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Courtney, Powers bring athleticism, speed to TE spot

Florida State coach Mike Norvell has stated that his offense is built for playmakers. The Seminoles’ coaches think they may have two headed their way in the form of Brian Courtney and Jerrale Powers, who both signed with Florida State last week on the first day of the NCAA’s early signing period. And while neither has lined up much at the traditional tight end position in high school, FSU tight ends coach Chris Thomsen thinks both signees have the potential to make that transition at the major college level.

Courtney, who is 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, played quarterback, linebacker and safety for Ashburn (Va.) Independence High School, where he was considered a three-star prospect and the 70th-rated athlete in the class of 2022. As a senior, Courtney threw for more than 1,000 yards while completing 76 percent of his passes. He also ran for 763 yards while averaging over 10 yards per carry.

Powers, who is 6-4 and 238 pounds, is also a three-star prospect who lined up as a slot receiver for Duncanville (Texas) High School the vast majority of his high school career. This season he helped his team reach the 6-A state title game, which was played this past weekend.

“Both of these guys are going to have to make some transition to playing the real tight end position in terms of mostly just blocking,” said Thomsen of the pair.

The longtime college coach says he has seen high school quarterbacks make the transition from signal-caller to pass-catcher very successfully over the course of his career.

“Brian is a high school quarterback,” began Thomsen of Courtney. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach a couple of high school quarterbacks that made the transition to tight end in college that eventually played in the NFL. So if you look at a lot of tight end’s backgrounds, a lot of the time there is some quarterback in there, so that will help him adjust. Knowing what the quarterback is actually looking at will help him in the route game. He will just have to learn to block, and he has already started that process. Aand I have no doubt that he will be able to transition.”

Another attribute that Thomsen thinks will help Courtney make the transition to a new position is his speed.

“He is a guy that runs in the 4.5 range,” said Thomsen. “We have verified time of him in camps doing that. He is a big, explosive, strong guy. He’ll be a great special teams player.”

Thomsen also likes the leadership ability he was able to witness from Courtney in-person once the Covid-related NCAA dead period was lifted earlier this year.

“When you go into his high school, all they talk about his how his leadership elevated that program,” Thomsen said.

Powers also brings some of those some attributes to the table, according to Thomsen.

“Jerrale, not a quarterback, but a slot receiver, but a guy that will have to learn how to end-line block a little bit, not used to that but comes from a great program who is playing for the state championship this weekend, in one of the highest classifications in Texas.”

Like Courtney, Powers has plenty of physical tools for Thomsen to work with once he arrives on campus.

“He is an explosive guy,” said Thomsen of Powers. “He is longer, he measured 6-4 and 238 on his visit and has the potential to be a 250-guy. And he can run. He ran some verified 4.7 times at camps, so if you stack up tight ends, that is one of the better times that you’ll see.

“Both of these guys are high-end athletes, (from) really good programs, good leadership, great character, great families, we are excited about those guys.”