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FSU’s Derrick Nnadi assumes leadership role for Seminole team

It’s a transitory thing, leadership.

One day, you’re looking around the huddle, and other guys are pointing out the direction.

The next day, the rest of the huddle is looking at you, and it’s up to you to plot the course.

In college football, where the faces change so often, it’s especially true.

And so has learned Derrick Nnadi, leader of the FSU Seminoles.

“I’ve probably said this a lot before,” Nnadi told the Orlando Sentinel. “I’m not one who’s like ‘I’m going to be a leader.’ I just want to make sure what I’m doing is right.

“But as I’m getting older, being a senior, I have to take certain types of responsibilities. I have to do it. If it’s for the good of the team, I’m not going to deny it.”

Oh, the Seminoles need it. From last year’s team, they lost Dalvin Cook and DeMarcus Walker.

Last year, FSU lost two of its first five games, as Nnadi was hampered by a bad ankle. But the Seminoles won seven of their last eight games.

“(I’m) just trying to give them some sort of motivation in drills even though I don’t talk that much,” Nnadi said. “Every now and them, I’ll be like ‘come on bro, you’ve got this. Come on, just keep it moving.’ Or just leading by example.

“I just want to prove I’ve gotten better year in and year out, and overall just be an elite tackle,” Nnadi said.

Colors represent effort level for the Florida State football team

The colors say it all at the FSU spring practice these days.

It isn’t always good, either.

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has assigned three different colored jerseys for his players during spring drills. The colors signify the type of effort given by the players.

Those in garnet practice jerseys, the best level, are presented to Seminole players who give “championship effort.”

White jerseys? Those are for those who give average effort.

And the orange jerseys? Those are reserved for players who aren’t given any effort at all. “Ridiculous,” Fisher says of the orange.

Why Orange? Rivals Florida, Miami and Clemson all wear orange.

“That’s not always a good color around here, is it?” Fisher told the Orlando Sentinel.

By the end of the winter, “85 to 90 percent” of the players were wearing garnet jerseys, and no players were wearing the orange ones.

“It means we’ve got a long way to go,” Fisher said with a smile.

The jerseys were a daily routine for the team.

“The fine line between winning and losing is always those inches,” Fisher said. “That’s what we’ve tried to really emphasize. We rated them every day.”

The jersey decision was one made by the coaches, Fisher said. It’s something he said he’s done in past offseason camps.

“Back in the day, they told you when you were wrong, showed you when you were wrong. That’s what we’re trying to do,” Fisher said. “Educate the kids on the effort, the discipline, the toughness, all the things with what you want to do and how we want it done. Define it.”

“I’ve done it in the past,” he said. “I’ve done it with different teams I’ve been on and different schools I’ve been at and it was very helpful.

“Guys are here for business. They understand they can be friends, on the field they want (to know) who you can count on. I want to show the guys on the field who you can count on every play. I thought (the jerseys) were very helpful and educational.”

The message of accountability is spreading throughout the team, Fisher said. Even returning starters are on notice.

“Sometimes the worst springs I’ve been a part of in the past, we had a lot of guys back,” Fisher said. “They all think they can take it off. We’re going to make sure we get better in every aspect.”

FSU has tough schedule to contend with in 2017 football season

If FSU is indeed going back to the college football playoffs this season, it will have to walk across broken glass to get there.

According to Bleacherreport.com, the Seminoles will play the fifth-toughest schedule in America in 2017, including an opening game against Alabama in Atlanta.

Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles also play Miami, at Clemson, Florida and Louisville (with Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.) Even with 16 returning starters and quarterback Deondre Francois, that’s tough duty.

Florida isn’t far behind. The Gators play the 7th-hardest schedule, starting with a neutral site game against Michigan. They play Tennessee, LSU and Georgia.

According the report, Michigan will play the toughest schedule in America, followed by Alabama, Ohio State and Rutgers.

How fast can FSU’s fabulous freshmen contribute to running game?

The question isn’t how good they are going to be someday. Heck, “someday” seems assured.

For FSU, the question is how good are their talented freshman running backs going to be this year. Not that there is any hurry, right?

Well, there kind of is. The Seminoles, and coach Jimbo Fisher,  open their season next year against Alabama (Sept. 2 in Atlanta), and the No. 1 priority is to replace dazzling running back Dalvin Cook. Oh, the Seminoles have some talented backs on campus, but are will they be ready right out of the gate?

