Fabien Lovett is thankful. He makes frequent FaceTime calls home to Mississippi to see his infant son, Fabien Lovett Jr., who will be eight months old on Oc. 28.
And the defensive tackle is thankful for the support from the community of Florida State fans and friends who have donated more than $14,000 toward a GoFundMe to help cover Lovett Jr.’s medical bills.
“It was very successful,” Lovett said after Wednesday’s practice. “He has to eat out of a tube through his stomach because he can’t drink the milk properly. If he drinks the milk it will go into his lungs.”
Lovett said the bills added up and he created the fundraiser about a week ago with a goal of $10,000. It was quickly exceeded and, as of Wednesday afternoon, 330 people had donated.
“It was shocking but honestly but also it was a blessing,” Lovett said. “I didn’t think it was going to blow up like that. But at the end of the day the Noles looked out (for me). I’m happy they did.”
Lovett said becoming a father has matured him and he’s learned “to make the smart choices. It’s not just about you no more.” He is more grounded and clearly has goals for the short and long term, saying “I got somebody to live for and work for.”
Lovett feels having a family has helped him push harder on the football field. He had 14 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in his first season at FSU following a transfer from Mississippi State, but he has shown his energy and is active on the defensive interior with 18 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
“It’s forced me to lock in more and be on top of everything,” Lovett said. “Compared to last season I’ve made big improvements on everything because he drives me.”
Lovett has made three starts this season and was in line to start at UNC on Oct. 9 before encouraging defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins to instead let Malcolm Ray take the start. He felt his teammate had practiced and prepared better, giving Ray a chance to show what he can do as part of the rotation.
“Fabien Lovett went up to Coach Haggins and says, ‘I want Malcolm Ray to start,’ ” defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said two days after the win over UNC. “Ok, is that a big deal? I think so. It shows unselfishness, shows togetherness, shows a brotherhood, and it’s not about winning a job, losing a job, it just shows confidence in each other. It talks about just the respect level in that defensive room and in our team.
“Fabien is playing really good football. He’s backing up everything that I thought he would.”
When Lovett was in the game, he was effective. He had a season-high five tackles in helping FSU stun UNC on the road. “I think I performed pretty good but I feel like I could have performed a lot better,” Lovett said.
While coach Mike Norvell was disappointed by what he felt was an inconsistent Wednesday practice, he unprompted mentioned Lovett as one of the bright spots day in and day out for the Seminoles.
“Watching Fabien Lovett go through a practice? Yes, yes,” Norvell said. “He’s growing. Really growing up.”