Florida State’s Dalvin Cook selected by Minnesota Vikings in 2017 NFL Draft

Dalvin Cook #4 of the Florida State Seminoles carries the ball in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the Capitol One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)


DALVIN COOK, RB

FLORIDA STATE
5’10”, 210 pounds

Dalvin Cook was the ninth pick in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

Bio:

As one of the top running backs in this year’s draft class, saying that Dalvin Cook is something special would be an understatement. Some have compared Cook to former Miami Hurricanes running back Edgerrin James and between the explosive speed and playmaking abilities, it’s hard to find any sort of argument against that. The all-time leader in rushing yards for the Seminoles, Cook will make Vikings fans proud once he begins his first practice in Minnesota … so long as he stays out of trouble, that is.

Scouting Report:

Well, he’s fast. Cook has blazing speed that makes him a threat both on the ground and through the air. There’s also the beautiful juking ability that will break plenty of ankles. Cook displays excellent vision on the ground and will almost immediately break away once he hits the outside. Unfortunately, Cook can be too reliant on rushing to the outside and will very rarely run the ball up the gut.

There are also previous character issues that include two arrests while in high school (one of which was firing and possessing a weapon on school property) and a third in 2015. Cook also struggles with fumbling on occasion and there are concerns about the durability of his shoulder after rotator-cuff surgery. If Cook wants to succeed in the pros, even with his love of football, he’ll need to improve on his blocking, especially on short-yardage situations.

NFL Combine results:

4.49 40 yard dash
22 reps in the bench press
30.5 inch vertical jump
116 inch broad jump
7.27 in the three-cone drill
4.43 20-yard shuffle

The expert says:

“Cook’s big-play ability makes him a special player. When given a hole, he can take it to the house, and even when his blocking isn’t good, he has the ability to maximize what is there. Cook’s fumbling problems, like his hamstring, flare up too frequently, so there are some concerns. Despite those issues, Cook’s name will still be called early because of his prodigious potential.” — Pro Football Focus 

Exclusive: FSU coach Jimbo Fisher recalls Darryl Rudolph as supportive, hard-working, family man

 

The father of former FSU star receiver Travis Rudolph was shot and killed on Friday. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher remembers the late Darryl Rudolph, the father of former Seminoles star receiver, Travis Rudolph, as being a hard-working, supportive parent whose children were his life.

“Just great family,” Fisher said today, hours before he was leaving to attend Thursday’s NFL draft in Philadelphia.

“Parents … mom, dad were involved in their kid’s life. They were at everything he did. They supported him. Just a typical, loving, close, very hard-working, blue-collar, just really good family. Raised him tremendously well. A lot of respect from him to them and them to him.

“Their kids were the focal point of their life.”

Darryl Rudolph was killed late Friday while doing handyman work in the backroom of Sugar Daddy’s Adult Cabaret in West Palm Beach. The incident occurred one week before Travis is expected to be selected in the NFL draft. Travis, who was raised in West Palm Beach and starred at Cardinal Newman High School, decided to skip his senior year at FSU and enter the draft after being the Noles’ most productive receiver over the last three years.

Darryl, 55, was struck in the back/neck area by a gunshot from an adjacent room that penetrated the wall. The gun, which law enforcement sources told The Post was a rifle, discharged when a coworker was moving the firearm off a shelf. Darryl was not a full-time employee of the club but was hired occasionally to do handyman jobs.

On Tuesday, Paul Senat, 36, of Lantana was arrested and charged with Darryl’s shooting death by Palm Beach County sheriff’s detectives.

Fisher was with Travis at an on-campus event in the Champions Club on Friday hours before the incident. Travis had left Tallahassee when Fisher attempted to contact him.

“At first you didn’t believe it,” said Fisher, who has spoken with Travis’ mom, Linda. “It was shock. Travis is ready to fulfill his dream (of being drafted). His dad is getting to watch him do it. I had to just sit down for a minute and say ‘Oh my God.’

“Then my thoughts went to him and his wife and everything else, Travis and the family.”

Fisher, who spent time in the Rudolph home when recruiting Travis, said the university is ready to support Travis in any way necessary.

