2022 FSU position previews: Breaking down the Seminoles’ offensive Line
As we get closer to the start of the 2022 Florida State Seminoles football season, we’re breaking down each of FSU’s position groups. From the main names to newbies, we’ve got a look at all the players you need to know.
Next up, the offensive line.
Coach Alex Atkins has emphasized the need for his offensive lineman to be cross-trained to provide depth at multiple positions. This implementation will be noticeable as the offensive line is discussed in this article. The Seminole offensive line will have the flexibility to slide into multiple positions along the trenches.
For this article, Tomahawk Nation will also attempt to project the position for each player for the start of the season.
Redshirt sophomore Robert Scott, Jr.
The redshirt sophomore established himself as a key piece of the 2021 season. He’ll enter 2022 at 6’5, 334, with 18 starts at tackle now under his belt. In 2021, Scott fluctuated between right and left tackle before finally ending the season defending Jordan Travis’ blindside. For the season, Scott recorded a PFF grade of 66.6, the highest among the offensive line.
Started all 11 games in which he appeared…All-ACC Academic Team…ACC Honor Roll…Seminole Scholar…started at left tackle vs. No. 9 Notre Dame, vs. Jacksonville State, vs. North Carolina State, vs. Miami, at Boston College and at Florida…started at right tackle vs. Louisville, vs. Syracuse, at North Carolina, vs. UMass and at Clemson…blocked for offensive line that helped FSU convert 32 consecutive Red Zone trips into points, the longest active streak nationally to end 2021 and second-longest by any program at any point of season.
Redshirt senior Jazston Turnetine
FSU’s newest addition on the offensive line came at a position where the Seminoles have experienced razor-thin depth for multiple years. Turnetine brings size and experience to the offensive unit and will allow the Seminoles to have actual options at the tackle position. The redshirt senior enters camp after joining the Seminoles a little over a month ago. He is listed at 6’7, 336 with multiple starts against SEC-caliber opponents. The South Carolina transfer’s overall PFF grade was right below 50 last season.
Transfer from South Carolina…appeared in 18 games with 10 starts, all at left tackle, over two seasons with Gamecocks…started seven games in 2021 and helped South Carolina reach Duke’s Mayo Bowl…Gamecocks averaged 27.0 points per game and 392.7 yards of total offense per game in his seven starts…played in six games with three starts during 2020 season.
Redshirt junior Bless Harris
Another huge addition to the offensive line at the tackle position is redshirt junior Bless Harris. The transfer from Lamar had multiple starts at left tackle last season prior to an injury. Harris has the potential to slide inside if necessary, but will most likely start out working with the tackles— keeping in mind the cross-training mentality referenced above. The 6’5, 308 Harris heads into camp after a competitive spring that saw him handle his own against a step-up in competition.
Two-year contributor at Lamar…started five games at left tackle in spring 2021 season prior to injury…played in 10 games with two starts as redshirt freshman in fall 2019…helped block for Cardinal offense that ranked second in Southland Conference with average of 172.3 rushing yards per game.
Redshirt sophomore Darius Washington
If Dillan Gibbons is the leader on the field (see below), Washington has been the glue. The redshirt sophomore started all 12 games for the Seminoles last season, seeing time at right and left tackle. Overall, Washington’s PFF grade was in the mid-60s. He’ll enter camp at 6’4, 300 and is potentially the most versatile member of the offensive line. While slated as a tackle, Washington has the size and flexibility to easily shift inside.
Started all 12 games…started at right tackle for seven games and left tackle for five…FSU Most Improved Offensive Player…blocked for offensive line that helped FSU convert 32 consecutive Red Zone trips into points, the longest active streak nationally to end 2021 and second-longest by any program at any point of season.
Other tackles to know: Rod Orr, Lloyd Willis, Julian Armella, Jaylen Early
Projected starting offensive tackles
Robert Scott should be penciled in at left tackle. The opposite tackle spot is more up in the air with Washington’s experience competing against Turnetine’s massive size and Harris’ potential. We’ll go with Washington to start the season with his cross-training potential allowing him to see time at all three positions.
