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FSU welcomes 23 early signees as part of 2023 class: Bios, interviews, Norvell transcript

“There is a lot of excitement and joy of the team that we’re going to be able to put together”

UPDATE: FSU has added four-star defensive back Conrad Hussey as part of its 2023 recruiting class.

From Florida State:

The Sunrise, Florida, native who played at St. Thomas Aquinas High School is the 23rd member of FSU’s class.

“Conrad is one of the best players in the country,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “He’s a dynamic playmaker with great versatility who can be productive at a variety of positions in our secondary. He was a top target for us throughout the recruiting process, and we are happy to keep him home.”

Conrad Hussey | DB | 6-0 | 190 | Sunrise, Fla. | St. Thomas Aquinas High School

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.

The Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell and his assistants spoke with the media today following the first day of early signing period, which opened on December 21. FSU added 22 players on Wednesday, including 11 four or 5-star players and the No. 1 transfer prospect at tight end and the No. 1 offensive tackle according to

“That’s been one of the biggest transformations,” Norvell said when he spoke about the development of the offensive line in which they’ve added five total and expect more. “When you look at these guys come in, they all have their own unique skillset in what they bring.”

Composite 5-star wide receiver Hykeem Williams was the diamond on top of Tribe ‘23 for ESD, which added 22 high school and transfer commits. “He’s such a unique young man and player; his size and speed combination for someone that is a senior in high school it’s ridiculous; it's remarkable the potential.” Norvell said, “He is just such a quality person... when you talk about fit (it is) Hykeem Williams.”

FSU was able to fill in major positions of need through the transfer portal, and adding tight ends, Kyle Morlock, and Jaheim Bell were brought in to help close the gap.

“When you look at the versatility, the explosiveness, the experience that Kyle and Jaheim bring to our program, it was huge. They’re both playmakers, but they’re both different about what they do.”

On defense, six-foot-three defensive lineman KJ Sampson and legacy commit Lamont Green Jr. was added to help fill outgoing positions.

“Legacy kid, I told him throughout the process. I mean, Lamont is remarkable, but this is all about Boots; you see a young man with such drive and determination; whether it’s on the practice fields, whether in the classroom, he is going to do it to the best.”

“You look at that group KJ (Sampson) defensive player of the year there in North Carolina — such a great young man, his explosiveness, his versatility, playmaking ability. I’m definitely excited about him.”

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.The following student-athletes have signed with Florida State:

Florida State’s Signing Class currently features

· 11 four- or five-star high school recruits

· Eight signees ranked in the top-25 nationally at their position

· No. 1 tight end (No. 8 overall) and No. 1 offensive tackle (No. 22 overall) on 247Sports transfer rankings

· Transfers have combined to appear in 187 games with 107 starts at the collegiate level

Jaheim Bell | TE | 6-3 | 230 | Lake City, Fla. | Valdosta High School (Ga.)/South Carolina

No. 1 tight end and No. 8 overall player in 247Sports transfer ratings…played in 30 games with 11 starts in three seasons at South Carolina…made 56 catches for 757 yards and seven touchdowns…added 80 rushing attempts for 301 yards and three touchdowns…holds top-two tight end receiving yards totals in South Carolina history with career-high 159 vs. North Carolina and 136 vs. Vanderbilt…was named to Associated Press All-Bowl Team after making a career-high five receptions for 159 yards and career-high two touchdowns in 2021 Duke’s Mayo Bowl…scored on 69-yard and 66-yard catches on South Carolina’s first two possessions of 38-21 victory…recorded 25 receptions for 231 yards and two touchdowns while adding 261 yards and three touchdowns on 73 rushing attempts, appearing in 12 games with six starts in 2022…rushing yards total ranked second among Gamecocks and receiving yards total was third on team…caught career-high-tying two touchdowns and rushed for career-best 82 yards in 63-38 win vs. No. 5 Tennessee…appeared in all 13 games with five starts, recording 30 catches for 497 yards and five receiving touchdowns in 2021…touchdowns total tied for most on team, while receptions and receiving yards totals were second…made career-long 82-yard touchdown grab as part of career-best six receptions for 136 yards vs. Vanderbilt…also had 22-yard kickoff return vs. Commodores…saw action in five games his true freshman season and made one catch for 29 yards at Ole Miss…named to 2021 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll and 2020 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll…ranked as 17th-best athlete nationally in Class of 2020 by 247Sports Composite…accounted for more than 1,000 all-purpose yards between junior and senior seasons before injury cut short his final year…made 52 receptions for 770 yards and one touchdown and added 60 yards and two touchdowns rushing while helping lead Wildcats to quarterfinal round of 2018 AAAAAA state playoffs…teammates at Valdosta with current FSU quarterback Tate Rodemaker.

