Few players have seen as much change at Florida State as those on offense, who have had five play-callers in four seasons.
Gabe Nabers is one of those. He was recruited by Jimbo Fisher and played for Fisher, Willie Taggart and Odell Haggins twice as interim coach. Nabers has had Fisher, Randy Sanders, Walt Bell, Taggart and Kendal Briles as play-callers, too.
And Nabers also switched positions when Taggart arrived, moving from fullback to tight end.
“Coming here and being asked to block a lot more than I was used to,” Nabers said. “I just kind of took it as another opportunity to challenge (myself) and I wanted to accomplish something. … I knew that I was helping the team win and just doing my job.”
Not much was expected from Nabers going into 2019. With Tre’ McKitty and Camren McDonald ahead of him on the depth chart at tight end, it wasn’t clear that Nabers had a path to playing time.
But Nabers has seen a significant role as a blocker and also grabbed 10 passes for 131 yards, including two touchdown receptions (against Boise State and Virginia). He has seen the most playing time of his career as a senior after grabbing four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown in 2017 and ’18 combined.
“Catching is always something that either comes natural to you or it doesn’t,” Nabers said. “And so it’s definitely something you can work on now. This year I’m being asked to flex out and do what the tight end is asked of today. I saw that as the same thing – another challenge. Another thing that I can hang my hat on to show my coaches, my teammates and just anyone else.”
Nabers still takes pride in his blocking as he works his way out in front of receivers to block smaller defensive backs.
While FSU is just 5-5 in 2019, the seniors have a chance to make their final game at Doak Campbell Stadium a memorable one. The Seminoles need just a win over FCS Alabama State on Saturday to be bowl-eligible.
Among the FSU seniors who will be honored include Ricky Aguayo, Dontavious Jackson, Cole Minshew and Levonta Taylor. A pair of graduate transfers, Alex Hornibrook and Ryan Roberts, will also be honored.
Nabers said he expects to have his mom and grandmother in the stands for his final home game. And he’s closing in on earning a degree in sports management in the spring.
“I would really love to play in the NFL,” Nabers said. “Whatever a team needs me to do, special teams, whatever. So that’s my first goal is to play in the NFL. And then after that I’m in love with sports. And so sport management was easy degree for me to pick. Whether that’s something in sport marketing, just things of that nature, I’m really into how sport affects the world that people don’t really understand.”