The first Florida State spring practice under new head coach Willie Taggart has seen a culture shift in Tallahassee.
Gone are the yelling and screaming at practice, replaced by music and dancing. The tension in the air is nonexistent and both players and coaches are more lighthearted and relaxed.
This year’s Garnet and Gold spring game looks to be no different.
With one week of practice left until the spring game kicks off, the team held a draft to determine the Garnet and Gold squads for the game.
Unlike the serious and stoic NFL Draft, music was blaring and several players livestreamed the festivities on social media. With several players not participating due to injuries, the entire roster was not made available for the draft. Notable omissions from the draft included QB Deondre Francois and WR Nyqwan Murray.
The Gold team started off the draft with a surprising move, selecting redshirt senior center Corey Martinez with the first overall pick. From there, the draft proceeded in a snake fashion with the Garnet team selecting two players, Gold taking two more, etc.
The complete draft can be seen below.
2018 Garnet and Gold Spring Game Draft
|Gold Team||Garnet Team|
|Gold Team||Garnet Team|
|OL Corey Martinez||OL Derrick Kelly|
|OL Josh Ball||OL Landon Dickerson|
|OL Abdul Bello||DB Stanford Samuels|
|DL Fred Jones||OL Brady Scott|
|DL Cory Durden||QB Bailey Hockman|
|OL Andrew Basham||LB Dontavious Jackson|
|LB Leonard Warner||DL Janarius Robinson|
|OL Christian Armstrong||OL Mike Arnold|
|DL Walvenski Aime||DB Kyle Meyers|
|DB Jaiden Woodbey||DB Levonta Taylor|
|WR Keith Gavin||WR Tamorrion Terry|
|DB Cyrus Fagan||DL Cedric Wood|
|DB A.J. Westbrook||LB DeCalon Brooks|
|DB Isaiah Prouse-Lackey||DB Hamsah Nasirildeen|
|TE Tre' McKitty||DL Tre Lawson|
|RB Jacques Patrick||WR Ontaria Wilson|
|WR Deonte Sheffield||RB Cam Akers|
|RB Amir Rasul||DL Ja'Len Parks|
|QB James Blackman*||DL Demarcus Christmas*|
|DL Brian Burns*||WR D.J. Matthews*|
With Francois sidelined as he continues to recover from his knee injury, the spring game will feature second-year quarterbacks James Blackman and Bailey Hockman battling for their shot at the starting job.
Hockman will have the luxury of having Cam Akers in the backfield, as well as Landon Dickerson and Derrick Kelly up front to protect him. The redshirt freshman quarterback will also have D.J. Matthews and Tamorrion Terry at receiver for the Garnet team.
On the other hand, Blackman will have a pair of veteran skill players to work with in Jacques Patrick, Keith Gavin, and Amir Rasul. The Gold team will arguably feature the better defensive line as well, with blue-chip players like Fred Jones, Cory Durden, Walvenski Aime and Brian Burns.
But the most interesting person on the field will not be a player, but rather Taggart himself. How will he evaluate the quarterbacks? Will he call plays, or will he designate offensive coordinator Walt Bell to handle the offenses? Will he be a psuedo referee at times, much like Jimbo Fisher did, in order to put his players in difficult situations?
We will have to wait until the spring game on April 14th to find out.