“He’s part of our family and we’ll do everything we can to help,” Fisher said. “Travis is going to have a great career. He’s going to come back and finish his degree. Anything we can humanly do to help them and the family get through a tough time … anything they want us to do and anything we can do.”

Fisher says he is “heartbroken” not only by Darry’s death but the timing. Travis, 21, concludes his career seventh in school history with 153 receptions and eighth with 2,311 receiving yards after leading the Seminoles with 56 catches, 840 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns last season.

Rudolph was named second-team All-ACC in 2016 and was one of 11 recipients of the Extraordinary Sportsmanship award at the Musial Awards. Last summer, when visiting a Tallahassee middle school with his teammates, Rudolph spotted an autistic student who was eating alone and sat down and dined with the boy.

Rudolph, 6-foot, 189 pounds, is projected to be taken on the third day of draft, anywhere from the fifth to seventh round. He is ranked anywhere from the 30th to 40th best receiver in the draft.

Fisher believes scouts are putting too much emphasis on his 40 time (4.65) rather than his production.

“He can run the route tree, he has good size,” Fisher said. “He’s not a blazer, but he’s fast. And if you watch, he makes big plays.

“You go back and watch our film, there’s a lot of long touchdown throws and catches and runs after (the catch). Like he did against Florida this year. There’s a lot of plays like that.”

Travis scored on a 46-yard catch-and-run from Deondre Francois that gave FSU a 17-6 lead over the Gators, the 18th and final touchdown reception of his career. The Seminoles went on to a 31-13 victory.

Fisher also praised Travis’ downfield blocking skills and his intelligence.

“He’s a very multi-talented receiver because he can go in and out to catch the ball,” Fisher said. “He’s just a really good athlete and he understands. Travis is really smart.”

Rudolph’s agents sent an email to all NFL teams saying that, despite the tragedy, Rudolph remained intent on pursuing his pro football aspirations.

Former FSU Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke hired by Alabama

By Zach Buckley

OXNARD, CA - MAY 06: Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams and quarterback coach Chris Weinke discuss a play during a Los Angeles Rams rookie camp on May 06, 2016 in Oxnard, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Chris Weinke, then quarterbacks coach with the Los Angeles Rams, worked with Jared Goff during his rookie season. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Brace yourselves, Seminoles fans. Former Heisman winner Chris Weinke is about to go from family to enemy — for one weekend, at least.

The former Florida State quarterback just punched his ticket back to the college football ranks. After coaching at both the high school level at Bradenton-IMG Academy and the professional ranks as quarterbacks coach of the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, Weinke accepted an offensive analyst position on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, 247Sports reported this week.

The Seminoles and Crimson Tide will kick off their 2017 campaigns against one another at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sep 2. That means Weinke is on a collision course with the program he quarterbacked to the 1999 national title.

A year later, he became the oldest Heisman winner in history, as the onetime baseball prospect collected college football’s most coveted award at age 28. He went 32-3 at Florida State and still holds the school’s all-time records for career passing yards (9,839) and passing touchdowns (79).

Weinke was a fourth-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2001. He played seven seasons in the NFL — six with the Panthers (2001-06) and one for the San Francisco 49ers (2007).

Saban’s offensive staff had thinned in recent weeks with the departures of Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and former Seminoles quarterback Clint Trickett.

Kiffin, who was Alabama’s offensive coordinator, became head coach at Florida Atlantic and took Trickett, a former offensive analyst, along as tight ends coach. Sarkisian, who started last season as an offensive assistant and finished it as offensive coordinator for the national championship game, is now offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons.

But the SEC juggernaut has reloaded with a former national champion, Heisman winner and NFL quarterback. The rich get richer.

 

Four-star recruit pranks both Florida and Florida State on National Signing Day

Jimbo Fisher
Jimbo Fisher

In a move that had a pair of Florida fan bases smiling, and then shaking a fist, Levi Jones’ National Signing Day trick has generated a serious buzz on social media.

Jones, a four-star recruit listed as the 65th best player in the 2017 recruiting class by ESPN, announced his college commitment during a ceremony at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday morning. Jones stood up from the podium and unzipped a jacket to reveal a Florida Gators shirt.

