It’s no secret Florida State struggled last year with its offensive line play, averaging 2.8 yards per rushing attempt. And defenses constantly harassed quarterbacks.
Coach Willie Taggart and staff have made adding talent and depth to this position group a priority for the 2020 recruiting class.
The Seminoles took their first step in shoring up their offensive line when they took the commitment of Madison County High School offensive lineman Zane Herring. The 6-foot-5 and 300-pound rising senior committed to FSU in March after considering the Seminoles’ offer for over a year.
“They were my first Power 5 offer and it was special to have from them because they are 45 minutes away from us and my whole family is made up of Florida State and Florida fans,” Herring said of his recruitment by the Seminoles.
Relationships are important to Herring and he credits the entire FSU staff, past and present, for his future being in garnet and gold.
“My relationship with the coaching staff progressed from then all the way up until I committed and still is,” said Herring.
While the current staff certainly closed the deal with Herring, it was former FSU offensive line coach Greg Frey who established the relationship that would ultimately lead to the young offensive lineman’s commitment.
“At first I was really connected to Coach Frey and we really built a strong bond and I was going to commit while he was there. I already had a strong bond with the whole staff but it was tightest with him,” Herring said. “So once Coach Frey left FSU I knew I had to have a strong relationship with Coach Clements (new FSU offensive line coach Randy Clements). A lot of people say you shouldn’t go to a school based off the coaching staff but that’s who you are going to be with for four or five years. That has to be part of your decision. I knew I had to have a great bond with Coach Clements before I could commit.”
It didn’t take long for Herring and his future position coach to hit it off.
“Once I got to know him, sit down and talk with him and go over the plays, I decided it was time to make my decision and I didn’t want to go anywhere else,” said Herring, who also considered offers from UCF and Georgia Tech, among others.
When asked what tipped the scales in the Seminoles’ favor, the promising lineman said it was the way the FSU staff made he and his family feel on an unofficial visit to Tallahassee in what the FSU coaching staff dubbed “Zane Herring Day.”
“I think when the FSU staff had ‘Zane Herring Day’ on one of my visits, my whole family was there and having them enjoy it as much as I did,” Herring said of FSU securing his commitment.
Winning over Zane was only part of the challenge for the Seminoles. While his grandparents have been Seminoles for years, Herring and his dad had been lifelong Gator fans until FSU began recruiting him. His commitment to FSU has brought about some changes in the Herring home.
“I grew up a Gator fan, a diehard Gator, since the day I was born all the way up until I committed,” Herring said. “My dad has a wedding ring with a gator on it and he traded it out for another wedding ring. He has thrown out all of his Gator shirts and other stuff. My room had a lot of Gator stuff in it but we threw it out too and it’s all Florida State now.”
Herring has started since he was a sophomore in high school and has played mainly right guard but has the versatility to play any of the five positions along the line. He said FSU staff hasn’t determined yet where Herring will line up once he arrives on campus as an early enrollee in January.
“I am most comfortable at right guard or right tackle but they have told me they want to get me there first and see what I can do and where I could be best,” said Herring.
The three-year starter has continued to gain attention and offers from other schools but says he is firm in his commitment to the Seminoles.
“There have been a few colleges who that have come by and say they would offer me if I wasn’t already committed, but I have been straight up with them. I told them I am 110-percent committed to FSU,” said Herring.
Earlier this week the Osceola took a closer look at 2020 quarterback commit Jeff Sims from Jacksonville Sandalwood High School.