Jeremiah Byers | OL | 6-4 | 330 | Austin, Texas | L.C. Anderson High School/UTEP

No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 19 overall player in 247Sports transfer ratings…appeared in 33 games with 30 starts at right tackle in four seasons at UTEP…rated as four-star transfer by On3…earned first-team All-Conference USA honors in 2022 blocking for offense that produced six 400-yard games and four times topped 200 yards rushing…UTEP led CUSA and ranked No. 5 nationally in time of possession and posted conference’s third-lowest tackles for loss allowed average…started all 13 games in 2021 and earned honorable mention all-conference honors…blocked for Miner offense that had nation’s third-highest average yards per completion, ranked 18th nationally in time of possession and 21st in sacks allowed…named to Conference USA All-Freshman Team after appearing in six games with three starts in 2020 and helping Miners rank 16th nationally in time of possession and post nation’s 17th-best tackles for loss allowed average…made two starts at right tackle and redshirted 2019 season…played defensive line at L.C. Anderson, totaling 74 tackles with 9.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception…also played basketball in high school.

Brock Glenn | QB | 6-2 | 200 | Covington, Tenn. | Lausanne Collegiate School

Four-star prospect ranked as No. 13 quarterback nationally and No. 7 overall prospect in Tennessee by 247Sports…rated as country’s 15th-highest quarterback prospect by Rivals, 17th by ESPN and 25th by On3…made Elite 11 Finals in summer of 2022…accounted for more than 4,500 yards of total offense and 68 touchdowns during prep career…passed for 3,928 yards and 57 touchdowns with only 13 interceptions and added 654 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns…led Lausanne to eight wins and advanced to quarterfinal round of Tennessee High School Division II Class AA playoffs his senior season…was 74-of-126 passing for 1,413 yards and 18 touchdowns and added 443 rushing yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 9.8 yards per carry…led Lynx to semifinal round of state playoffs and nine wins in 2021…completed 97 of 155 passes for 1,576 yards and 23 touchdowns…also rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries…played six games his sophomore year, passing for 912 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushing for 28 yards on 12 carries…was 1-of-1 passing for 27 yards and rushed for 22 yards in one appearance as a freshman.

Lamont Green Jr. | DL | 6-4 | 230 | Miami, Fla. | Gulliver Prep

Consensus four-star prospect…ranked 189th nationally by On3, 250th in 247Sports Composite and 273rd in ESPN300…ranked 22nd nationally among edge defenders and 38th overall in Florida by On3…rated as No. 38 edge defender in the country and 57th overall in Florida by 247Sports…rated as nation’s No. 26 weakside defensive end and Florida’s No. 72 overall prospect by Rivals…ranked 43rd among country’s defensive ends and 62nd overall in Florida by ESPN…recorded 61 tackles, including 29.0 for loss with 20.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one blocked field goal in eight games his senior year…registered 84 tackles, 27.0 for loss with 15.0 sacks, and 32 quarterback pressures to help lead Gulliver Prep to 11 wins and regional final round of 4A state playoffs…made 5.0 sacks in 43-0 win vs. Booker T. Washington in regional semifinal round…had 26 tackles, 7.0 for loss with 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in six games as a sophomore…played freshman season at Miami Southwest and recorded 80 tackles with 5.0 sacks…son of Lamont Green Sr., who lettered for FSU from 1995-98 and was first-team All-ACC performer and team captain his senior season.

Darrell Jackson Jr. | DL | 6-6 | 300 | Havana, Fla. | Gadsden County High School/Miami

Has appeared in 25 collegiate games with 12 starts and recorded 49 tackles, including 4.5 for loss with 3.0 sacks, and one pass breakup…played in all 12 games with 11 starts his sophomore year at Miami…registered 27 tackles, 4.5 for loss with 3.0 sacks, and one pass breakup…made career-high seven tackles vs. North Carolina…saw action in all 13 games with start in Pinstripe Bowl his true freshman season at Maryland and totaled 22 tackles…made season-high six tackles in 20-17 win at Illinois and matched season-high stops total in 54-10 victory vs. Virginia Tech in Pinstripe Bowl…ranked 44th among strongside defensive ends in Class of 2021 by Rivals out of Gadsden County High School…made 23 tackles, 5.0 for loss, with one fumble recovery and one pass breakup in seven games his senior year…helped Jaguars reach semifinal round of 4A state playoffs…was teammates with current FSU defensive tackle Joshua Farmer at Gadsden County.

Vandrevius Jacobs | WR | 6-0 | 170 | Fort Pierce, Fla. | Vero Beach High School

Four-star prospect ranked as nation’s No. 26 wide receiver and as No. 36 overall prospect in Florida by On3…rated 41st at his position and 55th in Florida on 247Sports Composite…tabbed No. 175 overall nationally by On3…named No. 1 player on ESPN West Palm’s Top 63…made 149 catches for 2,320 yards and 31 touchdowns in two seasons at Vero Beach…averaged 105.5 yards per game his senior year, catching 100 passes for 1,511 yards and 21 touchdowns…helped lead Vero Beach to regional final round of 4S state playoffs and 11-2 record…played nine games his junior season and caught 49 passes for 809 yards and 10 touchdowns as Vero Beach played into regional semifinal round of 8A state playoffs.

Jaden Jones | DL | 6-6 | 240 | Montgomery, Ala. | Park Crossing High School/Hutchinson CC (Kan.)

