The Daily Nole

FSU Walk-On Faris Confident in Making an Impact

Photo Courtesy of Florida High School Football

They’re not the subject of the National Signing Day media frenzy and their decisions don’t affect the composite recruiting rankings, but walk-ons have become an important part of Florida State’s proud football tradition.

From legends like Monk Bonasorte and Andre Wadsworth, who would go on to be the highest FSU player ever drafted in 1997, to notable contributors like Louis Givens, Anthony Houllis and Mikhal Kornegay, former walk-ons have made a big difference for the garnet and gold. Most recently, Panama City native Javien Elliott went from FSU walk-on to NFL starter.

The impact of walk-ons hasn’t been felt only at FSU however. In 2016, former walk-on and Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow scored the winning touchdown with a second left as the Tigers beat Alabama for the national championship. In 2017, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield became the first former walk-on to win the Heisman Trophy before going on to be selected first overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Seminoles look to have a talented slew of walk-ons joining the squad in 2019, including 3-star prospects in running back Treshaun Ward, linebacker Ricardo Watson and tight end Austin White. Former FSU offensive lineman Andrew Boselli looks to rejoin the team as a walk-on. Among the other preferred walk-ons coming in is wide receiver Caleb Faris.

Like Ward, White and Watson, Faris hails from the Tampa Bay area, playing his high school ball at powerhouse Plant High School in Tampa. Faris had partial scholarship offers to a number of smaller schools, including Rhode Island. When he was debating on whether or not to attend FSU, he said, walking onto the football team wasn’t even on his mind.

“I was really debating whether to go to Florida State for academics or whether to play football in college,” Faris said. “I grew up a huge Florida State fan. It was a really hard decision. I figured I’d just be a student.”

Despite missing four games as a senior, Faris finished with about 35 catches for 500 yards and four touchdowns. Faris said he was informed just days before National Signing Day by his high school coaches that he would have the opportunity to walk on for Willie Taggart at FSU.

“It’s always been my dream school,” Faris said. “I was psyched out of my mind. I was ecstatic. I immediately called both of my parents. I don’t know that it’s really set in yet.”

Both of Faris’ parents attended Florida State and for him, just getting the opportunity to wear a uniform is a dream come true. Despite that, Faris said he is confident that he can make an impact over the course of his college career.

“It’s an honor and a dream,” he said. “I definitely think I can contribute, maybe on special teams. I’ve always had to work to get onto the field, so I think I can make an impact.”

Faris said the fact that he managed to beat defensive backs with FBS offers in high school affirms to him that he’ll be able to find success at a high level. Enrolling in June, Faris compared his game to his idol and recent Super Bowl MVP for the New England Patriots, Julian Edelman.

“I have enough speed to where I can go deep, but I like being able to route people up,” Faris said. “That’s what I take pride in. I’m just excited to get up there.”

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply