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Emmanuel finds comfort in familiarity with Atkins at FSU

D’Mitri Emmanuel said he had six offensive line coaches in his years at Charlotte. When he went in the transfer portal, he ended up reconnecting with one of them in Florida State’s Alex Atkins.

“My first impressions of coach Atkins, I honestly kind of just saw how real he was,” Emmanuel said on Friday. “And then obviously, just throughout the time leading up to the season going through offseason workouts, he’s the guy that he’s gonna push you on the field. And then off the field, he really cares for you. To me, that’s really where the relationship started. And then rekindling the relationship when I was in the portal, obviously it was it was good. Obviously, this being my last year, it was one of those things that just made sense for me. I had six offensive line coaches at Charlotte. So just coming back to a coach that I’m familiar, this being my last year, just made sense for me.”

The relationship with Atkins as well as the opportunity to develop in his final college season appealed to Emmanuel, who made 25 starts at Charlotte at left tackle, right tackle and right guard. That type of versatility is valued by Atkins, and Emmanuel will likely settle in at right guard but could also find practice time (and perhaps playing time) at right tackle.

“Honestly, there’s not really a spot I prefer,” Emmanuel said. “I love offensive line. I think it’s honestly a skill. It’s a craft. And I really love playing any position, so I really don’t have a preference. Wherever I need to be to help the team is where I’m probably going to be playing.”

Emmanuel also talked with former FSU lineman Devontay Love-Taylor, who transferred from FIU to FSU ahead of the 2020 season.

“I spoke to Devontay Love-Taylor just a little bit earlier in the process of the transfer portal, just because he’s a guy that came from Conference USA and made the transition to the ACC,” Emmanuel said. “That was just definitely a guy that I wanted to reach base with and that was really probably the main person I reached out to.”

Emmanuel was asked to assess his skill set and what he brings to FSU, and he outlined his strengths as well as where he needs to improve.

“FSU is going to get leadership out of me,” Emmanuel said. “I feel like with my experience, offensive line is a developmental position. So oftentimes, especially when I was a young player, you made mistakes and stuff but you have to make those mistakes to grow from. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career (that) I’ve learned from. I would say my pass protection is probably a strength in my game right now. Areas of improvement, just overall finishing plays and sustaining blocks. And I would say just want to keep improving in the run game.”

A native of North Carolina, it was clear Emmanuel had some familiarity with FSU having watched games in the past on TV. In just a short time since arriving on campus he has found comfort in those around the program.

“Obviously Florida State is a program that’s been winning for a long time, and so just naturally you see it on TV,” Emmanuel said. “I wasn’t too familiar with a lot of the stuff that goes on here. But when you just come to Florida State’s campus and you just get the feel, they love football here and it’s a lot of tradition, there has been a lot of great players play here and gone to NFL and done a lot of good things after the NFL too and come back. And you’ll see the family-type of vibe that is here. That’s obviously something that attracted me to Florida State.”

The Osceola’s Jerry Kutz, Mark Salva and Charles Fishbein broke down game film of Emmanuel here.