Ranked as No. 6 JuCo prospect nationally and No. 1 edge defender via On3 Consensus…rated No. 9 JuCo prospect overall and No. 2 among defensive linemen in 247Sports Composite…Hutchinson reached NJCAA National Championship Game his sophomore season and won 2021 Salt City Bowl…three-star prospect in Class of 2021…helped Park Crossing advance to quarterfinal round of 6A state playoffs his junior season as part of defense that registered 72.0 tackles for loss with 30.0 sacks in 13 games.

Keiondre Jones | OL | 6-4 | 340 | LaGrange, Ga. | Callaway High School/Auburn

Played in 36 games with 22 starts in four seasons at Auburn…appeared in all 12 games in 2022 and started vs. Penn State and at Alabama…only offensive lineman to start every game for Tigers in 2021, appearing at right guard in all 13 contests and earning third-team All-SEC recognition from PFF…named to SEC Academic Honor Roll…started seven games at right guard as redshirt freshman in 2020, making first collegiate start in 30-28 win vs. Arkansas…redshirted 2019 season and was named to SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll…selected for Under Armour All-American Game following senior season at Callaway…earned 2A first-team all-state accolades his senior year and was three-time MaxPreps All-America selection.

Quindarrius Jones | DB | 6-2 | 190 | Meridian, Miss. | Meridian High School

Three-star prospect rated No. 18 overall in Mississippi by 247Sports, No. 20 in Mississippi by On3 and No. 28 in state by ESPN…ranked as No. 85 athlete nationally by 247Sports Composite…tabbed as country’s No. 79 safety prospect by On3…selected to play in Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game following senior year…played wide receiver and defensive back in high school…averaged 17.8 yards per catch his senior season, totaling 426 yards and three touchdowns on 24 receptions…second-team all-state selection after catching 36 passes for 429 yards and two touchdowns his junior year…also competed in track and field at Meridian, running in 100 and 200 dashes as well as contesting long jump and high jump…mark of 22 feet, 2 inches in long jump ranks second in Meridian history…time of 22.25 in 200 is seventh-best in school history.

Edwin Joseph | DB | 6-0 | 190 | Hollywood, Fla. | Chaminade-Madonna Prep

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.

K.J. Kirkland | DB | 6-2 | 190 | Jacksonville, Fla. | Raines High School

Four-star rated as No. 29 safety prospect nationally and No. 61 overall prospect in Florida by 247Sports…ranked 35th at his position by ESPN and 47th by On3…made 49 tackles, including 1.0 for loss, and two interceptions his senior season while helping lead Raines to regional final round of 2M state playoffs…named to 2022 Florida Times-Union Super 11…recorded 20 tackles, 12 pass breakups and one interception his junior year to help Vikings win district title and advance to regional semifinal round of 5A state playoffs…also ran track at Raines…anchored 2A state champion 4x400 relay team and finished third in 400 at state championship meet…won 2022 regional title and back-to-back district championships in 400…has two older sisters who both are collegiate sprinters.

Goldie Lawrence | WR | 6-0 | 190 | Sanford, Fla. | Seminole High School

Rated as four-star recruit, No. 41 wide receiver nationally and No. 77 overall prospect in Florida by ESPN…rated 47th in the country at his position by 247Sports and 60th among nation’s receivers in On3 Consensus…247Sports also ranked him 68th among all prospects in Florida…three-year contributor at Seminole…totaled 92 catches for 1,495 yards with 21 touchdowns and added 139 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground in his prep career…made 27 receptions for 471 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 89 yards and five touchdowns on 11 rushing attempts in eight games played his senior season…helped lead Seminoles to regional semifinal round of 4M state playoffs…played all 13 games his junior year…had 54 catches for 782 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed 18 times for 50 yards and four touchdowns…helped Seminole win 8A state championship his sophomore season, catching 11 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns…also played basketball for Seminole.

Kyle Morlock | TE | 6-7 | 250 | Blairsville, Ga. | Union County High School/Shorter

Two-time All-American at Shorter…made 57 catches for 890 yards and 11 touchdowns in 24 games…appeared in all 11 games in 2022 and led team with 30 receptions, 446 yards and six touchdowns…played in 10 games during redshirt freshman season and caught 21 passes for 362 yards and five touchdowns…had career day in 38-7 win vs. Erskine, making career-high seven receptions for career-best 104 yards and career-high two touchdowns…played three games in spring 2021 and caught six passes for 82 yards…totaled 1,509 receiving yards at Union County…made 28 catches for 591 yards and six touchdowns during senior season as Panthers won 10 games and advanced to second round of AA state playoffs…had 47 receptions for 757 yards and eight touchdowns to help Union County win nine games, including perfect 6-0 in region his junior year…caught 12 passes for 139 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore and made two catches for 22 yards in two games his freshman year.

Blake Nichelson | LB | 6-3 | 215 | Ripon, Calif. | Manteca High School

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.

Andre’ Otto | OL | 6-5 | 310 | Key West, Fla. | Key West High School

Ranked as nation’s No. 50 offensive tackle prospect by 247Sports and 59th at his position by On3…rated 106th overall in Florida by 247Sports and 111th in state by On3…all-county performer while playing offensive and defensive line at Key West…played both tackle positions and helped Conch’s offense average 34.0 points per game his junior year…also competed in wrestling, lacrosse and track and field for Key West…won 285-pound weight class wrestling regional title as a junior and placed eighth in 1A state championships…placed third in discus and fourth in shot put at 2021 district championships.

