Notes: Norvell to maximize break, hitting recruiting trail

Florida State’s football practices for the bye week wrapped up on Wednesday morning. Mike Norvell and the rest of the staff won’t get much of a break, though.

Norvell can’t talk about specific commitments or prospects he may be watching — and he can’t talk to them in person since it’s an NCAA-mandated evaluation period — but he will be on the road the next four days.

“I’ve been on the road a few times already,” Norvell said. “I’ll be at games tonight til Saturday night. Just rolling, trying to get out (and watch prospects).”

The bye week comes at a good time for FSU (2-4, 2-2 ACC). The Seminoles have a chance to recharge and recover from injuries. Coaches also have a chance to go and watch games or practices as well as meet high school coaches, guidance counselors and other school administrators.

For Norvell and the assistants, the timing is good. No college coach could go off campus to recruit face to face during the pandemic until the NCAA lifted the prolonged dead period on June 1. Norvell and the staff made the best of it by hosting second-graders through eighth-graders in camps around the state in May, then returned to Tallahassee for a mega camp as well as others for offensive and defensive linemen.

“There’s been so many challenges when it comes to recruiting since I’ve been the head coach here,” Norvell said. “So many limited opportunities. I’m trying to take advantage of all of those. Our coaches will all be on the road working.”

FSU’s class of 2022 features 18 commitments and is ranked No. 1 in the ACC and No. 11 in the nation by 247Sports. Defensive lineman Trevion Williams, who is from Mississippi, remains verbally committed to FSU but has said he is evaluating his options.

The December early signing period is Dec. 15-17.

Johnson a semifinalist for Lombardi

Senior defensive end Jermaine Johnson II is one of 12 semifinalists for the Lombardi Award, presented to the nation’s top offensive or defensive lineman.

Johnson, from Eden Prairie, Minn., is a two-time ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week and leads all defensive linemen in the conference with 44 tackles. His 7.0 sacks are the most in the Power 5 and third in the country, while his 9.5 tackles for loss on the year are second in the ACC.

Johnson became the first FSU player with at least a half-sack or more in the first four games of a season since 2000.

Four finalists for the Lombardi Award will be announced on November 9 with a winner named on December 8.

Opportunity for reps

Norvell said coaches have been able to get younger players or those who haven’t had as many game reps time on the practice field on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We’ve got some quality young guys,” Norvell said. “It’s also an opportunity for guys that think they should be playing more to go prove it. Some guys are taking advantage of it, some guys not so much.”

Players get a break

FSU won’t hold a practice until Sunday. Players that have classes will be required to attend, but those who have online classes can go home. Norvell said about half will be in Tallahassee, with the other half going back home.