Top linemen in 2023, ’24 classes building relationship with Atkins

Florida State’s elite and mega camps featured a variety of top players from Florida and the Southeast. But perhaps none more than along the offensive line, where prospects have made the trek to Tallahassee to meet or continue to build relationships with Alex Atkins.

One of the state’s top offensive tackles in the 2023 class, Roderick Kearney of Orange Park, participated in the Elite camp on Saturday evening and then observed Sunday’s mega camp workouts. Kearney is considered one of the top 25 offensive tackles by Rivals and among the top 30 players in the state by 247Sports.

Kearney said he has formed a good relationship with Atkins, FSU’s offensive line coach and offensive coordinator, through the years. It’s one that is built on candid coaching and constructive criticism.

“Not just a great coach, he’s a great mentor to be around and a great person,” Kearney said. “I definitely feel like I got a lot of experience in those camps.”

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Kearney has ideal size, is physical and athletic. He’s also displayed the ability to play center, guard or tackle. That versatility matches up well with what Atkins wants in linemen.

Kearney said he plans to commit in December and enroll early at his school of choice in January 2023. He is considering FSU, Florida, Arkansas and a few other schools. When asked what he liked about FSU, a school he has visited frequently this year, Kearney smiled and said, “Everything.” 

One of the breakout prospects at the camp was 2024 offensive tackle Jimothy Lewis. The Madison, Miss., native is 6-5 and 290 pounds as he prepares for his junior season. And interest is growing in Lewis, who was offered by FSU this weekend. A number of SEC schools are also in pursuit. 

Lewis said he was able to learn from Atkins and other instructors at FSU’s camp.

“I’ve never done most of the drills out here,” Lewis said. “So I can take them home and get better over time. I learned to be more precise with everything, make sure you fix the little mistakes. He (Atkins) is a precise coach.”

Lewis plans to compete in camps at Alabama and Georgia, as well as others this summer. He said his recruitment remains open. When asked specifically about FSU he mentioned the people he had met and said, “Florida State will be up there with everybody else.”

FSU also offered 2023 offensive tackle Tai Ray, an Apopka native who is 6-6 and 290 pounds. He has not been rated by the recruiting services but is accumulating offers from the likes of South Florida, Appalachian State and Middle Tennessee. Ray also said he is planning to visit Pittsburgh.

Osceola editor Bob Ferrante contributed