Ja’Bril Rawls | DB | 6-1 | 170 | Pensacola, Fla. | Pensacola Catholic High School

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.

Casey Roddick | OL | 6-4 | 310 | Ventura, Calif. | St. Bonaventure High School/Colorado

Played 42 games with 30 starts in five years at Colorado…started games at left guard, right guard and right tackle…22 consecutive starts between 2021-22 seasons was longest streak among Buffaloes…selected as team captain for 2022 season…started all 12 games and played total of 707 offensive snaps in 2022…showcased versatility by starting 10 games at left guard and two at right tackle…graded as team’s top offensive lineman for touchdown blocks on running plays and blocks on touchdown passes while helping block for Pac-12’s individual leader in yards per reception and a quarterback who produced conference’s second-highest yards-per-completion average…appeared in all 12 games and started final 10 contests at right guard in 2021, blocking for No. 3 red zone offense nationally…named team’s Offensive Player of the Week after 37-34 win vs. Oregon State…started all six games in 2020, five at right guard and one at left guard, and played every offensive snap in five games, missing only 10 snaps vs. Stanford…blocked for offense that ranked second in Pac-12 in sacks allowed and red zone offense and third in rushing while producing conference’s leading individual rusher…played in all 12 games with two starts at right guard as redshirt freshman in 2019…rated as No. 33 offensive guard prospect nationally by Rivals and No. 37 at his position in 247Sports Composite out of St. Bonaventure High School…named Marmonte League and Ventura County Offensive Lineman of the Year following senior season when Seraphs averaged 209.4 rushing yards per game…helped St. Bonaventure reach 2015 CIF Southern Section Pac 5 Division playoffs his junior year…earned bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colorado.

K.J. Sampson | DL | 6-3 | 295 | New Bern, N.C. | New Bern High School

Consensus four-star recruit rated as No. 5 prospect in North Carolina, 29th among all defensive linemen nationally and country’s No. 186 prospect by 247Sports…ranked No. 7 in North Carolina and No. 13 defensive tackle in the nation by ESPN…220th in ESPN300…ranked No. 8 in North Carolina, No. 24 nationally at his position and No. 186 overall in the country by On3…tabbed 13th in state and 19th overall among defensive tackles by Rivals…recorded 255 tackles, including 47.0 for loss with 31.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception in his prep career…selected to play in Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas following senior season…named NC Prep’s Defensive Player of the Year…helped lead New Bern to perfect 16-0 season and 4A state championship in 2022…made 96 tackles, including 23.0 for loss with 18.0 sacks during state title season…recorded 62 tackles, 12.0 for loss with 7.0 sacks, in eight games his junior year, helping Bears to 10 wins and second round of state playoffs…also played basketball for New Bern.

Lucas Simmons | OL | 6-8 | 300 | Stockholm, Sweden | Clearwater Academy International (Fla.)

Consensus four-star recruit…ranked as nation’s No. 9 offensive tackle prospect by 247Sports and 10th nationally on 247Sports Composite and On3 Consensus…ranked 62nd overall nationally and 14th in Florida by 247Sports…rated 13th among offensive tackles and 30th overall from Florida by ESPN…ranked 126th in ESPN300…tabbed 32nd in Florida and 150th overall nationally by On3…selected for Under Armour All-America Game following senior year…blocked for Clearwater Academy offense that averaged 37.9 points, 215.8 passing yards and 198.2 rushing yards per game while earning 10-1 record in 2022…helped Knights play for Sunshine State Independent Association title behind 10-win season his first year…originally from Sweden, played handball and soccer in addition to football…son of Able Simmons, who played offensive line at Oklahoma from 1996-98.

Sam Singleton Jr. | RB | 5-11 | 185 | Jacksonville, Fla. | Fleming Island High School

Four-star prospect and consensus top-25 running back recruit nationally…rated 22nd at his position and 66th overall in Florida on 247Sports Composite…ranked 14th among running backs and 39th overall in Florida by Rivals…rated 24th nationally at his position and 63rd from Florida in On3 Consensus…tabbed 25th among running backs and 68th among all recruits in Florida by ESPN…played four seasons at Fleming Island and rushed for 3,635 yards and 37 touchdowns in 38 games…selected to play in All-American Bowl following his senior season…averaged 112.8 rushing yards per game and 7.9 yards per carry as a senior, totaling 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine games while adding 227 yards and three touchdowns on 10 receptions…named to 2022 Florida Times-Union Super 11…averaged 105.3 rushing yards per game and 6.4 yards per carry his junior year with 948 yards and nine touchdowns in nine games…added four receptions for 52 yards and one touchdown while helping Fleming Island reach 7A state playoffs…averaged 102.3 rushing yards per game and 9.1 yards per carry with 921 yards and seven touchdowns plus 30 yards and one touchdown receiving to help lead Golden Eagles to regional final round of 2020 state playoffs…played 11 games in freshman year, averaging 6.6 yards per carry by rushing for 751 yards and nine touchdowns and adding 19 yards on two receptions for squad that won 10 games and advanced to regional semifinal round of state playoffs…also ran track at Fleming Island, posting personal-best times of 10.86 in the 100 and 22.40 in the 200.

