Clark: Breaking down FSU Football's top transfer portal priorities
We're in late April now, and just about every college football program in the country has either played its spring game already or is about to have it this weekend.
And May 1 is the deadline for football players -- and athletes in all fall sports -- to at least enter the transfer portal if they plan to be eligible at their new schools by this fall.
So, get ready fine people. The portal (also known as the Quicker Fixer-Upper) is about to hit overdrive across the country.
With that in mind, it's a good time to examine what positions Mike Norvell and his Florida State staff still need to target here in the coming weeks.
Personally, I would start by going after an offensive tackle. Maybe a five-star kid from an SEC school. One that is looking for a chance to play immediately. And I wouldn't take no for an answer!
Until, you know, he says no. And then we move on!
Seriously, though, I know the Amarius Mims saga was a huge bummer. He would've been an immediate and sizeable upgrade. And instead, he went back into the same portal hole he came out of, and FSU still has what I think is a pretty big need on the offensive line.
But is it the biggest on the team right now?
That, I'm not so sure.
Because as I look at the current construct of this team, I think the three positions that could definitely use a veteran, experienced piece are wide receiver, offensive line and defensive line.
Perhaps in that order.
Let's start with wideout.
Florida State's coaching staff saw the same thing we all did a season ago: The Seminoles' wide receivers were not good. As a group, they were arguably one of the worst and least productive in all of the Power 5.
Well, they made a point of addressing that after the season.
Four Power 5 transfers -- West Virginia's Winston Wright, Oregon's Mycah Pittman, Arizona State's Johnny Wilson and Illinois' Deuce Spann -- all enrolled at Florida State in January and were here for the start of spring practice in March. They were four of the Seminoles' 10 mid-year transfers.
But here we are in late April, and the only one of those guys that seems like an absolute sure thing for 2022 is Pittman. He proved this spring he's the real deal and will be a playmaker for this team.
Well. Let's just say there's some question marks there.
First and foremost: We don't even know if Wright, who was THE big pick-up at the position, will even play in the fall. He sustained a leg injury in that unfortunate car accident last month, and we have not heard any official prognosis on when he might return.
And the fact that they're not saying he'll be back in August leads me to think he won't be back in August. I could be wrong. But if that's the case, that he won't be 100 percent for the preseason, then you wonder how much, if at all, he'll be able to play in 2022. And even if he can play, how much will the injury still linger? How effective will he be without a spring practice and much of preseason?
So, your one guaranteed transfer receiver, the one who had done it and done it well at this level, is a big ol' question mark.
So is Wilson. The dude has immense talent to go along with his immense frame. He will play a role on this team this year. I firmly believe that. But is he good enough to be a No. 1 receiver? Or a No. 2?
I legitimately don't know. He made some unbelievable catches this spring, he does a really nice job of positioning his 6-foot, 7-inch body to make sure he can post up smaller defensive backs, but he doesn't always catch the football. You saw that in the Garnet & Gold game. He's still a bit raw. And thus another big ol' question mark.
And then there's the former quarterback Spann, who I think is probably a year away because he's still learning the position.
So, what started out as a really nice transfer wide receiver class is now very much up in the air. Which is why I think the Seminoles need to go get themselves another one. Especially if they know for sure Wright won't be available for all or a portion of the season.
The good news is that the portal is open 24/7, and there will be guys flooding that bad boy who don't intend to Mims it and jump back out.
Go get a player who has had real success at the Division-I level. Preferably Power 5, but if someone from a smaller conference has put up some gaudy numbers, that could work, too. Just make sure you're getting someone you KNOW can play the position at this level.
Someone who has made big plays in games before, someone who has converted third downs and hopefully scored a few touchdowns in their career. Someone who can help. Immediately.
Then I'd move to the offensive line.
I think Florida State is already improved there. But I also think Florida State should always, always, always be looking to get a ready-made starter if one is available. Maybe even a guy who can play in the league one day! Wouldn't that be nice?
The Seminoles have already brought in two OL transfers this year in Bless Harris from Lamar and Kayden Lyles from Wisconsin. Those guys were here in the spring, and both might very well end up starting this fall.
But that doesn't mean you have to be done in the portal.
For Florida State to take the next step as a program, the offense simply has to get better. That's the reality. It's been below average in Norvell's first two years, and frankly looked below-average for much of the spring. Or, to put it another way, the first-team offense looked to have the same issues it did last fall -- even with the two new transfers up front.
So go fortify that offensive line. Go get another player. Not just a body. Not just depth. But a guy who can start.
And finally, I think I'd finish off with defensive line.
I like what I saw from that unit for most of the spring. I think Albany transfer Jared Verse is the real deal. We all know what Robert Cooper and Fabien Lovett are inside, and then Derrick McLendon really did look like one of the most improved players on the team in the spring. Dennis Briggs should be back to full speed soon as well.
But, man, you wouldn't mind another sure thing on that defensive line, would you? Especially on the edge?
Verse is a physical freak, a potential phenom. He's also never played a single snap of Power 5 football. So, let's not expect him to be Jermaine Johnson overnight.
And as improved as McLendon looked in the spring, until he does it at a high level in actual football games, let's just say the defensive end position is still a question mark.
So, if one becomes available, one that you know can play, one that you know can make a difference (so, the opposite of Marcus Cushnie -- no offense, Marcus!) then go ahead and make that happen. By any means necessary!
Florida State still has to make some room on the roster for these transfers to happen, but that will get done in the coming days as more players hit the portal. Already gone in the last week are LB Jadarius Green-McKnight, TE Koby Gross, WR Jordan Young and DB Hunter Washington.
While I would prioritize the three positions I mentioned already, Florida State is still very much in a place where it should also take the "best player available" approach. I think the Seminoles have a strong secondary, but if a potential All-America safety puts his name in the portal, then don't hesitate.
Same at linebacker. Same at running back. Same at quarterback! Florida State should always be on the lookout for special. A certified game-changer.
Odds are there won't be many All-Americans entering the portal here in the next week or so, but there will be a whole lot of potential starters. Guys who can help instantly.
As improved as this roster is from when Norvell got here -- and it's improved exponentially -- there is still room for better players.
It's 2022. The portal is wide open.
So, go find some more.
Contact senior writer Corey Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @Corey_Clark on Twitter.