Oh, FSU has incumbent backs: Junior Jacques Patrick, senior Ryan Green and sophomore Amir Rasul. Patrick has been in the FSU rotation (he had 350 yards rushing a year ago). But neither Green nor Rasul has been seen a lot.

Besides, the world seems to be all atwitter over the fabulous freshmen: Cam Akers, Khalan Laborn and Zachandre White, who come from Mississippi, Virginia and Florida. Can those three make an impact before the Seminoles face the Tide?

With Patrick getting the tough yards, the call seems to be for a home run hitter. Start with Akers, who rushed for 2,108 yards and a staggering 34 touchdowns. He’s shifting from quarterback, where he played in high school, but he figures to be an immediate contender for playing time.

Don’t count out Laborn, either. He rushed for 1,485 yards and 19 touchdowns, and he’s known for having an amazing burst.

Then there is White, who had 779 yards and six scores. He’s known as a tackle breaker, which means he would have to get his snaps from Patrick.

Together, they seem to have FSU poised for a very good running game. The only question is how long it will take.

FSU finishes its recruiting by signing another Top 10 player

A good day got even better for the FSU Seminoles Wednesday.

The Seminoles signed highly regarded defensive tackle Marvin Wilson.

Wilson had been rated as the No. 6 player in the country and the No.1 defensive tackle. His signing improved FSU’s standings to fourth in the ESPN rankings, although the Seminoles were still sixth in the 247sports.com rankings.

Wilson’s signing gives FSU three players in the top 10. No other team had more than two.

FSU lands two of nation’s top 10 players in recruiting class

The FSU Seminoles can claim a successful recruiting season after landing two of the nation’s top 10 products.

FSU has already enrolled running back Cam Akers, the nation’s second-ranked prospect, and defensive end Joshua Kaindoh, a defensive end.

The Seminoles had tried to bolster their class on signing day with sixth ranked Marvin Wilson, but there was no word by mid-day. Wilson is being recruited by six school.

FSU did miss out on linebacker Levi Jones, who spurned both FSU and Florida and signed with Southern Cal.

FSU has also replenished positions of need with depth in running backs Khalan Laborn and Zaquandre White, four-star safeties Cyrus Fagan and Hamsah Nasirildeen, and four-star quarterbacks James Blackman and Bailey Hockman. Four-star receiver D.J. Matthews is also considered the nation’s best slot receiver.

According to 247sports.com, it was the nation’s top five recruiting class for coach Jimbo Fisher.

FSU poised to add even more stars to impressive recruiting class

One day before national signing day, and the FSU Seminoles remain solidly in fifth place in the 247sports.com’s rankings.

The Seminoles have 21 recruits, with five slots left open. FSU is hoping to add another receiver, a defensive end, a defensive tackle, a linebacker and a safety. The Seminoles already have seven recruits enrolled, including much discussed running back Cam Akers.

In all, it looks like another solid class for coach Jimbo Fisher.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the Seminoles’ best chances are with five-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and four-star linebacker Levi Jones.

Elsewhere in the state, 247sports.com doesn’t like USF’s recruiting at all. It has the school ranked No. 118. That means new coach Charlie Strong will have to finish, well, strong.

Other state schools include Miami (No. 16), Florida (21), UCF (66), FIU (79) and FAU (79).

FSU president says he’s ‘deeply concerned’ about Donald Trump travel ban

John Thrasher, the former Republican lawmaker turned college president, released a statement Sunday saying Florida State University is “deeply concerned” about President Donald Trump‘s immigration order.

The order Trump issued Friday includes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.

The travel ban is causing confusion and uncertainty at universities nationwide, Thrasher says, causing disruption and worry among students, researchers, faculty and staff who are citizens of the countries involved in the ban, as well as their colleagues and friends.

While the impact of the order is reviewed and better understood, Thrasher and FSU are advising members of the FSU community who are from the affected countries to not make any plans to leave the U.S.

On Saturday night, a federal judge issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people subject to the travel ban. The judge said travelers who had been detained had a strong argument that their legal rights had been violated.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement early Sunday that said the court ruling would not affect the overall implementation of the White House order and it affected a relatively small number of travelers who were inconvenienced by security procedures upon their return. Trump’s aides insist the judgment has little impact.