DeMarco Ward | LB | 6-1 | 210 | Duluth, Ga. | Duluth High School

Three-star linebacker ranked 69th nationally at his position by ESPN and 75th among country’s linebackers by On3…tabbed as Georgia’s No. 90 overall prospect by On3 and 100th in state by ESPN…rated as nation’s No. 96 linebacker prospect and No. 110 overall in Georgia on 247Sports Composite…three-year contributor at Duluth, piling up 238 tackles, including 21.0 for loss with 7.0 sacks, four fumble recoveries, one interception and five pass breakups in 29 games…recorded 74 tackles, 4.0 for loss with 2.0 sacks, one fumble recovery and two pass breakups his senior year…also rushed 23 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns…registered 78 tackles, 12.0 for loss with 3.0 sacks, one interception returned for a touchdown and two fumble recoveries during junior season to help Wildcats reach AAAAAAA state playoffs…recorded 79 tackles, 5.0 for loss with 2.0 sacks, one fumble recovery and three pass breakups in 10 games his sophomore year…registered seven tackles in one game as a freshman…also played basketball and competed in sprints and hurdles at Duluth.

Hykeem Williams | WR | 6-3 | 210 | Fort Lauderdale, Fla. | Stranahan High School

Five-star recruit rated as nation’s No. 3 wide receiver prospect by 247Sports, 247Sports Composite and ESPN…ranked No. 4 nationally at his position by Rivals and No. 5 in On3 Consensus…rated as No. 4 overall prospect in Florida by 247Sports, No. 6 by ESPN, No. 8 in On3 Consensus and No. 9 by Rivals…ranked as No. 15 overall recruit in Class of 2023 by 247Sports, 23rd by Rivals and 30th in On3 Consensus…24th in ESPN300…selected for All-America Bowl following senior year…averaged 19.1 yards per reception in prep career…played seven games in senior season and caught 18 passes for 374 yards and five touchdowns…named 2021-22 Broward County Athlete of the Year by Miami Herald…made 40 receptions for 750 yards and 11 touchdowns his junior year…also added 16 tackles, 8.0 for loss with 6.0 sacks, one interception returned for a touchdown and averaged 41.0 yards on five punt returns as Mighty Dragons advanced to regional semifinal round of 5A state playoffs…played three games in sophomore season and caught 14 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns…also played basketball, averaging 11.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game over two seasons, and was on swim team his freshman year…averaged double-double of 12.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game as he helped Stranahan win 5A state championship his junior season.

Full transcript from Mike Norvell

Opening statement

MIKE NORVELL: First off, exciting day. Every year you get to signing day, it is a celebration for the young men that have made the choice to come and join our program, join our family. You’ve got an incredible group. Thought we were able to address a lot of needs. Have some really good balance in what we were able to do positionally, and really taking where our team is right now and really building it to be the best it could possibly be with the season — this next season as well as for years to come with the talent that we’ve been able to bring in and the quality of the young men.

I want to start off just thanking everybody here at Florida State that’s been involved in this process, and it takes so many to be able to present and showcase the vision and the opportunity for the student athletes. You know, our staff, our recruiting department, they work tirelessly to make sure that we’re building the relationships, making those connections, being able to answer — answer questions and to be able to connect with these young men in just a variety of different ways to show them the path of what the experience here, part of the ‘Nole family is going to be all about. Get to our strength, conditioning, athletic training, academics, compliance, everybody involved. I mean, it takes a complete team effort, and so just grateful for all those individuals and the work that they put in.

To the young then that are joining the program, I mean, this is a special group. Very talented individuals. Elite-level game changers for our program. But the best quality about these 22 young men we get to announce right now are the hearts, the minds, the passion, the work ethic, the relationships. It’s a special group when it comes to that coupled with the great ability and potential that they have and the impact they are going to make on the field. I do believe this is a group that is definitely a special, is special in regards to their play-making ability. You’re going to see a lot of versatility among positions of what guys can do; the variety of things that they can bring to our program and we were able to hit on a lot of our top choices. You go through a year and a half, I think it was five positions that we were able to get the No. 1 guy that we saw — and we felt that was the best fit for us, you know, here at Florida State, and it had a lot of hard battles that we had to work, but you know, it all paid off here today and excited about the group that’s coming in.

Q: Being able to bring in not only play-makers but experienced play-makers, particularly at tight end, how exciting is that?

