Jan. 17, 2013
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Managing Editor
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida State indoor track season has already officially started and the 2013 baseball campaign is less than a month away as the Seminoles’ spring athletic season kicks into full gear. With both basketball programs fighting for postseason positioning as well as competition on the tennis courts, softball field, and in the pool ramping up, it’s always an exciting time of year.
This year, though, has a bit more intrigue than typical spring semesters in the athletics department thanks to a couple of notable two-sport student-athletes: Jameis Winston, Marvin Bracy and Ronald Darby.
Seminoles.com recently chatted with FSU coaches Mike Martin (baseball) and Bob Braman (track) to get a feel for what to expect from the trio of football players as they will compete in baseball (Winston) and track (Bracy and Darby) while also participating in each of their first spring practices under head coach Jimbo Fisher.
Here’s a breakdown of what each has done in their brief careers, what to expect moving foward and what each coach has to say about the next five to six months of their student-athlete careers at Florida State:
Jameis Winston: redshirt freshman quarterback; true freshman outfielder/pitcher
The former five-star quarterback recruit redshirted in his first season with the Seminoles and had the chance to watch and learn from the sidelines as EJ Manuel guided FSU to a 12-2 record, the program’s first ACC title since 2005 and a victory in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl. Now that Manuel is no longer on the team, Winston will be in a highly anticipated battle this spring with Clint Trickett, Jacob Coker and Sean Maguire for the starting job. On the baseball diamond, Winston is an intriguing prospect that was so talented coming out of high school that he was drafted by the Texas Rangers with the 486th selection of last year’s Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Where Winston fits on Mike Martin’s squad, however, may not be determined until midway through the season. Because every repetition under center is so critical to his development as a quarterback, Winston most likely will not miss any spring football practices as he attempts to become FSU’s starting signal caller.
Mike Martin on Winston’s spring 2013 plan: “We need to see what he can do in fun situations. And it may be the middle of April before we are really able to find out because he’s got to be at spring football. He’s going to miss some road trips; he’s going to miss some home games. It’s going to be a situation that we’ve been through before. He’s going to be given an opportunity to pitch and to play in the outfield. What he does with that we may not really find that out until later.”
Marvin Bracy: redshirt freshman wide receiver; true freshman sprinter
By now, Bracy’s speed is something of legend. A year ago he ran the fastest indoor 55-meter dash in the world (6.08) to set the national record for the 19-and-under division and ran the second-fastest 100-meters in Florida High School history at 10.05. He also ran for the United States in the 4×100 relay in July of 2010 at the World Junior Championships and was a three-time Class 4A 100m champion with two 200m state titles to his credit. On the gridiron, Bracy will make his FSU football debut this spring after redshirting as a true freshman in 2012. He’ll be in competition for playing time in a crowded wide receiver corps as well as on special teams as a return man. Like Winston, this spring will be all the more important for his immediate future on the football field after watching from the sidelines for a full season. Because of that, Bracy, too, probably won’t miss much football while competing for the indoor and outdoor track teams under Braman and FSU director of sprints, relays and hurdles Ken Harnden. But make no mistake about it, Bracy will be a factor for the ‘Noles in the 60m dash during the indoor season and in the 100m dash and the 4×100 relay during the outdoor campaign. “In my opinion, he is the fastest football player in NCAA Division I,” Braman said.
Ronald Darby: sophomore cornerback; true freshman sprinter
Unlike Winston and Bracy, Darby was thrust into action right away when he got to FSU last summer and the former five-star prospect more than lived up to the hype surrounding him during his freshman season for Fisher’s Seminoles. Darby wound up playing in every game for the FSU as a frequent contributor at cornerback and even earned ACC Freshman Defensive Player of the Year honors after registering 22 tackles and turing into a shut-down defensive back. With the early departure of Xavier Rhodes to the NFL, Darby enters his first spring in Tallahassee as the likely starer at cornerback opposite Nick Waisome and has the real potential to turn into an All-American type of player for the ‘Noles. On the track, Darby was also a highly accomplished sprinter in high school like his friend Bracy. He was member of thegold medal-winning USA medley relay at the 2011 World Youth Championships in France and excelled at Potomac High School in Maryland at running the 100m and 200m dashes and the 4×100 relay. At FSU, he’ll likely compete on the outdoor 4×100 relay squad. “I think Ronald Darby is a future first-round draft pick,” Braman said. “Darby is a great competitor that has been on the World Youth team. He doesn’t have to do much except carry a baton. Who knows? Whatever he does is a bonus.”
Bob Braman on Bracy and Darby’s spring 2013 plan: ”They are here for football so Jimbo will call that shot. Historically, football athletes are much better during the indoor season because they are just doing mat drills at that time. Their development, it is critical to football that they are at those 15 spring practices. Those aren’t going to be track days. Hopefully we can help by having more contact with these athletes to make them better on the field as well. Ideally, they can help us once the spring game is complete and then we can help them by the time NCAAs roll around on June 10 they can have some time for recovery and then be ready to go with football in July for involuntary workouts and then be ready for fall camp. We are fine with whatever they have to do with football. The key with everything is that we have great communication with football and we are only going to do what’s best for Bracy and Darby in both sports.
“There has been a really good working relationship between Jimbo Fisher and Ken Harnden. Both staffs really work well together. Now it goes back to the good old days when you had Sammie Smith, Deion Sanders and Dexter Carter, who all ran the 4×1 with Arthur Blank. So adding those football guys is kind of a fun thing because it brings a little extra notoriety to the program.”