Florida State newcomers are continuing to acclimate to Tallahassee as the offseason marches on, with one of the first checkpoints for freshmen and transfer portal arrivals alike being their first media availability sessions.
On Tuesday, linebacker Blake Nichelson and defensive backs Edwin Joseph, Conrad Hussey and Ja’Bril Rawls took their turns at the podium to touch on their first days on campus at Florida State, what their mindsets are heading into the 2023 season and what drew them to the Seminoles in the first place.
“When I came out here for a game [vs. Clemson]...I knew right there and then it was different at Florida State,” Nichelson said, reflecting on the uptick in emotion he saw in the crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium vs. what he’d seen on the West Coast.
“I’m very excited to be a part of that environment.”
Hussey dove into some of the details around his Early Signing Period flip from the Penn State Nittany Lions to the Seminoles, ultimately saying that FSU was his “dream school” — especially when considering his aunt went to the university.
“It was a very emotional decision, well thought through, thinking, praying to God about it almost every day,” he said.
“This school runs in my family blood...I just want to continue that legacy. We’re FSU die-hard fans so it was just crazy that I could come to my dream school.”
Linebacker Blake Nichelson
Consensus four-star recruit…rated as No. 9 overall prospect in California, No. 131 overall nationally and country’s No. 10 linebacker by 247Sports…ranked 13th overall in state, No. 20 among nation’s linebackers and No. 202 overall nationally by On3…ranked as California’s 14th-best prospect and No. 17 outside linebacker nationally by ESPN…197th in ESPN300…rated 24th nationally among outside linebackers and 27th among California’s prospects by Rivals…contributed on offense and defense at Manteca…recorded 93 tackles, including 11.5 sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles…added 431 carries for 4,078 yards and 65 touchdowns plus 52 receptions for 1,231 yards and 22 touchdowns…named to MaxPreps All Sac-Joaquin Section Team after leading Buffaloes to 11-2 record and regional final round of CIF Division 1-A playoffs his senior year…rushed for 1,719 yards and 27 touchdowns, caught 29 passes for 703 yards and 14 touchdowns and made 44 tackles, 6.5 for loss with 4.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and six pass breakups…helped Manteca to Division 3 title his junior season after rushing for 2,231 yards and 36 touchdowns, catching 19 passes for 381 yards and seven touchdowns and recording 49 tackles, 18.0 for loss with 7.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Defensive back Edwin Joseph
Four-star prospect ranked as No. 10 athlete nationally and No. 49 overall prospect from Florida by On3…ranked 11th nationally among athletes and 43rd overall in Florida by Rivals…ranked as No. 24 athlete and No. 74 prospect from Florida by 247Sports…starred on both sides of ball at Chaminade-Madonna Prep, helping Lions win back-to-back state championships…2022 Nat Moore Trophy finalist after catching 40 passes for 661 yards and eight touchdowns, making 19 tackles, 2.0 for loss, two interceptions and nine pass breakups during 1M state championship season…made 36 receptions for 553 yards and four touchdowns while helping Lions win 3A state title his junior year…had 13 catches for 127 yards and one touchdown during sophomore season as Chaminade-Madonna played for 3A state title in Doak Campbell Stadium.
Defensive back Conrad Hussey
Four-star recruit ranked as nation’s No. 11 safety prospect, No. 38 in Florida and No. 164 overall in the country by 247Sports…rated 16th at his position, 44th in Florida and 215th in Class of 2023 by On3…tabbed 41st in state by Rivals…ranked 28th among nation’s safeties and 86th among all Florida prospects by ESPN…earned all-county recognition after junior campaign…recorded 29 tackles, three interceptions, one forced fumble and five pass breakups during perfect 14-0 senior season helping lead St. Thomas Aquinas to 3M state championship…grabbed interception in state title game…made 26 tackles, four interceptions and returned blocked field goal for touchdown as Raiders won 7A state championship in 2021…also competed in track and field at St. Thomas Aquinas, clocking 10.90 in 100, 23.05 in 200 and 21’2” in long jump.
Defensive back Ja’Bril Rawls
Made impact on offense, defense and special teams in three seasons at Pensacola Catholic…ranked as No. 45 safety in the country and Florida’s No. 75 overall prospect by On3…rated nation’s No. 48 cornerback prospect and No. 89 overall in Florida by 247Sports…recorded 1,555 all-purpose yards, 98 tackles, 3.0 for loss, six interceptions, seven pass breakups, one forced fumble, three punt return touchdowns and two kickoff return touchdowns…helped lead Crusaders to 10 wins and regional semifinal round of 2S state playoffs his senior year…played in all 12 games and registered 43 tackles, four interceptions and one forced fumble along with 25 catches for 456 yards and seven touchdowns while scoring two kickoff return touchdowns and one punt return touchdown…played eight games during junior campaign and recorded 36 tackles, 1.0 for loss, two interceptions, two pass breakups, 12 catches for 146 receiving yards and two touchdowns while averaging 25.2 yards per punt return with two touchdowns…made 16 tackles, caught seven passes for 88 yards and averaged 42.0 yards on three kickoff returns as Catholic advanced to 3A regional semifinal his sophomore season.