Fentrell Cypress was split.
His dream and plan revolve around playing football at the next level.
But after a year in Tallahassee and the chance to test the NFL waters, he needed to weigh his options for the best way to get there.
“Just sitting down with parents, talking to them, mentors,” he says of his decision-making process. “What’s best for my future, and my future goal is to get to the NFL, so just being in the best position to achieve that.”
A week before FSU classes opened, he realized what the right answer was.
“The best thing for me to do was come back for another year.”
Even with the page turned to 2024, Cypress mentioned that the end of last season felt difficult — and in returning, he both has a chance to improve his NFL draft stock and finish what he started.
“ ended bitter...we had a great season, but I don’t want to end the last game being at Florida State that way.”
“We got big things ahead this season. Got a lot of good players coming and a lot of players coming back so we are excited.”
In his second year, Cypress knows what he wants to improve upon. Even after finishing fourth on the team in snaps and receiving a respectable 72.9 coverage grade from PFF, he knows his job is not finished.
“Technique and fundamentals. Just showing my versatility and my speed, things of that nature — overall, showing on film consistently that I’m an all-around corner.
He played like one for Florida State last year as he and Renardo Green were the corners and catalysts to spark a change in the Florida State pass defense. After the bottom fell out against Boston College, the secondary did not allow a quarterback to throw over 300 yards for the final ten weeks of the season. They allowed just one touchdown in their last three games before the Orange Bowl and turned out the lights on opposing offenses.
However, the dominant defense will look different next year. To climb to the same heights in 2024, Cypress knows he needs to be an all-around leader — something he pinpointed as a major reason for coming back for another season at FSU.
He says he wants to be “a bit of everything,” as an elder statesman, aiming to be “one of those guys that’s older in the room and having to take more of a leadership role...trying to talk more to [other players], understand what they don’t understand and watch film with them.”
Understanding the transition and acclimation to learn a new system, he hopes to serve as an experienced player for those who are part of another special transfer portal haul for the Seminoles.
“We are excited, and we know that there is a lot of potential that we have in that defensive back room and just as a defense and a team.”
The first step to achieving their goals is in Ireland, where the Seminoles take on Georgia Tech in Week 0. This is unprecedented for FSU as they have never begun their season in Europe. The former All-ACC defensive back wants to balance the enthusiasm for the trip with the focus on off-season workouts.
“I feel like it’s going to be a really good experience. I’ve never been outside the country. I feel like as a team we haven’t talked about it much...As of right now we’re just focused on the offseason work and getting better as a team and closer as a team.”
With the team’s vaunted Tour of Duty offseason workout program coming up, the Seminoles are about to be ten toes deep in the weight room. Becoming “Built by Storms” has become a mark of the Seminoles under Mike Norvell, with hours banked in the offseason aiming to be translated into success when the games are played. With this in mind, Cypress outlined his goals and mindset for the intense off-season program.
“We are going to be there for each other, and we are going to push each other to get through it — we know it’s going to be a hard time, but we are going to get through it.”
As Cypress takes it day-by-day, he wants to cherish every moment in Tallahassee. He returned to school to put the finishing touches on his Seminole legacy and continue the long line of elite NFL DBs.
“The NFL ain’t going nowhere, so I’m just trying to make the best of my time in college and do what I gotta do to get me in the best position going forward.”