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Summer Newcomers: Interviewing class of 2021’s early enrollees

Senior players bring leadership.

Chief Osceola and Renegade

Sixty days. Sixty days until the Florida State Seminoles kick off with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday, September 5th in Doak Campbell Stadium. While we’re waiting on that glorious day in September, Florida State held its first virtual media availability for some of the early summer newcomers on July, 7th. Shyheim Brown, Shambre Jackson, Patrick Payton, Byron Turner Jr. and George Wilson- all defensive players- were on the docket.

One thing that seemed to resonate with all the players interviewed is that FSU’s current roster is helping the newcomers acclimate to campus and the program. This demonstrates a shift in the locker room towards positive leadership.

Defensive lineman Shambre Jackson expects the grind and loves it. When asked about the message senior players are giving, he said “The older players are telling us: ‘stay positive and stay focused. You can do this. You can make it back. Always stay positive on the grind, work hard and to make it how FSU was great back then. It will all pay off.’”

While trusting defensive coordinator Adam Fuller to put him at whatever position that they need him to play, Patrick Payton feels most comfortable on the outside playing the outside linebacker role or defensive end. Payton is also putting in the work in the weight room, adding 10-15 pounds since his arrival and expecting to be at 230 to 235 pounds when the season starts.

Another common theme throughout the interviews was how players feel about the new name, image and likeness guidelines released earlier this month.

“Right now it’s not really about that, it’s about getting better. I have to get adjusted to the game, getting faster, getting stronger. I have to get way better than [I was] when I came in.” Payton said.

Byron Turner reiterated the same feelings— “Right now I'm not really focused on that. My main focus is just getting on the field and being able to play this year. NIL is gonna come whenever it comes.“

Turner said strength and conditioning coach Josh Storms has helped him out a lot in the weight room, getting him towards his goal of weighing 250 to 255 pounds and that he is close to that goal right now.

George Wilson is over 200 pounds from his original weight of 189 pounds. He praised the FSU strength and conditioning program, saying “it’s been an intense everything for me, I haven't been in this type of environment before—but it’s intense out there and everyone is out there excited and with me. I love it.”

With senior leadership stepping up and a bunch of hungry new arrivals grinding it in the weight room, the locker room has gotten it’s 1 percent better so far over the summer.

Full video and audio of the interviews can be found here.