There is an appreciation for the first day of football practice. But there’s a greater appreciation when a player is coming back from multiple surgeries. Chubba Purdy perhaps appreciated Saturday even more.
The Florida State quarterback had a wide smile after taking part in the second practice with the Seminoles.
“It feels so good to be 100 percent healthy finally and I’ve been so blessed to be able to overcome everything that I have,” Purdy said. “I’ve had the right people by my side.”
Purdy first suffered an injury early in camp last August. He recovered and started at NC State in November but later had surgery on his left collarbone/shoulder before trying to come back this spring. After a few practices, Purdy opted to go home and finish his rehab there as he prepared for the start of preseason camp.
While he only played in three games as a true freshman, he showed a glimpse of his arm as well as scrambling. Purdy completed 15 of 21 passes for 181 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in his first start for FSU at NC State in November. For the season, he completed 27 of 53 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Purdy said he was at a low point after the NC State game but learned the importance of mental toughness and said he found support through his family, teammates and coaches.
“It’s been a couple months but I had a great time today,” Purdy said. “I had a great first day. It’s good to be back with all of my teammates.”
Coach Mike Norvell said Purdy is almost like a first-year player because of his limited reps in practice but remarked “it was a really good first day for him.”
“Chubba did some really good things today,” Norvell said. “You can see it’s been a long year for him. He has pushed, he has fought, he has stayed true to the work and all of the things he needed to do.”
Two DBs limited
Norvell said defensive backs Jarrian Jones and Demorie Tate would be limited for the early portions of camp.
One of the missing pieces from the offense last year was Jordan Wilson, who was injured in August 2020 and missed the year. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Wilson is expected to play a big role as a blocker but also as a receiver.
“I thought he had a great morning, to see even just some of the subtle things that he does,” Norvell said. “You have a tight end that’s almost 270 pounds, at his size and to be able to move like he does, it’s impressive. He’s got some natural route-running ability.”
Attention this preseason has focused on Jermaine Johnson, a Georgia transfer who was one of the standouts this spring and is expected to re-energize the pass rush. But Keir Thomas is another impact transfer from an SEC school, South Carolina. Thomas worked out at the FOX position on Saturday but could also slide inside.
“He was somebody that we were excited to see,” Norvell said. “And he’s been so engaged since the very first day he got on campus. Probably one of the smartest defensive linemen that we have, maybe one of the smartest football players that we have.”