- Bob Ferrante Special to The Post
The transition from junior college to Division I can be daunting. Florida State defensive tackle Wally Aime found that it was a different world — from just utilizing talent and pursuing the quarterback to refining pass-rush moves and observing an offensive lineman’s footwork.
“It’s been a lot of learning,” said Aime, a former Olympic Heights standout. “It was kind of a rough transition because of the speed of the game. It’s not like JUCO where a select few people are talented. Everybody here is talented, so I get a challenge every day.”
Aime had 17 tackles, a quarterback hurry and blocked an extra-point attempt in 2016, his first season at FSU. And he has worked diligently to improve this spring, focusing on his technique and hand placement.
“In JUCO, we were taught to just go,” Aime said. “Go get the quarterback, go get the running back, beat the block. … Here it’s a lot more technique. It’s a lot more fundamentals.”
Aime is part of a deep rotation of defensive linemen, but he should see considerable playing time in FSU’s spring game on Saturday at 3 p.m. (ESPN). At 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, the rising junior is a physical presence on the interior of the defensive line and feels he has made steady improvement.
“This is what I came here for,” Aime said. “Now that I’ve gotten more acclimated with the program I feel a lot better.”
Here are five positions to watch in FSU’s spring game:
Quarterback: Deondre Francois said he has spent part of the spring working on rhythm and timing with receivers. That may be a challenge with the potential of just four healthy scholarship receivers available, although FSU has flexed out tight ends in practice to help provide enough targets on pass plays. Early enrollee quarterback Bailey Hockman has also impressed FSU coach Jimbo Fisher this spring with how quickly he has absorbed the playbook.
Running back: The Seminoles have a deep group of backs led by junior Jacques Patrick and early enrollee Cam Akers as they move into the post-Dalvin Cook era. FSU also has senior Ryan Green and sophomore Amir Rasul. Fisher has indicated he’s leaning away from the workhorse tailback days of Cook and may utilize multiple tailbacks in the fall.
Left tackle: FSU is in search of a left tackle after Roderick Johnson left a year early for the NFL. Ethan Frith began the spring at left tackle but has since moved over to guard. The Seminoles are looking to see if a pair of redshirt freshmen, Josh Ball and Jauan Williams, may be the answer to protecting Francois’ blind side.
Defensive end: Fisher hasn’t given much of an indication as to who will take over for DeMarcus Walker at strongside defensive end. And that should make the spring game fun to watch. Among the candidates: former Atlantic standout Keith Bryant, Janarius Robinson, Joshua Kaindoh and Jalen Wilkerson.
Cornerback: With Tarvarus McFadden out for the spring due to a shoulder injury, and Marquez White graduating and moving on to the NFL, FSU has given young players chances with the first-team defense. Sophomores Levonta Taylor and Kyle Meyers should see extensive playing time. Derwin James has even worked at cornerback (although his 2017 home is certainly at safety). Early enrollee Stanford Samuels III has also impressed Fisher.