Waisome is the only FSU commitment on the red team and there has been a fair amount of trash talking between him and the other five. He indicated that he has been working on his man technique in terms of not yielding the inside leverage to the receiver, and better using his hands and feet to prevent false steps at the line.
Inside, some notes on the underclassmen and some more photos.
Underclassmen Combine Notes
Florida State had several 2012 commitments show well at the morning combine,
Dante Fowler just killed it. He is really something special. Best prospect at the combine. I've said it before, he is like a more athletic version of Everette Brown and should be bigger. Everyone who saw him agreed that he was the consensus top player at the underclassmen combine. Would be shocked if there are ten better kids in the state than him for next season. Good article on him here and he seems to be a very solid 'Nole.
P.J. Williams just a hair shy of 6'1" and was making plays all over. I am a big fan of P.J. Williams.
Meanwhile, several uncommitted kids were impressive.
Marvin Bracy may end up an olympic sprinter one day, but he could be a nice player in Tallahassee in the meantime. Jimbo Fisher likes him and the Orlando Boone HS wide receiver has an early offer.
Earl Moore, a talented defensive tackle from Tampa Hillsborough HS named FSU his leader.
Marcus Maye, an athlete from Trinity in Melbourne (small school) showed up to the afternoon session in an FSU shirt (h/t: Newberg for snapping the picture). He has an early FSU offer.
Additional photos of Bobby Hart