Yesterday may go down as one of the strangest days in recent memory for Florida State fans. Despite finishing their season a week earlier in the Discover Orange Bowl with a 31-10 over NIU, Monday proved quite eventful for the Seminole faithful starting early in the morning and continuing on through the late evening.
Wilder Has Another Misstep
The day started with the Tallahassee Democrat breaking news that Florida State RB James Wilder Jr. had been arrested on Sunday on a Failure-to-Appear charge stemming from a non-moving, suspended license violation he had been cited with previously. Wilder was booked, released and given a new, January 24th court date.
The 6-3, 230-pound tailback alleges he never received a notice for the first appearance, something that is actually quite common in this state's legal system (and I imagine many other states as well). Provided he makes the appearance later this month, he is unlikely to miss any time next season or in the Spring and should hopefully be able to stay on the straight and narrow for the rest of his college career.
Still, not the way most Florida State fans would have chosen to start their day.
Menelik Watson Turns Pro
Things got even better for Seminole fans when Warchant, citing sources close to the player, reported that junior RT Menelik Watson was going to forgo his senior year and turn pro. Watson was a highly touted Juco transfer last season and played solidly for the Seminoles in 2012, but the move still caught many by surprise.
Originally a basketball player at Marist, Watson decided to take up football and played a handful of games at a junior college before coming to Florida State last year. Despite his inexperience, he easily won a starting job on the FSU offensive line and helped the Seminoles to one of the best rushing seasons in the program's storied history. The downside to Watson is that he's extremely raw, despite being 24 he has played fewer than 20 games of football in his entire life and will likely need considerable coaching at the next level in order to make an impact. He does have the skillset needed to make the jump though, and his age as well as family considerations played a role in his decision.
Georgia Tech DC Charles Kelly Rumored to be Heading to Florida State
Originally Georgia Tech's defensive backs coach, Charles Kelly took over as the interim defensive coordinator mid-season and helped to turn around the Yellow Jacket defense as much as could be done, given the talent they had on it. Kelly would be coming to Florida State to replace Greg Hudson as the linebackers coach. While there is no solid confirmation on this, a number of good sources have already reported it and the move would make sense given Kelly's track record as both a recruiter and with developing players.
One of the early points of concern (at least amongst FSU fans) was that Georgia Tech runs a 3-4 as opposed to FSU's traditional 4-3. But as the DB's coach, that would have limited impact on his coaching style, not to mention Kelly has experience with a 4-3 and like almost every defense in the country these days the Seminoles run more of a multi-defense than a true 4-3 anyway, so that is likely not a serious concern. If Kelly is the guy, he would be a solid addition to the coaching staff and would likely mesh well with new Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt who was already hard at work for the Seminoles in the moments after the Crimson Tide claimed the BCS Championship last night...
Pruitt Flips Big Commitment
Speaking of Pruitt, just minutes after Alabama clinched its third national title in four years, Demarcus Walker a 4-star Alabama commitment decommited from the Tide and announced he would be enrolling at Florida State this morning.
Walker is a 6-4 280-pound strongside defensive end who is rated as the 34th best player in the country by Rivals. Previously, Florida State hadn't even been on Walker's radar, but his relationship with Pruitt (as well as former Tennessee DC and current FSU DE coach Sal Sunseri) put FSU on the map. It was the school's proximity to his hometown of Jacksonville and the potential for his mother to see him play live at Doak that pushed the Seminoles over the top though.
Walker is likely to come in and challenge for playing time immediately. Along with Mario Edwards Jr. and Chris Casher, Florida State now has a trio of extremely talented young DE's. While there is still a little uncertainty as to what impact this could have on DE Davin Bellamy's commitment (Bellamy has told reporters that Dameyune Craig, who recruited him to FSU before leaving for Auburn, indicated the Tigers would come after him hard once the move was final), it's a windfall for the Seminoles and capped what turned out to be a bizarre day for the Florida State faithful.
Check back a little later, I'll have the final update on Florida State's end-of-season poll rankings...
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