Meanwhile. Thrasher said the safety and security of all FSU student is the highest priority.

In his statement, Thrasher acknowledges the valuable contribution of the scholars and students targeted by the immigration order.

“We all know that our university has long been enriched and strengthened by the cultural and intellectual diversity these scholars contribute,” Thrasher said.

A former House Speaker and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Thrasher is a respected voice in both politics and academia. His statement is at least the second one from a Florida university addressing Trump’s travel ban. On Sunday, the University of Miami released a statement expressing support for DACA students and employees.

FSU Seminoles face difficult football schedule in 2017

The FSU Seminoles have a good returning class. They seem primed for a good recruiting class.

Only one thing could get in the way of FSU.

The schedule. Coach Jimbo Fisher has his work cut out for him.

The Seminoles play one of the nation’s toughest schedules in 2017, which was confirmed Wednesday as the ACC announced it schedules. FSU plays both teams that were in the national championship game – Clemson and Alabama.

The Seminoles also play rivals Miami and Florida. They play Louisville, which beat them handily a year ago.

FSU opens its season Sept. 2 in Atlanta against the Crimson Tide, the plays Louisiana-Monroe, Miami, N.C. State, at Wake Forest, at Duke, Louisville, Boston College and Syracuse. The Noles wind up their season playibg at Clemson on Nov. 11, Delaware State on Nov. 18 at at Florida on Nov. 25. The ACC championship, should FSU make it, is scheduled for Dec. 2.

FSU finished eighth in the nation last season, behind national champion Clemson and runner-up Alabama.

FSU alumni make history with 8 Oscar nominations for ‘Moonlight’

The acclaimed film, “Moonlight,” from Florida State University graduate Barry Jenkins and his crew of FSU Film School alumni, has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Nominations for the 89th Annual Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning. Jenkins, who wrote the screenplay and directed “Moonlight,” was nominated in the Directing category. He shares a nomination for Adapted Screenplay with Tarell Alvin McCraney, who wrote the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” which was the basis for the film.

“Moonlight” earned nominations for:

Directing — Jenkins (FSU ‘03)

Best Picture — Adele Romanski (FSU ‘04), Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

Supporting Actress — Naomie Harris

Supporting Actor — Mahershala Ali

Cinematography — James Laxton (FSU ‘03)

Film Editing — Nat Sanders (FSU ’02) and Joi McMillon (FSU ‘03)

Adapted Screenplay — Jenkins and McCraney

Original Score — Nicholas Britell

Jenkins worked with a half dozen Florida State graduates on “Moonlight” — Adele Romanski, producer; Andrew Hevia, co-producer; James Laxton, cinematographer; Nat Sanders, editor; Joi McMillion, co-editor; and actor André Holland.

Reb Braddock, interim dean of the College of Motion Picture Arts, praised them.

“We could not be more proud of Barry Jenkins and his wonderful team of film school alums for their success,” Braddock said. “’Moonlight’ is a shining example of what we do here at the college. We combine talented groups of individuals and hone them into filmmaking teams who forge bonds as friends and collaborators for years to come.”

Valliere Richard Auzenne, an associate professor who taught each one of the “Moonlight” crew members when they attended FSU, also cheered their recognition.

“I’m so proud of all of them, but I’m not surprised,” said Auzenne, who teaches documentary filmmaking, film history and screenwriting. “Barry has always told interesting stories. He’s made difficult films. They aren’t films that make you feel good. They make you think and have complicated characters.”

“Moonlight” is a coming-of-age story that follows an African-American boy through his difficult childhood in a drug-plagued Miami neighborhood and into his early adult life.

Jenkins has said the film and its characters are similar to what he experienced growing up in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood.

Two other Florida State graduates were honored Tuesday with Oscar nominations for projects they helped lead.

Jonathan King, who graduated from FSU in 1992, was executive producer of the film “Deepwater Horizon.” It received nominations for Sound Editing and Visual Effects.

Also, Stephen Broussard — a 2003 graduate — was executive producer for “Doctor Strange,” which received a nomination for Visual Effects.

Oscars are awarded in 24 categories. A total of 336 feature films from 2016 were eligible for nominations.

The 89th Academy Awards are scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, in Hollywood. The ceremony will be televised in the United States on ABC at 7 p.m. EST and also appear in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.