Mobile (AL) Faith Academy defensive end Chris Casher is a raw talent with seemingly unlimited potential that can be as good as he wants to be.
Auburn and Alabama have won the last two BCS championships, but you would never know it based on how well Florida State has recruited lately in the Yellowhammer State.
Particularly in talent-rich Mobile, where the Seminoles already have commitments for 2012 from Faith Academy defensive end Chris Casher and W.P. Davidson offensive tackle Alphonse Taylor. Both rated as four-star prospects by Scout.com, Casher is the No. 8 player in the country at his position, while Taylor is 26th.
Perhaps some of the credit goes to quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator Dameyune Craig, who is a Mobile native and played for Auburn from 1994-97, although Casher doesn’t believe the explanation is that simple.
“To be honest, I really can’t say,” Casher said Tuesday at the Jimbo Fisher Football Camp. “I can’t really speak for everybody else. I can really only speak for myself. I just felt more home here than at Alabama or Auburn. I just like the chemistry. I just like everything about the school.”
While Casher isn’t a lock to qualify academically at this point, he’s in better shape now than he was a year ago and feels confident he’ll get to Tallahassee on time.
“I’m doing fine,” he said. “Earlier in my high school career, I really didn’t take it serious. But a light came on. I really know what I’ve got to do in order to be what I want to be and do what I want to do.”
Currently 6-4 and 240 pounds, Casher has room to grow and believes he’ll play the majority of his collegiate career in the 265-270 range. This past season, he recorded 10.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss for the Rams. He chose Florida State over the likes of in-state powerhouses Alabama and Auburn, plus Arkansas and Georgia.
Not necessarily a lifelong FSU backer, Casher is a big fan of two players on the current roster he’ll soon call teammates.
“I won’t really say I had one back when I was a kid, but now, I like Brandon Jenkins,” he said. “I also like Greg Reid. Even though he’s a cornerback, I like Greg Reid. I like his energy.”
Like most high-school studs, Casher wants to get on the field as soon as possible and contribute, but he understands the process and appreciates that he’ll be surrounded by some of the nation’s best players once he arrives on campus.
“Nobody has that mind frame that they’re going to come in and redshirt, so my goal is to come out here and play,” he said. “But if it comes to that, it comes to that.”
According to Chad Simmons, the Southeast Recruiting Manager for Scout.com, Casher is a bit unpolished but simply overflowing with natural pass-rushing ability.
“Casher is an athlete with unlimited potential,” said Simmons. “He is one of those kids that can really be as good as he wants to be. He is the one that controls how far he wants to go in my eyes. He is extremely athletic. He is starting to fill out his frame and he can be a real terror off the edge as a defensive end in the traditional 4-3 scheme, or he could be a good outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive front as well. He is still raw in terms of technique. But once he improves his hands, his play at the point of attack and his body balances out, he could be one of the best in the conference on the next level.”
As for Taylor, his favorite former Seminole just got selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Chiefs – and, of course, he’s also from Mobile.
“Rodney Hudson,” Taylor said. “That’s my boy.”
Unlike Casher, Taylor doesn’t have much to worry about in the classroom and plans to be in Tallahassee by January as an early enrollee, not next summer with the rest of the 2012 class.
“I’m great, loving it,” he said. “3.5 GPA, graduating early. I’m good.”
While it’s no secret that schools like Alabama and Georgia are going to test the strength of Taylor’s commitment, the 6-6, 350-pounder – he plans to get down to 325 before long – has been decked out in garnet and gold during all three days of camp.
“I don’t take phone calls from them,” he said. “When people call me, I just reject the calls. My commit is serious. I’m a hard commit. Because at Davidson, we don’t play that commit to someone and then de-commit and all that. Once you commit, that’s the school of your choice. You’re committed, and that’s that.”
Even though he’ll play on either side of the ball his senior season for the Warriors, both he and offensive line coach Rick Trickett feel his future is brightest as a blind-side pass protector.
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“I’m a left tackle, most definitely,” Taylor said. “That’s what I came to the camp and worked out as. I talked to Coach Trickett about it a lot. I’m just trying to learn more about it at the time, but I’m most definitely a left tackle.”
“He has spent a lot of time on the defensive line in high school, but he has all the tools to be a very good offensive tackle in college,” he said. “I really like his feet, his size and his coordination on the offensive line. He could be a left or right tackle on the next level. He has the feet to be good in pass pro, and he will be good in run blocking as well. He has a lot of potential.”
So, apparently, do the ‘Noles when it comes to raiding the great state of Alabama.
John Crist is an NFL analyst for Scout com, a voter for the Heisman Trophy and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.