TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher doesn’t think most kids would have stayed.
But Fisher knows most kids aren’t Devonta Freeman.
During his junior year at Miami Central High, Freeman sat behind Kentucky signee Brandon Gainer and, as a result, only carried the ball 70 times for 545 yards — numbers that typically are not associated with a college-bound athlete.
In the ultra-competitive world of Florida 6A high school football, most would have expected a talented athlete like Freeman to transfer to another school where he’d instantly be the star of the offense.
Instead, Freeman stayed.
“How many of those guys would have stayed in that high school for their senior year? Instead of being a starter somewhere else, (he was) just happy to be a part of a team,” Fisher said. “He’s just different.”
Freeman was rewarded for his loyalty. Despite the lack of eye-popping numbers, Florida State offered him a scholarship during the summer before his senior year, and Freeman committed soon after.
He exploded his senior year, rushing for 2,208 yards on 259 attempts and 26 touchdowns, all culminating in the 6A state championship game, during which he carried the team with 308 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.
He’s had to wait his turn at FSU, too, and has quietly run for 273 yards with a 9.75 yards per carry average as a junior. It’s early in the year, but Freeman is on track to become FSU’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Warrick Dunn.
“I’ve been there before. I just want to keep going higher,” Freeman said. “I know what it takes to win the championship, it doesn’t take the 100-yard game and then you go down. When you’re going for success, only thing you do is for success.”