Mike Norvell hopes transfers, youngsters can help turn Seminoles around
Recruiting in recent years hasn't been what's come to be expected at Florida State, but head coach Mike Norvell did finish strong with a top-25 class. For an FSU program that is coming off of three consecutive losing seasons, freshmen will play a role, but Norvell has also been very active in the transfer portal to help bridge the gap.
During a strange 2020, the Seminoles finished with a 3-6 record, marking the fewest wins for the program since 1975. As Norvell and staff look to make that an outlier and not the new normal, here are five new faces who could help make that a reality.
McKenzie Milton, QB
A transfer from UCF, Milton hasn't taken a snap since 2018, but if he's even a shell of himself, he might be the best that the Seminoles have had under center since Jameis Winston. Milton had won every start over his final two seasons with the Knights before a gruesome leg injury. He ranked in the top 10 nationally in yards per pass attempt both years. In three years as a starter for UCF, Milton tallied nearly 10,000 total yards and 92 touchdowns.
Malik McClain, WR
When it comes to the wide receiver position, FSU returns just one player who had more than 200 yards receiving last season: Ontaria Wilson. The Seminoles brought in a nice corps of wide receivers this offseason, but McClain might be the one worth paying close attention to. A four-star prospect, McClain headlines a group of six early enrollees. At 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, McClain could play a role similar to that of Tamorrion Terry. Using the spring to improve his route running and knowledge of the offense, McClain should blossom into a complete receiver for the Seminoles.
Keir Thomas, DL
With Marvin Wilson, Cory Durden, and Janarius Robinson all moving on to the next level, South Carolina transfer Thomas was an important addition for FSU. At 275 pounds, Thomas can play either inside at defensive tackle or outside as a defensive end. A Miami native, Thomas took advantage of the NCAA giving a free year of eligibility and is headed to FSU, where he could be used in a variety of ways. Expect him to take on a leadership role and make lots of plays on the field.
Demorie Tate, CB
The prize recruit of Florida State's 2020 class, Tate redshirted last season but is expected to see plenty of the field in 2021. At 6-foot-1 and nearly 190 pounds, Tate is built like past FSU greats at cornerback like Jalen Ramsey, Xavier Rhodes, and Tarvarus McFadden. Tate could still add five to 10 pounds of muscle and his frame makes him a candidate to be used in a number of positions. With FSU losing its best two defensive backs in Asante Samuel Jr. and Hamsah Nasirildeen, expect Tate to become a valuable member of the secondary this season.
Jammie Robinson, DB
The second transfer to come to Florida State from South Carolina, Robinson's versatility should make him a key addition. A former All-SEC Freshman, Robinson has been used primarily as a safety but has good ball skills that translate well in coverage. With Nasirildeen off to the NFL, expect Robinson to play a similar role for the Seminoles in 2021. Don't be surprised if he emerges as perhaps the best member of the secondary.
— Written by Mike Ferguson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.
(Top photo courtesy of @FSUFootball)