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After almost a year on the sidelines, Jarred Haggins couldn't take it any more. He was in a locker room in Pasadena, and he wanted to be as much a part as possible of Florida State's national championship game.
So Haggins, despite being injured and unable to play, dressed out, putting on pads and his uniform and helmet with the rest of the team. He even warmed up, going through the routes with such commitment that FSU's younger wide receivers asked if Haggins was going to play.
"I was so live," Haggins said. "I was trying to pump everybody up. They actually thought I was going to play. Jitters, butterflies, it was just as if I was going to play."
But Haggins didn't. He went back to the locker room, took off the pads and watched from the sidelines, just like every other game last season.
"It was really hard from the aspect of not being able to play, but also really hard knowing how hard I had worked in my rehab to try and come back because I knew there was a chance we would be going back," Haggins said. "But I was happy for my teammates."
Haggins is healthy now, and hoping to use the 2014 spring to vault back into FSU's wide receiver rotation and make the most of his final year at FSU. So far in his career, Haggins has 20 catches for 206 career yards, and is still seeking his first touchdown.
"Aw man it's a blessing," Haggins said. "Since I've been here it's been injuries from here and there. But it's a blessing to get back out there with my bros. It's been a whole l year since I've done anything, so to get back out there is a relief."
Haggins was always healthy in high school, so the injuries that have pockmarked his career at Florida State have been doubly frustrating. His sophomore campaign began with promise, but he broke his hand against Oklahoma and only played in seven games. 2013 was billed as a season for him to potentially move up the depth chart, but a kneecap fracture derailed his entire season. It wasn't until shortly after the national championship game that Haggins finally felt 100 percent.
"I was running everywhere after that," he said. "From here to the training room. Every chance I got I was able to run. It was the best feeling. I whole year of not doing anything, just sitting back, watching my teammates. Getting back and getting in the groove of things, it's just a blessing."
Now, Haggins is in line yet again to potentially step up for an even more wide-open receiving rotation. He's one of three seniors, two of them fifth-year, on the roster. He said he's gained weight in the offseason and had to be told to stay out of the weight room. He's up to 205 pounds from 195 in previous years, and is one of the primary candidates to replace Kenny Shaw at slot receiver.
Jimbo Fisher said Haggins has stood out to him in the slot at times, and that Haggins seems to be running better than he ever has. Even a tweaked hamstring during spring practice didn't derail Haggins.
"My teammates, are telling me to keep my head strong because I obviously play a major role as far as our leadership and being on the unity council," Haggins said. "They tell me they're going to need me this year, so I have to step up to the challenge."