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Noles News: FSU adds five preferred walk-ons to 2024 class

Seminoles softball kicks off season tonight

Luke Douglas/Instagram

Recruiting

Florida State added five preferred walk-ons on Wednesday — defensive end William Ross, linebacker Gavin Holman, running back Lazarius Parks, tight end Luke Douglas and wide receiver Willy Suarez.

  • Wide receiver Willy Suarez

Offers: Army, Toledo, Navy, Liberty, Furman, Air Force, Navy, Bucknell

High school: Jesuit High School (Tampa, FL)

What to know: Brought in 65 passes for 1,232 yards and scored 13 touchdowns, while also logging 31 carries for 311 yards and five touchdowns — he was a one-time Army commit who was named Hillsborough County’s best player in 2023, winning a state title with Jesuit in 2021.

From the school:

Suarez capped off a stellar 2023 with new school records in receiving yards in a season (1,232 yards) and kickoff return average (42.5 avg), along with 20 total touchdowns. His 13 receiving touchdowns in a season tied the school record. Suarez went on to earn the Guy Toph Award as Hillsborough County’s Most Outstanding Football Player.

  • Tight end Luke Douglas

High school: Jupiter High School (Jupiter, FL)

Offers: N/A

What to know: This do-it-all athlete (coming in as a tight end) set school records at quarterback, leading his school to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years while also starting on defense at safety — from the Palm Beach Post:

He excelled with 64% of passes (120 for 187) for 2,114 yards and 21 passing touchdowns, adding 12 more scores on 300 rushing yards.

Douglas endeared himself even more to fans in the stands with his toughness as he stayed on the field for every snap on defense at safety. In the backfield, he recorded 21 tackles, 11 solo, and two interceptions for 65 yards. Jupiter finished 9-2 in 4M region quarterfinals, falling in a one-possession heartbreaker.

“He’s a guy you really can’t replace,” Jupiter coach Jason Kradman said, grateful FSU staff “thought highly enough” of Douglas to give him a shot.

Benjamin High football coach Eric Kresser, who coached outgoing Seminoles starting quarterback Jordan Travis and incoming ATH Williams, cosigned the move.

“Guys like Norvell know right away where a kid like Luke fits in when they see him,” Kresser said. “Luke’s body type translates well to the position and it’s easier to slide in there versus quarterback, which is something a lot of guys get started at when they’re younger.”

  • Defensive end William Ross

High school: Stoneman Douglas High School (Parkland, FL)

Offers: Maryland, FIU, Akron

What to know: Ross was a two-way player for Stoneman Douglas, lining up both at defensive end and tight end as well as special teams, scoring on a blocked punt as well as tipping another.

  • Linebacker Gavin Holman

High school: Berkeley Prep (Tampa, FL)

Offers: Penn, Cornell, Brown, Kennesaw State, Eastern Kentucky

What to know: Another state champion, Holman garned offers from Ivy League names and a duo of FCS schools after putting up 89 total tackles with 20.5 tackles for loss, and 12.5 sacks in 2023.

  • Running back Lazarius Parks

High school: Crestview High School (Crestview, FL)

Offers: N/A

What to know: A multi-position, multi-sport player, Parks had 222 rushing yards and 364 receiving yards in 2023 while also playing basketball for Crestview

Football

Another series of Florida State newcomer interviews took place on Wednesday with Defensive lineman Marvin Jones Jr., running back Jaylin Lucas, defensive lineman Sione Lolohea and Running back Kam Davis all taking the podium:

The latest step in Florida State’s legal proceedings against the ACC was made yesterday, with its motion to dismiss the conference’s lawsuit against it being filed.

From Jon Loesche:

The motion cites five reasons why the ACC’s lawsuit should be dismissed

1. The ACC prematurely filed suit before an actual or justiciable controversy arose.

2. The ACC didn’t follow its on bylaws to provide member notice or to obtain the two-thirds vote required by its Constitution to initiate the lawsuit vs. FSU

3. FSU has not waived sovereign immunity and can’t be sued in a North Carolina court

4. The Florida State Board of Trustees never approved the ACC Grant of Right agreement as required by Florida law

5. North Carolina law doesn’t allow for the ACC to impose broad, extra fiduciary duties on its members

The motion goes on to ask that if the lawsuit isn’t outright dismissed to have it stayed until FSU’s own lawsuit vs the ACC in Florida is done.

Basketball

Baseball

Ready for baseball season? Get even more ready by catching Tim Alumbaugh’s conversation with the one and only Brett Nevitt, with the dup taking you through everything you need to know about the 2024 Seminoles:

Softball

The long wait is finally over — No. 4 Florida State softball is set to kick off its season tonight vs. the Charlotte 49ers, the first of a two-game series to start the year for Team 41 as well as the first game of the JoAnne Graf Classic:

FSU will play a doubleheader against Texas Tech and Florida A&M starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Saturday’s games were originally scheduled to begin at 12:30 but were moved to 1 p.m. in respect for the memorial service of legendary FSU baseball coach Mike Martin. FSU will round out the tournament against Florida A&M at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. All games can be seen live on ACCNX.