Redshirt senior Dillan Gibbons
The offensive line starts with Gibbons. The redshirt senior is a leader on the field among his peers but even more off the field with his charitable contributions to players and fans alike. Last season, Gibbons transferred in from Notre Dame and started 11 games for Florida State. He recorded a PFF grade in the mid-60s from the left guard position and enters 2022 at 6’5, 327.
Started all 11 games he appeared at left guard…honorable mention All-ACC…All-ACC Academic Team…Bill McGrotha Award winner…ACC Honor Roll…Seminole Scholar…Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team…named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week after FSU’s 35-25 win at North Carolina when Seminoles rushed for 238 yards and did not allow a sack or have a turnover…was FSU’s first conference offensive lineman of the week since 2016.
Redshirt senior D’Mitri Emmanuel
Another transfer, another redshirt senior. Emmanuel joins FSU from Charlotte where he started 25 games. He has experience at left tackle, right tackle, and left guard. Emmanuel reunites with Atkins after playing under him in Charlotte during the 2019 season. In his time at Charlotte, Emmanuel recorded over 1,500 snaps —- on 234 pass-blocking snaps, he did not allow a sack. He’ll enter the preseason camp at 6’2, 300 and carrying an overall 68.7 PFF grade from 2021.
Transfer from Charlotte…started 25 total games, including 24 consecutive starts from 2019-21…recorded starts at left tackle, right tackle and left guard for 49ers…started all seven games played in 2021 with five starts at left guard and two starts at right tackle…third-team All-Conference USA performer in 2020 after starting all six games played.
Redshirt sophomore Thomas Shrader
After picking up one start in the 2020 season, Shrader suffered a leg injury in the spring of 2021 causing him to miss the entire season. Now healthy, the redshirt sophomore will be one of the first linemen off the bench at the guard position. He’ll enter preseason at 6’5, 300 and look to recapture the flashes of potential he showed pre-injury.
2020: Appeared in four games with one start…ACC Honor Roll…started at left guard at North Carolina State, part of offensive line that featured four freshmen…was first time FSU started four freshmen on offensive line since 2011 Champs Sports Bowl…made collegiate debut at No. 12 Miami…also saw action vs. Pitt and in 56-35 win vs. Duke.
Other guards to know: Darius Washington, Bless Harris, Kaden Lyles, Maurice Smith, Zane Herring, Julian Armella, Jaylen Early
Projected starting offensive guards
These are the two easiest projections for the offensive line. Gibbons and Emmanuel should provide FSU’s best guard duo since the Jimbo Fisher era. Lyles, Harris, Washington, Shrader, and Smith all have the ability to play the guard spot, making it one of the deepest positions on the team.
Redshirt senior Kaden Lyles
FSU made it a point to load up on experience this offseason in the transfer market. Turnetine, Emmanuel, Harris, and Kaden Lyles combined for over 50 starts at their previous schools. After struggles at the center position late in the season, Atkins made it a priority to add another established center. Enter Lyles, a Wisconsin transfer with 16 starts. After picking up four starts at center in 2020, an injury set his progress back. Still recovering in 2021, Lyles recorded one more start for the Badgers. Lyles enters camp at 6’3, 315.
Three-year letterwinner at Wisconsin…appeared in 34 games with 16 starts for Badgers…named to 2021 Rimington Trophy Watch List…made one start in 2021…started first four games at center in 2020 before season-ending injury…appeared in 13 games with four starts at left guard as redshirt sophomore, helping Badgers win 10 games while advancing to Big Ten Championship Game and reaching Rose Bowl…appeared in 12 games with seven starts at defensive end in 2018.
