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Five takeaways from Norvell on NSD

Florida State had just one signee on National Signing Day. But don’t think for a moment that one can’t be impactful in 2021 and beyond.

Norvell has known New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr receiver Destyn Hill for a few years and the prospect was able to make an on-campus official visit to FSU before the pandemic shut things down in March 2020. Familiarity with the staff, comfort with the campus and program as well as a clear path to playing time were clearly big for Hill.

“He is a complete receiver,” FSU coach Mike Norvell said on Wednesday. “I’ve watched Destyn since he was extremely young in high school. He really kind of burst onto the scene early in his high school career and has continued to get better. Coming from Edna Karr High School, one of the top programs in the state of Louisiana, he’s been a dynamic play maker for them. … Seeing Destyn and the way he’s matured, there’s not an area of his game that he has not put focus into that development.”

If there is one position group FSU had to address in the 2021 class it was receiver, where the Seminoles landed Josh Burrell and Malik McClain in December. Both have enrolled early and are taking part in offseason workouts. Hill adds to the group, and Kansas transfer Andrew Parchment is expected to arrive in the summer, too.

“To be able to add him (Hill) today, coupled with Malik McClain and Josh Burrell, that are here on campus right now, that is a great trio of young freshmen receivers who I think have an unbelievable ceiling for what they can accomplish,” Norvell said. “But I also think they’re going to bring a dynamic that can help our football team immediately with the maturity that they have.”

Here are five more thoughts from Norvell and you can watch the full video below:

What jumps out when watching Hill on the field?: “He’s a deep-play threat, he’s a great route runner. And he’s very smooth in all of his actions. Has wonderful hands. And when he gets the ball in his hands. He can definitely do great things with it in yards after the catch. A tough, physical receiver. And a very selfless teammate. You see the work he does when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands and the willingness to block, the willingness to do some of the dirty work. And will also bring a great dynamic to our special teams units as a kick returner.”

How did recruiting coordinator David Johnson, who was a New Orleans high school coach, helped to build a relationship?: “Coach Johnson is, No. 1, heart-led. It’s all about relationship. I’ll never forget the first time I met him when he was the head coach at St. Aug high school, the way that he treated coaches that came in from the college ranks, it was one of the first places I went when I became a full-time head coach. I remember that interaction and remember him coach his players. Leonard Fournette, who’s going to be playing in the Super Bowl. Ty Mathieu. Those guys were 8th graders and freshmen at the time. To see the development that they had under his leadership, it really spoke volumes to who he was as a man. To see him and the way his career has gone in the coaching ranks and the relationship he still has there, not just with the city of New Orleans but the state and Southeast region, he’s a great coach and a wonderful person. To be able to rely on those relationships, especially in a year like this where we weren’t able to get out as much as we’d want to, to be able to be in the homes and to be able to share the vision face-to-face and the evaluation in all aspects. Having those relationships has been big.”

Is the program building momentum in recruiting? “I think so. Every day that we get is an opportunity to continue to invest in the relationships. There’s been a huge focus on the ’22 class, we’ve been recruiting them very hard just through all methods, connecting to the high school coaches, the electronic correspondence and now even starting here this week being able to call those prospects here through the dead period. We’re trying to maximize the opportunity and when these kids get a better sense of who we are and understand where the program’s going, there is a great excitement, there is a sense of momentum for where we’re headed. To utilize those opportunities in building those relationships, I think that’s what’s contributing to it.”

What are your plans with remaining scholarships – is it a specific position or best available? “There’s one position-specific need that we’re absolutely going to address. And then, we’ll probably get to a best available. There’s a couple different options out there that we are discussing and exploring. But at the end of the day, it still has to come down to the right fit. I’ve been excited to see how this roster has kind of come about really throughout the recruiting cycle and now getting into today. You see the needs that have been addressed and met that are going to couple with some things that we want to do schematically but also some positional needs that create further competition. I’m excited about the development that I’m seeing from a lot of our young guys that are going through our offseason program as we’re in our fourth week. To know that we’re going to be able to have spring practice and there could be something that shows up during spring ball that might add to a need that we have for this next season with the transfer portal that could be addressed. We’re going to be patient through it, but also knowing that we do have some specific thoughts of what we’d like to accomplish with these last couple spots.”

What are your expectations for spring practice? “I can tell you that I’m as excited about this spring practice as I’ve ever been. It’s one of my favorite times as a coach, because that’s where the identity of your team gets to be established. The toughness, the, details, the fundamentals, the adjustments. Right now, we have a year under our belt and have a great sense of where our guys were, but also know what they’re building to be. We’re going to be able to adapt and adjust throughout those 15 practices and we’re going to maximize every one of them. We’re fully expecting that we’re going to we’re going to handle that and utilize those days the best that we can. That doesn’t mean that there’s not gonna, adjustments might have to be made. We’ll be willing and ready to do that. I think we’re well versed in adjusting to change. But we’re all excited about what spring ball is going to be for us. We still have half the winter program to continue to grow and build to prepare to put ourselves in the best position when we do step on the field there it’s March 9th.”