Before Gators fans could begin celebrating their newest signee, Jones told the cheering crowd, “Y’all better chill,” before taking off the UF shirt and revealing a Florida State shirt underneath.

OK, Levi, you got us.

As the crowd audibly gasped, the 6’3” recruit then took off the Seminoles shirt to reveal a third and final shirt, this time indicating his commitment to the USC Trojans with the shirt and the school’s signature phrase, “Fight on.”

Jones, the nation’s fourth-ranked outside linebacker according to ESPN, joins what is clearly a top-10 USC recruiting class.

Despite getting stood up by Jones, both Florida State and Florida also have fared well on National Signing Day.

Florida State, FAU, USF all seen as teams on the rise looking to 2017

Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles looks on prior to their Capitol One Orange Bowl game against the Michigan Wolverines at Sun Life Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles looks on prior to their Capitol One Orange Bowl game against the Michigan Wolverines at Sun Life Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

By Zach Buckley

Florida’s college football scene is collectively rising.

At least, that’s the view of Athlon Sports, which pegs five different Florida schools as programs on the rise or ones to watch in 2017.

The first distinction went to three teams: Florida State, Florida Atlantic and South Florida.

The Seminoles finished last season eighth in both the AP and Coaches polls after edging past Michigan 33-32 in the Orange Bowl. The Seminoles lost star running back Dalvin Cook, who’s NFL-bound following a year with 1,765 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns. But they’ll have another summer of seasoning for redshirt-sophomore-to-be quarterback Deondre Francois (3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns), plus incoming five-star running back Cam Akers.

The Owls’ outlook shines mostly due to changes in the coaching ranks. Head coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles (from Baylor) both need to repair their reputations, but each was deemed a character risk worth taking for their football minds. Former four-star FSU quarterback De’Andre Johnson is seeking his own second chance after being dismissed by the ‘Noles when video surfaced of him punching a woman at a Tallahassee nightclub in 2015.

The Bulls lost head coach Willie Taggart to Oregon but grabbed former Texas and Louisville front man Charlie Strong to replace him. South Florida also returns quarterback Quinton Flowers, who accumulated 42 touchdowns last season while passing for 2,812 yards and rushing for another 1,530.

Miami and Central Florida were both listed as programs to monitor.

The Hurricanes must find a replacement for quarterback Brad Kaaya. Still, Miami went an encouraging 9-4 during its first season under head coach Mark Richt, while Mark Walton ran wild (1,117 rushing yards and 14 scores) and Wellington product Ahmmon Richards broke Michael Irvin’s freshman receiving record with 934 yards. 

The Knights saw a six-win improvement during head coach Scott Frost’s first year at the helm. Quarterback McKenzie Milton passed for 1,983 yards and 10 touchdowns as a true freshman.

Bobby Bowden sparks controversy with comments about fatherless players

Former coach Bobby Bowden being honored at a Florida State game two seasons ago.
Former coach Bobby Bowden being honored at a Florida State game in 2013. (Melina Vastola-USA TODAY )

Legendary Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden made some controversial statements during an appearance on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show on Wednesday morning.

Bowden, who was joining the show in studio to promote an upcoming documentary about his family, made comments regarding his former players, “65 or 70 percent” of whom, he claimed, did not have fathers at home. He went on to commend the guidance provided by female role models in his former players’ lives, such as their mothers, grandmothers, big sisters and aunts.

Bowden continued on about the importance of a male figure in a child’s life, stating that children need “somebody to discipline them and make them be a man.”

The ex-Noles coach got a bit controversial, however, when he discussed the potential effects of his players growing up without fathers.

“They grew up wanting to be like their momma,” Bowden said. “They want to be a man like their momma … that’s why they wear earrings.”

The 87-year-old immediately backtracked on the seriousness of his comments.

“Hey, I’m kidding about that. I have children too, you know,” Bowden said.

https://twitter.com/CorkGaines/status/816652123387654148

Top 2016 QB recruit Malik Henry to transfer from Florida State

Malik Henry
Malik Henry

Malik Henry’s Florida State career is over almost before it started after the former top recruit announced his intention to transfer from the university.

