Virginia Tech

Caleb Farley’s First Game
Caleb said he knew that he would not play quarterback at the collegiate level even though he played the position in high school. Caleb enrolled in January before his true freshman year and practiced at both DB and receiver throughout the spring. But then he tore his ACL just 2 days into camp last season. Caleb said it was his first major injury but what he learned throughout the process was that he was not in control. He returned to summer workouts about 7 months ago. Caleb said in high school he was a big FSU fan because they were winning everything. So he can’t believe that he will begin his collegiate career playing against the Noles. Caleb says he dreams about the big stage and he is ready for this moment. 

Caleb Farley Losing His Mother
Caleb Farly lost his mother to cancer in January. Robin Farley was diagnosed with breast cancer when Caleb was in 8th grade. She beat the disease into remission by his sophomore year. But the following year the family found out that Robin’s cancer metastasized to her bones. Justin Fuente has praised Caleb’s outlook on life and ability to process the loss of his mother. And Caleb also gives a lot of credit to his Virginia Tech family for making sure that he stayed motivated and never got down. Caleb says he wants to take a kickoff return for a touchdown and then point to the stars for his mom. 

(Instagram: @cr_farley)

QB Josh Jackson Falling In Love With the Process
After Virginia Tech’s spring game Justin Fuente said this about his starting QB “I think there’s another level of detail that he can reach in his preparation” Coach wants his quarterback to “fall in love with the process” of being the Hokies starter. Fuente says that there was another level of understanding that Jackson can get to. Protection checks, route adjustments, and understanding the other side of the ball. During the summer Josh said he made it a point to spend a lot more time at the football building. He used to like doing his film work in a recliner at home. He says being at the facility allows him to be extremely focused for hours on end and he has more access to coaches so he can ask questions or pull wide receivers in to watch film with him. He also said everyday after class during the spring and summer he would go straight to the facility watch at least an hour of film and then workout. 

QB Josh Jackson & Father Fred Jackson Close Relationship
Fred Jackson coached football for over 40 years which included 23 seasons at the University of Michigan. He coached under Garry Moeller, Lloyd Carr, Rich Rod, and Brady Hoke. When Josh was younger he would spend all of his free time with his dad at Michigan’s football facility. Fred Jackson told me that when Josh was in the 3rdgrade (about 8 years old) he started to really show interest in being around him at work. Josh would sit in his dad’s film sessions with running backs and take notes like the players, and draw up plays, and ask for feedback from his dad. Fred says he has seen a lot of growth from his son off the field going into his 2ndseason. Dad says his son is studying a lot more film and digging deep into it. Dad has sent Josh an inspirational text every day except gameday since he was in high school. Fred says his final message to his son Sunday night was to be a leader because he is a captain now. And to “follow the rules of the play” let the game come to him.

This is also the first year Fred is not coaching football in over 4 decades. Last year, he would coach his high school team’s Friday night game. Sleep from 12-2am and then drive with his wife Teresa Jackson to Josh’s games. Josh joked saying it was time for his dad to retire because he is getting old. Josh wears the number 17 because that is what his dad wore as a QB at Jackson State.

Florida State

RB Deshawn McClease Body Change
Since arriving on campus Deshawn has been working to put weight on his 5’8 frame. He has put on about 15 pounds this offseason. McClease said he has a fast metabolism so he had to increase his calorie intake a lot. During his lifts the strength staff would feed him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and protein shakes throughout the workout. He says he doesn’t feel heavy at all with the additional weight and knows he can still be quick on his feet. Here is a picture of his body changes from the VT strength and conditioning staff:



Deondre Francois Return
Deondre Francois said that “he might cry” when he runs onto the field to take the first snap. He said just being on the field is a blessing because there was a time when he couldn’t even walk to the bathroom. After Deondre was injured he said he kind of isolated himself he did not know how to handle the injury because it was his first time ever suffering a major one. He said he would look at his teammates scars who tore their MCL or ACL and then he would look at his and see how much bigger his scar was and know that he was going to have a very difficult rehab and recovery process. But when he realized that he was a still a leader on this team he fully engaged even moving back on campus to be closer to his teammates. 

VIDEO  // FSU's Deondre Francois: Injury helped 'turn me into a man'. Maria Taylor speaks with Florida State QB Deondre Francois about his journey back from injury and his character development in the past year.and his character development in the past year.

VIDEO // FSU's Deondre Francois: Injury helped 'turn me into a man'. Maria Taylor speaks with Florida State QB Deondre Francois about his journey back from injury and his character development in the past year.and his character development in the past year.

Taggart Goal Implement Togetherness
Willie Taggart arrived on campus before the bowl game. In all of the other jobs mhe has taken the team was not playing in a bowl game. Coach says this allowed him “to see the guys practice, in meetings, how they take coaching and what they needed coming in”. Taggart says that when he got on campus there was a sense that the team was not close “a lot of guys didn’t like each other and it’s hard to win ball games if you don’t like each other”. He said that when he got to campus he made the guys eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. When players get into a fight during practice, they have to hold hands and walk around the field together. Taggart even made ensured that there was a closeness and chemistry on his staff by making sure that no  coach went on the road to recruit by himself. Assistants were always recruiting with one another and it allowed the staff to bond and by the time they got back with the current players they saw a staff that enjoyed working together.  

Taggart Brining Back FSU Legacy
“I think we lost the legacy somehow and we lost pride in Florida State University.” Taggart grew up an FSU fan and has always been amazed by its rich football history. Taggart wanted his players to understand the guys that came before them, the guys that made this program what it is. Coach said one of his players came up to him after the team watch the Bowden Dynasty Documentary and said “I didn’t know any of that, I was born in ‘97”. Coach said when he first got to FSU he brought in Deion Sanders and they walked through the halls together and he thought players would see Deion and be like “wow that’s primetime” but instead they were like “what’s up Coach T”. That situation made him realize that you can’t take for granted or believe that these players just know their legacy.