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Early enrollees to keep an eye on during the spring game

With spring practice coming to a close, Florida State football is preparing for the spring game today. In some instances, this is where early enrollees could get lost in the shuffle. Other times, we see a few rise to the occasion.

Last season, we saw two former early enrollees in Ja’Khi Douglas and Stephen Dix Jr. each play larger roles within their position units as the season winded down. 

Norvell signed 17 players in the 2021 recruiting class while adding eight players through the transfer portal. Since the transfer portal consists of mostly proven commodities, for this article, we will focus solely on the incoming freshman.  

Here are four early enrollees to keep track of during the spring game. All four happen to fall on the offensive side of the ball. 

1. Joshua Burrell & Malik McClain 

I paired these two together since they’re both at the same position. Each heard their name mentioned in a positive manner last week in head coach Mike Norvell’s presser. Burrell, who stands at 6-foot-2, 217-pounds, made rounds on social media two weeks ago when he squatted 500 pounds at the ‘Noles “squat party.” That physicality has translated to the field so far, where he has shown consistency catching the ball. Drops have been something ‘Noles receivers have struggled with the last few years, so Burrell’s exceptional hands could reap success for him. Check out his leaping catch below over fellow freshman defensive back Kevin Knowles II. 

https://twitter.com/LogansTwitty/status/1369809397086625792?s=20

Similar to Burrell, McClain is as physically gifted as they come. At 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, he provides the quarterback with a big body, who can essentially pull the ball down from anywhere. As much of a vertical threat McClain is, he excels just as much at yards after catch. With the Seminoles wide receiver unit mostly on the younger side, do not be surprised if McClain makes significant strides throughout camp that pay dividends when August arrives. 

2. Jackson West

Another pass-catcher enters as the second name on the list. The coaches have raved about West’s ability so far to adjust to the physicality of the college game. In our tight-end preview, we noted that West could shock some people as an instant contributor given the opportunity. While he might not be the flashiest or most athletically gifted, he is as well-rounded as they come. He has shown the willingness to catch and block, which is a vital dynamic for the tight end in Norvell’s offense. Look for him to gradually improve as spring practice moves forward, but the tools are there for a strong spring showing. 

3. Bryson Estes 

The last early enrollee to keep tabs on comes in the trenches. Estes is one of the most versatile offensive line recruits to enter the program since Norvell arrived. The 6-foot-3, 299-pounder can line up at guard, tackle, or center. While Estes has a difficult path to earning a starting spot, expect to hear his name in rumblings coming out of practice these next few weeks as a GUY competing hard for a backup spot. If last year proved to us anything, offensive line coordinator Alex Atkins is not afraid to throw his young offensive lineman into the fire.


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