No. 1 OT Julian Armella loves in-home visit, now ready for FSU official
The big weekend is almost here for the nation's top-rated offensive tackle.
After several unofficial visits to Florida State, Julian Armella finally will take his long-anticipated official visit to Tallahassee this weekend, and he won't be alone.
But before that happens, Armella got a special in-home visit from FSU head coach Mike Norvell and staff on Tuesday evening. And once that was done, the five-star lineman spoke with Warchant about that special meeting, what he likes about Norvell and OL coach Alex Atkins, what he has on tap for the rest of this week and more.
The Seminoles have made Armella a major priority throughout the recruiting process. And while the Seminoles have hosted him numerous times on visits to the FSU campus, Tuesday night brought Armella an opportunity to do the hosting as Seminoles coach Mike Norvell made an in-home visit.
"The main part of this visit was Coach Norvell getting a chance to meet my mom face to face," Armella said. "They have talked over the phone and really started that relationship. We just talked about the different things going on with the program, what their values are, and how I fit into the program. And the things they like about me."
So what did Armella's mother think about the meeting?
"She told me right after he left that he's very humble, very intelligent and you can tell he's a very heartfelt coach and he cares a lot," the five-star lineman said. "That was what I was looking for, and I wanted her to meet the man that damn near [since] he got the job he's been recruiting me. ...
"I was just excited to see Coach Norvell and [happy] we could host him tonight because he's a great man. And honestly, he's the future at Florida State to say the least."
FSU offensive line coach Alex Atkins also has had good conversations with Armella and his mother.
"When Coach Atkins was here, we talked about the type of relationships and what the right fit is for me and that's what I have to look at," the St. Thomas Aquinas star said. "On my upcoming decision, it's which school can value and use me in every aspect of my life in college. Whether it's football, business or anything."
If Armella ends up signing with the Seminoles, Atkins obviously would be his position coach. And the nation's top-ranked offensive tackle made it clear how much he would appreciate that opportunity.
"Coach Atkins is such a great dude," Armella said. "There's not enough positive things I could say about him. The main thing about him that makes our relationship different would probably be that he's been there from Day One. It's way more than just football or the recruiting. It's about the family. It's more than football."
As far as the 2021 season went for Florida State, Armella kept a close eye on what the Seminoles were doing on the field. And there might not have been a more exciting moment in his eyes than the fourth-and-14 FSU converted during its upset win over Miami.
"I was watching that FSU-Miami game with my girlfriend at home, and everyone else was outside," Armella said. "And when that fourth-and-14 play happened, I was damn near happy as hell. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I could not believe it. You can really tell and see the strides the program has made with Coach Norvell and Coach Atkins.
"Less than three years ago, they had the worst team in general. The improvement they have made is there. Coach Atkins had two [Freshman] All-Americans last year. It's just going to keep getting bigger, and that's what I'm looking forward to."
This weekend, the five-star tackle will get another close look at FSU when he takes his official visit to Tallahassee. But equally important will be the fact that his mother will get to see things for herself.
"I'm going to make sure my mom enjoys it all because I've been up there a bunch, and I've seen it a lot," Armella said. "Just making sure the relationships keep moving forward and my mom gets to meet all the coaches and hang out and vibe with the coaches and put the football stuff to the side. I already know what FSU is about, and FSU knows what I'm about. It's about continuing that relationship with my mom."
Before that FSU trip, Armella actually will make a stop in Gainesville to check out the Florida Gators before heading over to Tallahassee for the weekend.
It's just the continuation of a very busy few weeks for the highly coveted offensive lineman. On Friday, Dec. 17, he and his St. Thomas Aquinas teammates will take on Tampa Bay Tech for the state championship.
"There's not a better feeling then playing for a state title," Armella said. "These are my brothers that I grew up with since my freshman year. It's a blessing to have an opportunity to win another state title -- a three-peat, which hasn't been done before. I'm so thankful. I thank God every day for this."
The 6-foot, 5-inch lineman also likes getting chances to show off how much improvement he has made during his senior year.
"I would probably say my footwork is where I've improved with my game," he said. "It was a little sloppy in the summer. I could just get away with bullying people because of my size. Then when I lost my weight, I almost turned into a basketball player in how I could move. The reality at the next level is you are going to go against guys with good speed. You can't have slow feet, because slow feet don't eat. I've gained a little weight in that I'm 285 or 290 right now. I also know I'm going to get bigger in college, but I don't want to push it right now."
So what position would he play if he signs with the Seminoles?
"FSU wants me at left tackle, but I can play swing tackle or swing guard," Armella said. "I have tried center before, but I probably won't play there."
As far as his college decision, Armella plans to make his announcement on Dec. 15, the first day of the early signing period. He's down to four schools: FSU, LSU, Alabama and Florida.
Over the next week, he will narrow it down to one.
"Just being able to sit down with my family and coaches and go over all the positives and all the negatives," Armella said. "See which positives outweigh the negatives and see what the best fit for me is. I'm starting to slowly paint the picture, but I still need to visit Florida and then Florida State this weekend."