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Florida State commit analysis: Scouting OL Jake Slaughter

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What can fans expect from FSU’s newest offensive line commit?

Jake Slaughter
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The Florida State Seminoles landed their first offensive line commit under new head coach Mike Norvell when Jake Slaughter made the call on Monday.

In our Tomahawk Nation state of recruiting article, we provided a mini scout of Slaughter:

6’4 300 pound 3* from Trinity Catholic High School (Ocala, FL). Slaughter was offered last July. He’s visited Tallahassee on four occasions and is considered extremely likely to be in FSU’s class by the recruiting team. Slaughter plays center and guard for his high school team. His snaps are solid and on-target, showing plenty of zip. His film shows he can quickly get out on screens. His highlights demonstrate his football IQ, as he engages the correct defenders on blocks and is aware of the proper space to occupy on pulls and screens. He’ll realistically need a year or two in Florida State’s program before making an impact

Now, we’ll dive further into analyzing Slaughter’s film and giving our thoughts on what the future ’Nole brings to Florida State

To say FSU needs offensive line help is the understatement of the century. Well, they’ve added a good one. Specifically, they added a very talented center prospect. It takes a different sort of person to be willing to snap the ball while defenders are trying to engage you and you are typically expected to set the front for pass protection. Let’s take a look at a few clips of Slaughter and discuss what he does well.

Athleticism

Look around football and teams with a center that can pull typically have some of the best offensive systems. Slaughter is at guard here but watch as he takes a step to his left, pivots and leads the reverse back the other way for a touchdown. It is not easy for big guys to get out in space and try to block defensive backs but Slaughter clears the way here showing impressive movements skills for a big man.

What stands out the most is the footwork on the pull. There are no false steps as he is able to get a short first step with his left foot, followed with a quick second step with his right foot, and then pivots around on his left foot while getting a chip on the defensive tackle. Slaughter even runs behind his pads very well in a position to uncoil on a defender at any point.

Zone skills and finishing plays

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a little nasty in their offensive linemen? Slaughter, throughout his film, is consistently finishing plays to the echo of the whistle. This effort and mindset is something that should excite Seminole fans. This is not a trait that can be taught, you either have it or you don’t.

The other part of this play that jumps out is Slaughter’s ability to work double teams. At Florida State this is something that he will have to be able to do and you can tell he has been coached well in high school at double teaming. Slaughter and the right tackle work on the linemen up to the linebacker in unison. The duo keeps their shoulders together and when Slaughter feels an overtake by the tackle he climbs to the backer and flattens him.

This gives you a glimpse at what inside zone may look like with Slaughter and a guard or tackle. He has been coached well to stay square, work in unison, play through his eyes (see second level block while getting movement on the linemen).

The technical side of things on this play are also fun to watch. Watch as Slaughter comes off the ball with knees bent, flat back, and plays through his hips. This also speaks to his athleticism as he has good flexion from his ankles up through his knees and waste. You do not want waste benders on the offensive line and you can see that Slaughter plays through all points of explosion (hips, knees, waste).

Pass protection

Look at that anchor! Good knee bend, butt dropped, and stunning the defensive linemen with a solid punch. Slaughter appears to be a technician and pass protection is not an easy skill for high school offensive linemen to be good at. Watch as Slaughter even gets his butt into position as the QB is sprinting out. Watching Slaughters feet he does not get too wide in his base and he takes short choppy stops to ensure he always has himself planted. All of this after he delivers a perfect snap to the QB.

Slaughter is just one piece of the offensive line puzzle, but a definite step in the right direction, as Norvell and offensive line coach Alex Atkins solve the position group’s issues for FSU.