MIKE NORVELL: I mean, when you look at the versatility, the explosiveness, the experience that Kyle and Jaheim bring to our program, I mean, it was huge. We’ve got two guys that will be leaving the program at that position, and you know, when you look at both Kyle and Jaheim, they are so different in their skill set but both play-makers in what they do. They came in on an official visit together and it was exciting to see just the dynamic of who those guys are and all the similarities, but then when you see them on the field, I mean, both can be absolute impact game-changing type players for us. So to be able to have fun with those different personnel packages and when you look at Jaheim, I think he’s one of the most explosive players in college football and with what we do and how we can move him around in different positions that he can play, it’s going to be fun. Kyle gives you that 6-7, 250-pound tight end. He can stretch the field. He wins the one-on-one matchups. You know, it’s a guy that we targeted when he went into the portal. You watch his film. But the first conversation is what sold me on him — because you could watch the film. First conversation, after he got in the portal, talked to him that night and I asked him, “What are you looking for?” “Coach, I’m looking for a culture where I can come in, be around a great group of guys where I can make an impact, and help change the team or help take the team to the next level by what I can bring into that locker room.” From that moment — because a lot of guys that are transferring, there’s a real I-focused perspective, and for him, and all the guys that we are bringing in, there is a lot of excitement and joy for the team that we’re going to be able to put together. We have got great plays. You see the play-makers that we have on our team currently and adding these guys to that, but e-mail excited about the teammates and what they are going to bring to the locker room, yes, the experience but also just the dynamic in each of those rooms of how that’s going to help push us because we have some great young tight ends, too. And that was one of the things, both Kyle and Jaheim, they came out to practice and saw the talent and ability of had some of the young guys, and we get to have all of that competition and really for these guys to be able to come in with the experience they have, I think that’s going to make a big difference in helping those young guys continue to come along.

Q: Can you speak on the recruitment of Brock Glenn, navigating him committing elsewhere and then getting him at the end, and why you want him at the quarterback position?

MIKE NORVELL: I think he’s the total package, unbelievable talent. I’ve known of him and known him for a long time. It was a hard choice for Brock in December. He had a lot of people that were coming after him. He took multiple official visits. You know, I was very confident in the relationship that was built, but just like a lot of — a lot of new kids that go through the process, they want to see some of the things that you’ve talked about, and some of the things that you’ve presented. And you know, just to be able to see themselves in that situation, and the schools that he committed to has had a lot of success at his position, and just overall as a team. But I always — I always believe that if we would just stay consistent, continue to build a relationship, respect him for the decision that he made early but also as things went along that I thought we could have a great chance to get into the position that we were in and you know just midway through the season I started to see that excitement, that joy. He fits us, and I mean, he’s just a great player. Excited about what he brings, and you know, it was huge for us to get him to be the quarterback of this class.

Q: Kind of the opposite, Hykeem Williams commits to you guys the beginning of the season and until the bitter end was fielding interest from other schools trying to flip him, you guys were able to hold on. What skill set is he going to bring to the table, and what does it say that he stayed true to his commitment here?

MIKE NORVELL: He’s such a unique young man and player. His size, speed, combination for somebody that’s a senior in high school, it’s ridiculous, and he is remarkable with the potential that he has and the things that he’s done, I think that he’s just, you know, unlimited potential to what he can accomplish. But when you get to know the young man and you get to know the spirit, the joy, the relationships, I mean, that’s what puts him into a whole other hemisphere. He is just such a quality, quality person. You know, we talk all the time about fit: And the biggest, strongest, fastest, best fit for Florida State, Hykeem Williams. Wow. It was pretty special. And even today, you get to watch his signing ceremony and he goes back to his middle school because of the impact that those relationships and all those people, not many 18-year-olds think in that grand of a thought process but he is — he cares about people and he’s just so excited about being a Seminole, and I’m really looking forward to coaching that one.

Q: You’ve got a really solid group of offensive linemen, some in high school and some in the transfer portal. What was the message to them, first off when you were recruiting them, either transfer, high school, and secondly, the guy I like a lot, Quindarrius Jones, talk about him a little bit and just what you like so much about him.

MIKE NORVELL: Start with the offensive line. That’s been one of the biggest transformations within our program in that group and we’ve put a lot of focus on that. Obviously Alex has done a great job leading and coaching and developing the offensive line, but we have some guys that are exhausting eligibility. We have had a couple guys that just are looking for other opportunities to be able to get on the field and our talent base has risen to a high level. And these guys that are coming in, you look at Lucas Simmons, that was our top — that was our No. 1. To see the prototype offensive tackle, size, speed, or quickness, twitch, length, I mean, all of it. But once again, much like Hykeem, not a better — you’re not going to find a better young man, and to be able to get him to commit this summer, he’s held through and true throughout the process, you know, so excited about what his future is going to be here. Today we added Andre ‘Otto, who I think is — I think he’s a special talent. To see a young man with his size, he’s still just so much that is in front of him, he’s got a world of potential. I love all that he can bring. I think his position, flexibility, is going to be elite, the things he can do. He’s so smart. It’s going to be a fun young man to watch come into the program and as he continues to grow and develop and then obviously being able to add — I want to make sure I’m right on who I can talk about. But to be able to add Casey, golly, what an experienced, experienced player. Captain there as his previous institution. He’s played so much ball. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. And his versatility of what he can do, just along the offensive front, I truly believe is special. Then, you know, obviously Jeremiah, the other day, actually we had two — I can talk about both of them — Jeremiah was — that’s a special get. He is a young man with a wonderful spirit. Came out on official visit, loved it, sees the vision, sees the plan. Kind of excited about the challenge, and you know, the opportunity that’s here. But really, really think that’s going to be a fun one to watch here as we continue to build. And then obviously Keiondre, that happened there yesterday. You talk about size, power, strength. I mean, when you look at these guys that have come in, they all have their own unique role in what they bring, which coupled with the guys that we have here and the opportunity for that growth, I mean, that’s a position that’s going to be a strength for us, and it needs to be. I’ve got to give a shout-out to those offensive lineman we have on our roster, we have got real guys, and the way that they individually even just would reach out to guys that we were going after. And I’m in a home visit and I said — the kids are telling me about our players, and the impact that they are having. Like just explaining what the opportunity is, what the development is, what the culture in that room is, and that’s special to me. Excited about that. You talked about Q. He can do it all. I mean, he’s — we’re going to start him off, I think he’s got a great opportunity. He can play outside. I think he can play corner. I think he’s got the ability. He came to camp and he’s got that length, he’s got that ability, he’s played both sides of the ball. He’s rolling some things — because he’s had to do so much, but he can be there — I think he can play probably five or six different positions in a defense. He’s got great length. Great closing and play-making ability. He’s going to be one that we’re going to give him a start at a position, but that could go a lot of different ways and just a wonderful young man to add to the program.

