One of the missing pieces to Florida State’s offense last fall was Jordan Wilson, who gives Florida State a tight end capable of being a lead blocker in the run game but also supporting an offensive tackle in pass protection.
Wilson’s healthy return for FSU’s preseason camp is a welcome sign. At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Wilson has the frame and experience to play a supporting but integral role in FSU’s offense.
“You can see just physically he’s a different guy than what we had and gives us a physical element in that group,” tight ends coach Chris Thomsen said. “Just a bigger body and athleticism. Brings a lot of experience. He’s done a great job in camp. He’s had to learn the system. It’s one thing to hear it on paper in the meeting room but to actually go out there on the field and have to execute it, he’s done a great job in camp of putting it all together.”
A grad transfer from UCLA, Wilson returned to FSU for a sixth season and offers the coaches a tight end who could complement Camren McDonald. Wilson has his limitations as a receiver, hauling in 25 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns at UCLA, but could be a red-zone or goal-line threat in addition to his value as a blocker.
It’s clear Camren McDonald has made improving as a blocker a priority, and he’s assertive in blocking drills in camp. McDonald has evolved from a wide receiver / flex tight end into a 242-pound tight end who brings more versatility to FSU.
“He’s always been a gifted route runner,” Thomsen said. “He’s a natural pass catcher. He gets in and out of breaks. He does all the things as a receiving tight end that you want him to do. He’s worked really, really hard at in-line blocking, perimeter blocking, blocking out of the backfield. But also leadership-wise. He’s a guy that does a lot in the community. I think that inspires other guys.”
Thomsen has a large group of first- and second-year tight ends, including the likes of Marketson Douglas, Carter Boatwright, Jackson West and walk-on Preston Daniel as well as true freshman Jackson West.
“Preston Daniel has had a tremendous camp,” Thomsen said. “He’s worked extremely hard on anything we’ve asked him to do. Markeston has really flashed in a lot of ways. His size jumps out. Carter is 245 pounds, he’s gotten a lot bigger. Jackson brings a physical edge and has had a good camp. Like any freshman, he’s still trying to learn some of the basics of what we’re doing.”
Fuller making most of reps
Quashon Fuller hasn’t seen as much playing time, just five games and three tackles in his first two years at FSU. But he has shown glimpses of what he can offer in preseason camp and is learning from veterans who have transferred in like Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas.
“This has been the most confident I have been,” Fuller said. “A lot of our young guys have played last season. Not only to me but everybody around me it’s second nature. When we have questions everybody doesn’t hesitate to ask each other questions and we all learn from each other.”
Fuller also credited his high school coach at Lehigh Senior, James Chaney, for helping in his development. Chaney played for FSU from 1988-91.
“I miss him so much,” Fuller said. “Coach Chaney, I feel like he has done nothing but prepare me for the next level. He’s done a great job. Everything that I’ve done here, I’ve learned it early because of him. I was blessed to meet coach Chaney at a young age and he has done nothing but show me the way ever since I met him.”
One notable observation
Andrew Parchment has taken a step forward in the last few practices. He’s definitely come a long way from the first few days of camp, ones where he was struggling with the conditioning but also wasn’t pushing himself hard enough. Parchment has responded well to coaching and he is being pushed each rep by coach Mike Norvell and wide receivers coach Ron Dugans.