Florida State sources have said ever since Josh Sweat signed that they would be very cautious with his rehab and reintroduction to football after he tore an ACL and dislocated his kneecap. The former No. 1 overall recruit in the country (pre-injury early in his senior season of high school) has a surefire NFL future if he is able to bounce back from such a serious injury and regain his athleticism.
My FSU sources did not expect Sweat to make any sort of significant impact in 2015. This is a player who was on a motorized scooter during his visit to Tallahassee in late November. He is a player who already needed to put on weight, particularly in the lower half, and has now missed a whole year of leg training. And the idea of a redshirt was absolutely not dismissed. And they worried about how outsiders would put unrealistic expectations on the former 5-star defensive end during Year 1.
But Josh Sweat is ahead of schedule. Perhaps way ahead of schedule.
"Everybody is different in the way they heal, and he's one of those freaky guys," Jimbo Fisher said. "I didn't think he'd be doing what he's doing right now."
Still, Fisher is not ready to put a timetable on when Sweat might be able to actually play in a game. The training staff is diligently monitoring Sweat's knee after each practice, making sure he doesn't have any setbacks.
And working in limited practice is still a lot different from playing in an actual game. Sweat isn't having to fend off any cutblock attempts from tackles in quick game or from running backs in pass protection diving at his knees as he screams into the backfield.
But Florida State has an early-season schedule that seems designed to have Sweat ease back into things, as the Seminoles only play one potentially lose-able game in their first four, judging by the early Vegas odds.
It's not unthinkable that if Sweat keeps progressing like he has in the past few weeks as he has hit his stride, that he could provide some fresh legs in pass rushing situations down the stretch of the season.
More Fisher on Sweat:
"You saw the power. Guys, I'm telling you now that guy is so strong. He's 237 pounds and doesn't look it. It looks like he's about 220 - but everything on him is just so (strong). He's just so powerful. He can hit and bend and he's got burst and can run. We've got to be careful. We can't let him overload because that was a serious knee injury and it's not (been) quite a year but we keep giving him more and more and throwing him in there and you see why we recruited him."