In a statement given to 247sports.com on Monday, Henry thanked Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher and the staff at Florida State for the opportunity they provided him, while also expressing his interest in transferring.

“I wish him and the team nothing but success,” Henry told 247sports.com. “At this time I don’t know what university I will be attending in the future.”

The California native was a highly touted four-star recruit out of high school, ranked by Rivals.com as the second best dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class and the 34th best prospect overall. He committed to Florida State over Auburn, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan and a host of other suitors, enrolling early at FSU in January of 2016.

Henry had a turbulent tenure at FSU. He was suspended in August for a violation of team rules before being reinstated a month later. Despite the reinstatement, he ended up redshirting his freshman season behind quarterbacks Deondre Francois, Sean Maguire and J.J. Cosentino.

The only game action that Henry saw during his time at FSU was during the spring game, where he completed 15 of 22 attempted passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

The Seminoles currently have two verbal commitments from quarterbacks in the 2017 class, four-star recruit James Blackman and three-star recruit Bailey Hockman. After Francois’ impressive freshman season, it appears that the starting job is his to lose.

Lane Kiffin signs former FSU QB De’Andre Johnson at FAU

De'Andre Johnson #14 of the Gold team runs for yards against the Garnet team during Florida State's Garnet and Gold spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium on April 11, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
De’Andre Johnson #14 of the Gold team runs for yards against the Garnet team during Florida State’s Garnet and Gold spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium on April 11, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Lane Kiffin is already making a big impact in recruiting for FAU, signing a former Florida State quarterback Wednesday.

East Mississippi C.C. QB De’Andre Johnson has signed his letter of intent with the Owls, according to 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow. The 3-star quarterback signed with Florida State out of high school in 2015 but transferred after last season.

Johnson is the second-ranked pro-style JUCO quarterback in the country. He will enroll at FAU in January and will be able to play immediately. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

Kiffin accepted the head coaching job at FAU on Monday. He will continue to serve as Alabama’s offensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff.

Alabama plays Washington in the playoff semifinal in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.

Are LSU, Florida State set to battle over Jimbo Fisher?

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher speaks during a news conference at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Florida State fans are experiencing déjà vu as rumors swirl around head coach Jimbo Fisher’s reported interested in the coaching vacancy at LSU.

Following the midseason firing of longtime coach Les Miles, LSU is looking for a premier head coach to replace him, and Jimbo Fisher fits the bill. In his seven years as the head man at Florida State, Fisher has gone 76-17, winning the National Championship in 2013, one year after winning the Orange Bowl.

[Jimbo Fisher, family united in raising money to find a cure for incurable disease affecting their 10-year-old son]

[Fisher considered leaving Florida State after son’s diagnosis]

LSU’s interest in Fisher has been both public and intense, with the 51-year-old serving as LSU’s “dream candidate,” according to SEC Country.  Fisher has ties to the university, having served as offensive coordinator under Nick Saban and, later, Miles himself.

Despite the speculation, some have called the rumors arrogant and insulting to a Florida State program that has returned to national prominence. The Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi added that he believes that “the Florida State job is better than any job in the SEC.”

Others have pointed out some possible reasons Fisher could leave Tallahassee, starting with the Seminoles’ opponents on Saturday. Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times pointed toward the University of Florida’s game-winning goal-line stand against LSU on Nov. 19 as something that may intensify LSU’s pursuit of Fisher, in essence ousting interim coach and potential candidate Ed Orgeron.

Several other factors may play into Fisher’s decision, including his assistant-coach salary pool, LSU’s impressive facilities and aspects that may make recruiting easier for him if he were to change schools, according to Gridiron Now. Fisher’s ability to escape from the recruiting battles with Miami and Florida — not to mention his desire to take on a new challenge — may sway his decision.

It remains to be seen whether Fisher will leave the school that gave him his first head coaching job, and he has expressed previously his desire to remain at FSU. Time will tell where Fisher ends up next fall.

