FSU football has seen its offensive line battle through injuries all season. However, that has not stopped offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Alex Atkins and company from fielding eight quality offensive linemen in their rotation with Robert Scott Jr., Casey Roddick, Maurice Smith, D’Mitri Emmanuel, Jeremiah Byers, Darius Washington, Bless Harris, and Keiondre Jones.
On Wednesday afternoon, fans learned that redshirt junior offensive tackle Bless Harris has announced that he would be entering the transfer portal. According to Pro Football Focus, he has played 390 snaps for the Seminoles this season.
Unfortunately, Harris missed the entire 2022 season after suffering an injury in the season opener versus Duquesne. The Lamar transfer battled through injuries in 2023 as well and he played at the tackle position for Florida State.
Offensive tackles are difficult to come by in the transfer portal. However, Atkins does have some talented offensive linemen committed in their class such as four-star Manasse Itete, four-star Jonathan Daniels, three-star Tye Hylton, and three-star Jayden Todd. While most of these true freshmen (maybe all of them) will not play significant roles in 2024, it is a great foundation to build upon in the trenches.
As it pertains to the current construction of the roster, there will need to be offensive linemen that step up with Harris’ departure. Florida State does have veterans such as Robert Scott Jr., Darius Washington, and Jeremiah Byers who will hopefully be back in 2024. However, the coaching staff will likely need another tackle or two to emerge as contributors.
Two names that come to mind are redshirt freshman offensive tackle Julian Armella and true freshman Lucas Simmons. These are two young players that could certainly mold into something special.
Most established programs are mostly able to redshirt their younger offensive linemen and develop them. With the Seminoles having a veteran offensive line unit, they were able to groom their skillsets and did not have to force them in games before they were to contribute at an elevated level.
Atkins certainly has this offensive line at Florida State set for the future.