The Seminoles are coming off a Women’s College World Series National Runner Up finish in 2023 and returns some key experienced players while also adding an exciting freshman class for the 2024 season. FSU returns six All-ACC players from last season and also placed five players on the 14-team Preseason All-ACC Team, the most in the conference. The Seminoles were picked to win the conference by the league’s coaches for the 11th consecutive season. FSU has won 19 ACC Tournament Championships and 14 ACC Regular Season Championships in the program’s history. FSU’s 33 combined conference championships are the most by any team in the country.

FSU returns six out of their top seven hitters from a team in 2023 that posted the program’s highest batting average (.300) since 2019. FSU found great success last season by hitting for extra bases and stealing bases as well. FSU hit a program record 122 doubles in 2023 which was the fifth-most in NCAA history. FSU also stole 134 bases in 153 attempts including Devyn Flaherty who was 31-for-32 on stolen bases in 2023. Flaherty was one of four players in the NCAA last season to steal 30+ bases while only being caught once.

In the circle, FSU will once again use a plethora of pitchers in 2024. Makenna Reid returns as the Seminole who pitched the most innings in 2023 and was a top 10 finalist for the TUCCI/NFCA National Freshman of the Year award. Reid finished 2023 with a perfect 13-0 record and 0.97 ERA in 79.1 innings. Reid was one of three players in the country to finish the season without a loss in the circle and was one of just five players to finish the season with a sub 1.00 ERA. Reid was the first Seminole since Sarah Hamilton in 2009 to finish the season with a sub 1.00 ERA. FSU also returns experience with Allison Royalty, Emma Wilson and Madi Balk while bringing in freshmen pitchers Ashtyn Danley and Mimi Gooden.

— The Seminoles are hosting their 5th annual JoAnne Graf Classic named after legendary coach JoAnne Graf.

— FSU is 21-2 all-time in the JoAnne Graf Classic.

— Coach Graf coached the Seminoles for 30 seasons and recorded 1,437 victories.

— Graf was a six-time ACC Coach of the Year and helped the Noles to seven Women’s College World Series appearances.

— Graf picked up 10 ACC titles and led the Seminoles to back-to-back AIAW National Championships in 1981 and 1982.

— Coach Graf retired on June 15, 2008. Coach Graf will be throwing out the first pitch before Thursday’s game against Charlotte.

— There will be some familiar faces at The Plex this weekend as the Texas Tech Red Raiders boast several staff members with FSU ties.

— Red Raider Head Coach Craig Snider was an assistant coach at FSU from 2011-19 and helped the Seminoles to a National Championship in 2018.

— Red Raider assistant coach Morgan Klaevemann is a former Seminole who graduated in 2018. Klaevemann was a three-time First Team All-ACC honoree and earned Second Team All-America status in 2018.

— Bryce Te Kulve is now an assistant coach at Texas Tech after spending the last two seasons in Tallahassee as a graduate assistant.

— Pete Suarez is now the Director of Operations at Texas Tech and is a former manager for Seminole Softball.

All Sports

A major nod for NWSL Rookie of the Year and national champion Jenna Nighswonger, who has been named to the US Women’s National Team CONCAF roster, as well as Casey Krueger, who played for FSU from 2008-2012 and was part of the USWNT at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:

No.12/NR Florida State indoor track and field will compete in the throwing events at the Florida Last Chance Invite in Gainesville, the distance group will compete at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston and the jump and sprint groups will head to the Tiger Paw invitational in Clemson, South Carolina:

Last Time Out: David Mullarkey had a breakout performance at the John Thomas Terrier Classic in Boston where he set the FSU record in the men’s 3,000 at 7:42.89 on Jan. 26. He was named the ACC Performer of the Week following the race.

Dajaz DeFrand led the Noles at the Lenny Lyles Invitational on Jan. 26 in Louisville, Kentucky with two victories, taking the 200 (23.24) and the 60 (7.20). DeFrand also picked up two meet records and is currently ranked first in the ACC in both events.

Jeremiah Davis competed at the Bob Pollock Invitational at Clemson earning a first-place finish in the men’s triple jump at 16.25m on Jan. 25. His mark is ranked second in the ACC.

Andre Korbmacher represented the Noles at the Indoor Grand Prix in Boston in the men’s 60 hurdles. As the only collegiate athlete in the field, Korbmacher established a new personal best in the preliminary round at 7.69. In finals, he lowered that mark, crossing the line at 7.67.

His time is the sixth-fastest in FSU history and currently stands first in the ACC and fifth in the nation.

No. 12 Florida State men’s golf will compete in its first team tournament of the season starting today, taking part in he Amer Ari Invitational at Mauna Lani North Course in Waimea, Hawaii:

A 20-team field includes nine Top 25 teams. The ranked programs are No. 1 Auburn, No. 2 UNC, No. 4 Washington, No. 7 Arizona State, No. 11 Georgia Tech, No. 12 FSU, No. 16 Texas, No. 18 Oregon and No. 22 Texas Tech.

Florida State’s lineup is freshman Tyler Weaver, redshirt senior Cole Anderson, sophomore Luke Clanton, senior Frederik Kjettrup and sophomore Jack Bigham. Junior Michael Mays will play as FSU’s individual.

Kjettrup led the Seminoles with a 68.75 scoring average in the fall season, garnering two Top 10 finishes in two tournaments played. Clanton played in all five of FSU’s fall tournaments and had a 70.92 scoring average, including two Top 10 finishes.