Observations from Florida State football’s first spring practice

Spring football season is upon us.

The Florida State football team kicked off its 15-practice spring camp Monday afternoon with the first of three practices this week before spring break. And while the pads weren’t yet on and contact was very limited, there was still plenty to observe about the Seminoles from their first spring practice.


While there was very limited 11-on-11 non-contact reps at the end of practice, each of the four scholarship quarterbacks got plenty of reps in a variety of settings at Monday’s practice. It seemed to be an edict for all of them to get the ball out of their hands quickly as there were a lot of short routes and quick throws in 1-on-1 and 7 on-7 drills.

In what will be an important offseason for him, A.J. Duffy showed some signs of growth in his first spring practice. He had a few of the better throws of the day, delivering a pair of beautiful downfield throws on the run to Jerrale Powers and Vandrevius Jacobs in 11-on-11 near the end of practice.

Mike Norvell praised freshman quarterback Brock Glenn for how he handled being thrown into his first practice with the program. It definitely seemed like they were easing him in a bit, giving him less reps than the three returning quarterbacks, but Glenn displayed some good, quick decision-making as well as the speed that we saw during Tour of Duty.

It was hard to observe a ton from the running backs as their contact was heavily limited and there weren’t a ton of overly physically drills. Much of their work came as receivers out of the backfield during 7-on-7 work.

A number of FSU coaches praised Rodney Hill for his impressive route-running early in Monday’s practice and I’ll vouch for that. His agility and ability to quickly change directions with ease makes him quite a unique weapon in FSU’s running back room.

Another running back who stood out was Penn State transfer Caziah Holmes. Playing time won’t be easy to come by in a crowded room, but Holmes got quite a few reps at the first spring practice after he was with the scout team last fall and he showed up nicely as a pass-catcher and also broke the longest run of the day in 11-on-11.

At receiver, Winston Wright Jr. carried over the much-improved health he showed at Tour of Duty into Monday’s practice with the ball in his hands. He won the majority of his 1-on-1 reps, showcasing his shiftiness in space and breakaway speed. After Wright never really looked comfortable as he tried to work his way back last fall, he’s starting spring in a much better place.

Another receiver who stood out Monday was Ja’Khi Douglas. Douglas’ elusiveness in tight spaces makes him a weapon in all phases of the passing game. On one particularly impressive 1-on-1 rep Monday, he shook the defensive back guarding him immediately at the line, breaking away for an easy catch.

At tight end, Markeston Douglas and Jerrale Powers seemed to be the most targeted players at their position during 11-on-11 at the end of practice. Each of them created space a number of times and made plays.

While Jaheim Bell and Kyle Morlock didn’t flash during 11-on-11, both of them had good debut days of practice. Pads may not be on yet, but Morlock’s speed for his 6-foot-6 frame remains impressive. Bell runs hard and will be a real struggle for opposing linebackers/defensive backs to match up with in games.

On the offensive line, Colorado transfer Casey Roddick was working at center and seems to be the main competitor for Maurice Smith’s job. Auburn transfer Keiondre Jones was working with the guards while UTEP transfer Jeremiah Byers was working with the tackles along with Bless Harris, back in action after playing just one game a season ago before suffering a season-ending injury.

Darius Washington’s leadership ability was on display, especially at the end of practice when he was leading the group over to the side and encouraging his fellow linemen to run so that offensive coordinator Alex Atkins could deliver his final message to them.

More intel will be shared on the offensive line as pads come on and contact begins to ramp up.


On the other side of the ball, Bishop Thomas take reps at defensive end. Jared Verse, Josh Farmer, Dennis Briggs and Bishop Thomas all looked very quick and violent going thru a pass rush drill vs. pop-up bags in which you flip your hips and throw your outside arm at the outside shoulder of the blocker to work on getting around a pass blocker.

Watching those defensive linemen closely at Monday’s practice was former FSU defensive end Jermaine Johnson. Johnson was there the whole time and talking some to Verse before he’s one of a number of FSU football alumni expected on campus this weekend for the program’s Legacy Weekend recruiting event.

At linebacker, Stephen Dix Jr. had a rep that stood out in his return to practice. While mobility and reading plays has been a problem for him at times, he quickly identified a pass going out into the flat and rushed out there to ensure the pass wasn’t caught. If he does manage to take the next step, it’s a pretty significant boost to FSU’s depth at the position, which is a major question outside of its top three returning players.

In the secondary, a few newcomers had moments where they really stood out. Virginia cornerback transfer Fentrell Cypress won quite a few of his reps and had one particularly strong play where he got slightly beat on a slant route by Deuce Spann but caught up the play and had a really impressive pass breakup, reaching his arm around Spann to break up the pass and deny the catch in a physical manner. That rep against a receiver who is noticeably taller than him shows that he is able to overcome not being the tallest cornerback at 6-foot.

True freshman K.J. Kirkland also looked like a natural safety in his first practice at FSU. He looks the part physically and had one rep that really stood out in 11-on-11 where he read a pass that was coming in underneath his deep safety spot in time to come up and break up what was a really nice pass by Tate Rodemaker and would have been a big play.

Also at safety, it’s hard to read too much into one day of work, but Omarion Cooper’s move there seems to be a success based off the first practice. His ranginess plays nicely there and he seemed to pick up what was being thrown at him fairly easily. He had one strong 1-on-1 rep when challenged by going up against Bell, staying with him and forcing a high throw which fell incomplete.

Nickel cornerback Greedy Vance also picked up where he left off last season with a pair of pass breakups in 1-on-1s. Renardo Green also had a good day with some physical reps — something he’s quickly built a reputation for — and a one-handed pick while falling down in 1-on-1s.

Special teams

FSU spent an early portion of practice working through kick return reps. While there wasn’t much to this drill, it bears mentioning that Trey Benson, Wright, Deuce Spann, Hill and Holmes were returning kicks.


Several prospects were in attendance at Monday’s practice including Trey Horne, who was offered in January and is being recruited as both a wide receiver and safety. Running back Caden Williams was also at practice. We will have interviews with players on the site on Tuesday.

2024 TE prospect Korey Duff Jr. from Melville (N.Y.) St. Anthony’s High was also at practice on an unofficial visit.

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