Q: So much has changed in signing days over the last several years. Now there’s two signing days and you’ve got the transfers. When you put out a list of all the guys you’ve signed, do you see them as one group?

MIKE NORVELL: Absolutely. It’s about putting together a team. We’re building a team. And you know, I think people get caught up — well, it’s just — just acquire talent. Biggest, strongest, fastest, best fit for Florida State. That’s what we have to do. Because when that comes together with the most talented young men that we get, right, you see the results. I mean, we are the only team in the country, yards per play, offense and defense in the Top-10, the only one. That means that we are getting guys that come in here that fit what we’re doing on both sides of the ball, and they are able to showcase all that they can do. Now, I don’t know coming in or going out where, what — how they were perceived but I knew what we — I knew what we were getting because it was also guys that their work ethic, right, who they are, their relationships, they compete with each other, and that’s where you look at this class, I mean, whether it’s a transfer or whether it’s a high school signee, they are Seminoles. They are coming in to be a part of this team, and they all serve us a certain place. Last year, we took a lot of transfer receivers. This year, we’re not taking one barring something crazy happening. Like we don’t need to. Like we have 18 — but we signed — high school, be ready to watch them. When you sit there and you look at Hykeem, you look at Dre, you look at Goldie, the potential that those guys have, those are impact players. So I’m excited about how we have been able to get the roster — it is putting together a team. You kind of touched on that with the tight ends earlier. You try to find how you can continue to build this for it to be the best team here moving forward for this next season and for the years to come.

Q: The linebacker duo, Blake and DeMarco, how excited are to you add them to Omar as a young group?

MIKE NORVELL: It’s just a great duo. I mean, for Blake, that was one of those guys you talk about. There was nobody — nobody that we had that we thought was a better fit for us than him. I just absolutely love what he’s bringing to this program. His size, speed, athleticism, versatility. I mean, he’s remarkable, and his senior year and the things he’s done in his high school career is special. He is, you know, just a remarkable young — I think he’ll be one that comes in and has a chance to make an impact early. He’s a guy that really fits all those skill sets. He’s got some — really just focus in on a couple positions, and I think you’re going to see some great strides that he takes. DeMarco, who is actually here on campus and going through the process of being ready for Bowl prep, I mean, you see a football player, he’s 6-2, 215 pounds, can run. He has a knack for playing this game, and I love the mentality which he brings. He’s no-nonsense. He’s going to come to work and everybody you talk to about him, whether playing — the coaches he played for, the teachers that he had, the teams that he played against, just a great deal of respect, and he was the right fit for us and just excited about his future here as well.

Q: When you talk about building a complete roster, I guess what kind of balancing act are you facing as a coach, you have early signing period to try to fill things out but you still have current players who are maybe deciding whether to go pro or not or deciding what their options are. How are you always trying to balance that out?

MIKE NORVELL: It’s one heck of a spreadsheet. There’s a lot, a lot of moving pieces and whether it’s guys coming in, guys going out, whether it’s exhausting eligibility, whether it’s, you know, guys that have gone in looking for new opportunities, guys going to the NFL, whatever that role is, you know, it also opens the door for other guys to come in to be able to keep a balance within your roster so that you have a chance to go out there and be the best that we can be. I think we have done a really good job at that. I think there will be some positions we continue to evaluate to see if we can find the right fit to come in but ultimately, I think we hit — we hit on the areas that we needed to, like the non-negotiables, that’s what we were able to accomplish already at this point. There were still a couple more things that could happen that could be a lot of fun.

Q: We talked about the offensive line the first time earlier but your defensive line, Odell obviously does a great job developing and putting guys out there but you have some really talented guys. I think Keith Sampson jumps out to me, and Darrell you’re adding from the transfer portal. Talk about replenishing that defensive line.