FSU’s Monk Bonasorte was at peace with with his life

 

Monk Bonasorte (Photo Tallahassee Democrat)
Monk Bonasorte battled brain cancer for more than a year. (Photo Tallahassee Democrat)

Eight months ago I sat in Monk Bonasorte’s office talking with Florida State’s senior associate athletic director about how his life had changed when doctors discovered a tumor on the left side of his brain last fall after he had a seizure while working out on a treadmill.

Bonasorte never once questioned why. He never complained (other than saying the most difficult part of it all was the affect the medication had on his body). He was content. He told me several times he was ready to accept any plan God had for him. It didn’t mean he was giving up hope. It didn’t mean he would stop fighting the insidious disease called cancer.

It just meant Monk was at peace with his life.

“I’ve had a good life,” he said to me several times.

Late Saturday, Monk Bonasorte lost his battle with brain cancer. He was 59.

In many ways Bonasorte was the face of Florida State football. He arrived in 1977, walking on as a tight end, one year after Bobby Bowden arrived, and earned four varsity letters as a safety. He ranks second in school history with 15 interceptions.  Bonasorte was named by Athlon Magazine as a member of the Seminoles’ all-time team and inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995.

Bonasorte was a key member of the two teams that started what we know now Florida State football to be; the 1979 and 1980 teams that finished 11-1 and 10-2 and played in back-to-back Orange Bowls against Oklahoma. During his four years at FSU, the Seminoles were 39-8.  They had 37 wins the previous eight years combined.

Behind Bonasorte’s desk is a grainy Sports Illustrated photo from one of those Orange Bowls. It shows Monk and fellow DBs Keith Jones and Bobby Butler surrounding an Oklahoma receiver. At the bottom of the photo, which was from SI’s annual year in review issue, it reads: Pass Defense.

Jones, who arrived at FSU the same year as Bonasorte and started 34 games alongside his fellow safety, has a copy of that same photo.

Sunday, he said it had much more meaning.

“Words can’t describe. .. ,” an emotional Jones said. “He meant so much to so many. They talk about glue guys. He was the absolute glue guy. He had no business playing. He weighed 175 pounds soaking wet. He ran the 40 in a day in a half. But he knew football. He taught me football. I learned more from him than any coach I ever played for.”

One other thing few knew about Bonasorte: He could read lips. “When they would whisper the play back and forth. … eight out of 10 times he knew what was coming,” Jones said. “They would get flustered.”

In 1979, Bonasorte was named a third-team All-American after recording eight interceptions, which until Saturday, he shared with one other player as the second most in a season in school history. But Saturday afternoon, Tarvarus McFadden tied that record with his eighth interception of the season in the Seminoles’ 45-14 victory at Syracuse.

Somehow, someway, Monk Bonasorte knew.

And he smiled.

That day we talked Monk was preparing for another grueling round of therapy, trips that took him from Tampa to Duke University in Durham, N.C., during the last year. But through it all, he never stopped working. … or working out. Monk was on that treadmill 50 minutes a day, every day, or every day his body would allow. He continued to fulfill his duties at Florida State. He was the president and executive director of the FSU Varsity Club for 13 years before being hired by the athletics department in 2008 as the senior associate athletic director for football.

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said, in a statement, that “nobody cared more about Florida State University and it’s student-athletes” than Bonasorte.

“He dedicated his life to Florida State and was a pillar of strength for our football program during the last year,” Fisher wrote. “Monk was a tremendous administrator who I was lucky to work closely with from the time I arrived here. Most importantly, Monk was a great friend and he will truly be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Beverly, his two sons, T.J. and Rocky, and the rest of his family.”

Monk was an honorary captain for Florida State’s game against Clemson this month. On Friday, he was admitted into hospice care.

On Sunday morning, Monk’s son T.J. Bonasorte, posted the news about his father.

“This isn’t easy to say but I lost my role model, inspiration and more importantly my father tonight. His battle with cancer ended after 1+ year but I wouldn’t consider it a lost battle. Throughout this I got to learn more about Monk the hard worker, the leader, and the father. He loved everything about Florida State University, from the coaching staff, the administrators, to the players he treated them like family and made them feel at home. Thanks Dad for all of the memories we shared.”

Monk Bonasorte is survived by his wife, Beverly, and their sons, T.J. and Rocky.