TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A week before Florida State’s preseason camp opened, Lorenzo Featherston put his sunglasses on at night and danced in front of a car atop a parking garage as part of a parody music video that rivals the 1980s Seminole Rap in infamy. As a 220-pound freshman playing defensive line, there was a sense that was the most recognition Featherston would receive in 2014.
“Honestly when I first saw him, I was like, ‘Man he’s a little skinny to play end,'” said junior defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., who’s listed at 294 pounds. “But when those pads came on [in camp] and I saw how quick and fast he was and how he can use his hands and slip through blocks, I knew he would be great.
“And when he puts on 30 or 40 more pounds, he’s going to definitely be a dangerous guy. ... That’s the guy.”
Featherston already has proved to be a valuable asset as a freshman for the No. 2 Seminoles (7-0, 4-0 ACC), who play Louisville (6-2, 4-2) and its shaky offensive line Thursday night (7:30 ET ESPN). Over the past four games, three of which he started, Featherston has a sack, five tackles for loss and forced a fumble that helped give FSU its first lead against NC State late in the third quarter.
While Featherston seems undersized for defensive end at 220 pounds, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said Featherston is deceptively strong. Standing 6-foot-7, his weight is distributed throughout his lengthy frame, but Fisher said he’s capable of holding his own with most offensive linemen the Seminoles will play this season.
Likewise, his height could have the potential to handicap him as a defensive lineman, too, but Featherston is uniquely athletic.
“If he couldn’t bend it could be a hindrance, but this guy can bend,” Fisher said. “It is just three more inches of greatness. They would all like to have it. If you can keep the same ability you have at 6-foot-3 and go 6-foot-7, you definitely would take it.”
Featherston, the fifth-ranked defensive end and No. 33 in the 2014 ESPN 300, is still going through his growing pains like any freshman, but what Fisher loves about his budding star is he usually can correctly identify what his mistake was on a play. It is often getting pinned inside on running plays and losing contain, but the vast benefits far outweigh the minor negatives. There could be a lot of big plays awaiting Featherston in Louisville, where the Cardinals rank 122nd of 128 FBS teams in sacks allowed with 27.
“Lorenzo is an amazing player,” quarterback Jameis Winston said. “He’s like a little spider out there -- quick, explosive and strong. He’s a young guy, true freshman, played a very important role in our win [against NC State], and I think he’ll continue to play that role.”