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Florida State signee analysis: Scouting Jackson West

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A three-sport athlete who plays both sides of the ball joins the tight end room.

Florida State has prioritized tight end under Mike Norvell — no surprise, considering his heavy usage of the position.

Jackson West, out of Huntsville, AL, is the latest in the line of recruits that the Florida State Seminoles staff has grabbed. West wasn’t initially on FSU’s radar but arrives as a pleasant surprise, an athletic, multi-sport prospect who has played on both sides of the ball in high school.

A natural football player, through and through

There really isn’t a better way to describe Jackson West. The young man is simply a football player through and through. West will block you through the echo of the whistle. West can catch 30 yard TD passes. West can jump tall buildings in a single bound. I made that last one up, but you get the point. If you cannot sense my excitement about this commitment, let me say it again: Jackson West is a football player! Watch the following play, and you’ll quickly understand. I’m not even going to bother with any technical mumbo jumbo:

Good on the line, ready to finish a block

West is a true inline TE that FSU has sorely missed since Nick O’Leary and Ryan Izzo. Listed at 6’4 231 pounds, West’ll play with his hand in the dirt, lined up next to a tackle, and kick somebody’s rear end all game long. West possesses an understanding of where a play is going, showing good footwork on the play below, and knows how to finish a block. Watch his feet as he takes short, choppy steps, always keeping cleats in the ground and getting position on the end. It’s vital he gets that left foot in position and back in the dirt so he can gain ground on the outside half of the defender. Once he’s in position, West runs the track with the defender and drives him into the ground. This is what you need from an inline TE:

Hold your breath — he can catch!

It’s not all flash and pancakes on West’s highlight tape. He actually catches the ball, and he does so quite well. On the first play (below), West gets a free release, puts a move on a LB looking to collision, before settling in the void to present a big target for his QB. After catching the ball he does a nice job turning up field and protecting the ball. A TE working the middle of the field is a QB’s best friend, and West shows soft hands on this play.

The second play is a nice drag route against a bad zone defense. West is uncovered for a 17-yard TD. He shows some burst to create separation (had a defender been near), makes the catch, and waltzes into the end zone.

An all-around, athletic prospect

It’d be easy to classify West as a “hidden gem,” but the reality is he’s a guy who plays multiple sports, but probably flies somewhat under-the-radar since he doesn’t use social media. West was a good find for Mike Norvell and his staff, as he raises the floor of the TE room quite a bit. Getting West into a college weight program will only elevate his game. This is a player we’re excited to watch over the next four years, as he’s a great locker room fit, while also being a good player that the Seminoles sorely need.