By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
@Tim_Linafelt on Twitter
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jimbo Fisher calls Lamarcus Brutus an “old-school guy.”
A throwback to the days when college football players arrived on campus, worked hard in practice and on special teams while waiting for bigger opportunities.
“That’s the way everybody used to play,” Fisher said. “You never played until you were a redshirt junior.”
That’s become increasingly rare in this era, where blue-chip recruits come in and often play immediately – see Florida State’s Dalvin Cook and Travis Rudolph as examples.
It may have taken a little bit longer, but Brutus has carved out an important role for the Seminoles, too.
He’s played in all 13 games as FSU’s sixth defensive back and has produced key interceptions in back-to-back games – against Florida and Georgia Tech – that helped ensure the Seminoles’ place in the upcoming Rose Bowl.
“It’s been really satisfying,” Brutus said. “Of course, I’ve been here for a little while. And I played a lot this year — more than I played since I’ve been here — so making plays is really exciting again.
“You get a lot of love from your friends, family and teammates.”
No more so than the evening of Nov. 30. Brutus that afternoon had grabbed his first career interception, picking off Florida’s Treon Harris for a turnover that led to an FSU touchdown.
When he got back to his locker, Brutus found his phone slammed with missed calls and text messages offering congratulations.
“My phone blew up a lot,” he said. “Mostly my friends and family saying ‘good job.’ They were pretty excited.”
Brutus recorded 104 tackles and six interceptions as a senior at Treasure Coast High in Port St. Lucie. But an FSU depth chart full of talented players in the secondary led him to redshirt as a freshman.
As his career progressed, Brutus found himself surrounded by even more talented, young defensive backs. Current starters P.J. Williams, Ronald Darby and Jalen Ramsey were among them.
With only so many spots on the field, competition for playing time was fierce. Brutus played in six games as a redshirt freshman, mostly on special teams. He built on that role in 2013, recording 16 tackles while playing in 11 games as a reserve.
It was a fine role, but not exactly what he had in mind when he signed with FSU as part of the heralded recruiting Class of 2011.
“(Waiting) does get tough,” he said, “but you just have to keep faith and believe in the process and believe in your coaches and teammates.
“You do have freshmen that come in early and play and start everywhere. So you just have to be patient and believe and just keep working on your technique and keep working on your craft and just believe that you are going to get some playing time.”
Now in his fourth year, Brutus’ patience has paid off. He raised eyebrows earlier in the season when he was picked as the team’s sixth defensive back, beating out a few talented underclassmen in the process.
And besides his two interceptions – which are tied for most on the team – Brutus has 14 tackles, a pass break-up and three passes defended.
“It’s hard at a place like this, where we recruit five-stars and everything,” said defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell, another member of the 2011 class.
“A lot of great players are coming through, it’s hard to wait your time, but I’ve seen [Brutus] wait his turn. He played his role — special teams — now he’s getting rewarded, going out there and making plays. He’s that type of guy.”