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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014
Colleges

Diligence pays off in big way

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 08:00 AM
MIAMI -

It took three years and one news conference with offensive coordinator James Coley, but we finally learned the inside story of Bjoern Werner's recruitment to Florida State.

According to Coley, Werner told the Seminoles, "Thanks, but no thanks" the first time they offered him a scholarship.

At the time, Werner was a 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect at a prep school in Connecticut. And FSU's coaches believed he would be best suited to play offensive line at the next level, assuming he would put on another 20 or 30 pounds at least.

"We definitely wanted to offer him as an offensive player, and we were thinking more in the lines of tight end or center," Coley said. "And when we went up there, that didn't go over well."

Although Werner was relatively new to American football, he was determined to play defensive end at the next level. And if schools weren't interested in him at that position, then he wasn't interested in them.

"I told them I'm not going to come to their college," Werner said. "I did the same thing with Florida State. They said, 'You're an offensive lineman.' I said, 'OK, I'll see you later.' "

Fortunately for the Seminoles, Werner's high school coach advised Coley to stick around campus and watch him play basketball.

"I went in there, and I just watched him play," Coley said. "And you can see his athleticism running up and down the court, jumping. He wasn't an interior guy. You saw his skill set."

After hearing the report from Coley, FSU coaches looked over Werner's game films once again and decided that perhaps he could excel as a college defensive end.

Coley then offered a scholarship to play that position, Werner signed with the Seminoles, and he has went on to become a consensus first-team All-American.

Dunn honored

He had two of his biggest games in the Orange Bowl, including helping Florida State win the national championship in 1993, so it is a perfect fit for Warrick Dunn to be inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame.

The former FSU running back was honored along with Oklahoma's Torrance Marshall and Ohio State's Bob Brudzinski during a Monday luncheon.

"I had an opportunity to play with a group of great guys and a great coach in Bobby Bowden," said Dunn, who had two stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1997-2001 and 2008).

Dunn finished his FSU career with a school-record 3,959 rushing yards and 49 total touchdowns.

He rushed for 151 yards in the Seminoles' 31-26 comeback win over Notre Dame in the 1996 Orange Bowl and was instrumental in FSU's game-winning drive in the 1993 national championship win over Nebraska.

One FSU-NIU tie

There weren't many natural ties between Florida State and Northern Illinois, but one Huskies player has a very solid connection.

Reserve FB Ricky Connors, a 6-1, 246-pound sophomore from Powder Springs, Ga., is the son of Gail and Rick Connors, both Florida State graduates, .

"My parents are Florida State grads, so I grew up in a Florida State home my whole life. It's pretty surreal to play a team I grew up watching," Connors told the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal.

Smith sets mark

With an 8-yard catch in the first quarter Tuesday, FSU senior WR Rodney Smith established a program record for consecutive games with a reception.

Smith finishes his career with catches in 39 consecutive games to eclipse the mark of 38 games set by E.G. Green.

Corey Clark, Ira Schoffel, Jim Lamar, Tallahassee Democrat

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