Redshirt sophomore Maurice “Mo” Smith
Smith was FSU’s main choice at center throughout the 2021 season. After a strong start to the season, Smith wore down due to illnesses and injuries that prevented him from regaining the necessary strength to anchor the middle of the line. This drop in production saw his PFF grades fall to 50.6. Smith has worked hard this offseason and will enter camp looking to battle for the starting role at 6’3, 288.
Appeared in nine games with eight starts at center…blocked for offensive line that helped FSU convert 32 consecutive Red Zone trips into points, the longest active streak nationally to end 2021 and second-longest by any program at any point of season
Redshirt freshman Bryson Estes
Estes is a redshirt freshman and will serve as a backup for depth purposes. He is worth mentioning as a name to know as he is a player that has the ability to see the field this year if called upon. He enters camp at 6’3, 302 and provides much-needed competition for the offensive line.
Versatile offensive lineman with four years of experience…won three straight state titles…four-star prospect ranked as No. 5 center in America and 29th prospect in Georgia by ESPN… rated as Georgia’s No. 32 overall prospect by Rivals…ranked as No. 9 center prospect nationally and No. 48 overall prospect in Georgia on 247Sports Composite.
Other centers to know: Darius Washington
Projected starting center
If the guard position is the easiest to predict, the center position may be the most difficult. Lyles appeared to have the inside track at the spot but looked rusty during spring competition. This opened the door for a healthy Smith to make this a toss-up headed into preseason. At this time, we’ll predict Lyles as the season starter but would not be shocked if Smith retakes his spot.
The article would not be complete without discussing the new additions from the 2022 class. FSU will look to redshirt the entire class but there are a few names that could contribute if called upon this season.
At 6’6, 314, Armella does not have the typical size of an incoming freshman. The Florida State legacy has the skills and size to be part of the two-deep and could see playing time this season. Armella fits the cross-trained lineman that Atkins desires and could see time at either guard or tackle.
Five-star ranked as No. 1 prospect in Florida, No. 2 offensive tackle nationally and No. 16 overall in America by Rivals…rated as No. 5 interior offensive lineman in America and No. 18 overall prospect in Florida on 247 Composite…ranked 14th at his position and 36th in Florida by 247Sports…tabbed 170th in ESPN300…ranked 20th among all offensive tackles and No. 20 overall in Florida by ESPN…selected for All-American Bowl…played left tackle for St. Thomas Aquinas his senior season…led Raiders to 7A state championship and 14-1 record in 2021…played junior season at Columbus High School in Miami, helping Explorers post perfect record while earning MaxPreps Junior All-America status…made varsity debut in 2019 playing right tackle at St. Thomas Aquinas…MaxPreps Sophomore All-American after helping Raiders win state championship with 15-0 record…son of Enzo Armella, who played nose guard at FSU from 1991-94 and was part of the 1993 national championship team.
Similar to Armella, Early is also a lineman that can play at either guard or tackle. Another well-put-together freshman, at 6’4, 338, he has the size that will allow him to step in and contribute if necessary.
Consensus four-star prospect…ranked 296th in ESPN300…ESPN tabbed him as No. 6 offensive guard prospect nationally and 48th overall prospect from Texas…ranked as country’s No. 7 interior offensive lineman and No. 30 prospect from Texas by 247Sports…rated 14th nationally among interior offensive line prospects and 36th-best prospect in Texas on 247 Composite…ranked as No. 19 offensive tackle nationally and 33rd overall in Texas by Rivals…played tackle and guard during four years at Duncanville…helped lead Duncanville to 6A D1 state championship game in 2021…Panthers averaged 47.4 points per game during his senior season…helped lead Duncanville to semifinal round of state playoffs his junior year with average of 45.6 points per game…earned first-team all-district honors at offensive tackle his sophomore season after helping Panthers finish 15-1 and advance to state championship game…freshman year played on team that won 14 games and played for state title… teammates with fellow signee Jerrale Powers.
Other freshmen linemen: Antavious Woody, Kanaya Charlton, Qae’shon Sapp, Daughtry Richardson