MIKE NORVELL: Well, you sit there and you look at that group, and K.J., Defensive Player of the Year there in North Carolina, and just was such a great, great young man. His explosiveness, his versatility, play-making ability, is remarkable. Definitely excited about having him. You look at being able to get a couple transfers there up front. Jaden Jones, yeah, he’s one that probably not a whole lot of people are talking about right now but is elite in measurables, athleticism. Unfortunately he had an injury this year that limited his opportunities on the field, but I believe in that young man and I’m excited to see him. He’s doing a great job for his rehab, and we are excited to get him here in January for what he’s going to bring to the program. But I think that can be a guy that not a whole lot of people are pinpointing him, but might be one that jumps out and becomes just a really, really special player here as he continues to go. You talk about Darrell Jackson, playing against him, young man that’s coming back home. It’s one of those things that, you know, unfortunately things happen in life where you have challenges and circumstances. Darrell being able to come home and support family, and to be here and play for Florida State, it’s exciting. Had to compete against him last year, so I know the challenge that he can provide opposing offenses, but also you see the opportunity for growth and development. And that’s something that he’s excited about, you know, being — being back home but also being a part of this program and helping us take the next step. Then LaMont “Boots” Green, just a legacy, legacy kid. I told him through the process, I love his dad, and LaMont is remarkable, remarkable, remarkable. But this was all about Boots. And you see a young man with such — I mean, just drive, determination, whether it’s in the classroom or on the field, practice, whatever it is. I mean, he is going to push to be his best. And you know, to — I think he was the first commitment in this year’s class and to see him from beginning to end, he was born to be a Seminoles and he worked his butt off to put himself in a position to be able to live out — live out this dream. Just an explosive, explosive player coming off the edge and great first step. He’s going to be a guy that fits well into what we’re trying to do as we attack on the edges and excited — excited about that group that’s coming in.

Q: Some people are concerned that as your program is getting better and you bring in talented kids, particularly transfers, that it might cause some of the existing players to feel like they are being passed over or that the competition; that they might want to transfer. What would you say to a fan that concerned themselves with that?

MIKE NORVELL: What I would say about this team is they love to compete. They compete with each other. I know I say that all the time. Our best recruiters are our current players when these guys get on campus. I remember a year ago, you know, Maurice Smith was starting center coming out. We bring in Lyles. Ray Smith hosted him, like that — like he’s the one that is selling him: You need to get here. “The coaches are telling me, they are bringing you in to try to take this job.” But when you have real guys, when you have guys that have that spirit and that drive, and they just — they are going to do all that they can; it pushes them to get better. And we are trying — like we are working to something special, and I know it’s coming. And it’s fun because you see guys that embrace, embrace that but also they care about — I mean, the one commitment I make to our players when it comes to recruiting, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I’m bringing somebody in that locker room that’s like-minded. Because I’ll try — I have real conversations with guys when they are here, and it is — you know and our players have real conversations. And there’s been times that our players will sit there and whether it’s high school players coming in, if it’s a weekend experience and they don’t get a good vibe on it, I want that information. There’s been guys that have gone in the transfer portal, players on this team were teammates of and friends with: “Coach, I don’t know if he fits. Really talented, but I don’t know if he fits what we’re doing here.” Like when you have players taking that type of ownership, that’s where it gets fun, because they know how we work and they know how we care, know how we — the bonds that are being built, and you know, they know how they are going to be showcased. And this is — I say it all the time, this is a program that’s built for play-makers. So we are going to get the best play-makers, right, that we can possibly get to come impact this team and win games and be the best that we can possibly be.

Q: Following up on that sort of, looking at the portal, I would imagine because of the season you guys had and the success you’ve had with transfers there may be a lot of players in the portal were interested in Florida State and how different was that compared to maybe a year ago or two years ago in terms of —

MIKE NORVELL: I mean, the interest, high school and — and college, I mean, transfers, is at an elite level because not only do they see success with our record, and you know, what our team is doing, but they watch how we play. They see the explosiveness offensively. They see the explosiveness defensively. They see the impacts in special teams. So when you can showcase that and they — they understand the opportunity that they have to come be a part of it, like it — there’s a lot of excitement, and you know, one of the hardest things to do as a coach, especially with all the time and the hours and building those relationships, you know, sometimes you have to have the willingness to say no. Because there’s certain times you can take somebody and it would feel good and it would probably look good and you would be able to sell, like, you know, whatever — whatever things surrounding the recruitment you could celebrate. But if it doesn’t — if it doesn’t make us a better team, if it doesn’t fit a very specific need, I think that’s one thing that I’ve tried to, we’ve tried to do as a staff, is to pinpoint those guys. When you invest that time and you get around it, those are the ones and if that’s not going to — if it doesn’t fit, if it’s not — then we know what the next step is. So you try to build upon those players of, you know, Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, but it doesn’t always mean high school to high school or high school to college, and then within — with the course of a season, guys getting projected as top draft picks. You have things that are always constantly developing, guys that go out, they are staying. It’s something that’s always a constant ebb and flow to it. But just making sure you get the right guys to help this team, and where we are, but really, where we’re going.

Adam Fuller

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Alex Atkins

Atkins’ video courtesy of Noles247