At first, Cameron Erving was not interested in Jimbo Fisher’s offer to move him to the offensive line.
“It first happened after my true freshman year,” Erving said. “Coach Fisher asked me if I wanted to play O-Line. But I didn’t. I felt like I had something to prove [on defense].”
So after a redshirt season that saw him recover from an injured back, Erving played behind defensive tackle Everett Dawkins as one of the key reserves on a Seminole line that finished 2nd nationally against the run.
“I played and I had some success as a defensive tackle, so I came back this Spring and [Fisher] asked me again,” Erving said. “I felt like the opportunity didn’t present itself twice for no reason. I felt like I had to try.”
So Erving made the switch during Spring practice and quickly entrenched himself as the starting left tackle.
His transition is stunning not because it’s unprecedented, but because of how quickly he picked things up. The redshirt sophomore enters 2012 as one of the only certainties on a shuffling and undecided offensive line despite being one of its least experienced members.
One huge help in Erving’s rapid progression has been former battery-mate senior Brandon Jenkins. Erving battles the preseason all-American defensive end every day in practice.
It’s had tremendous effects.
“I go back to day one and I can think of like, sticking with Brandon in pass-rushing [drills] but then him coming back and beating me, and me wondering like ‘Why? How?’” Erving said. “But now as soon as it happens I know exactly what I did wrong, what I need to do the next rep to change the outcome.”
Still a work in progress, the time spent battling the future NFL defensive end has been invaluable.
“Going against Brandon every day is just really good; He’s just really fast, he [practices at] game-pace,” Erving said. “I’m just learning, learning plays. You’ve got to learn fast. I’ve caught on pretty fast but there’s still just a lot of minor things that I do regularly that I need to change so I can be more successful.”
Even as inexperienced as he is, Erving has caught the attention of Seminoles fans and nation pundits alike. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper recently said Erving has the chance to be the best left tackle to ever come out of Florida State.
Lofty expectactions, but ones that don’t seem to phase Erving.
“I don’t like to talk about that because that’s not really what’s on my mind right now,” Erving said. “But as far as being one of the best, I haven’t even played a game yet. I’m trying to stay humble. I mean hearing it is good, but it can either help you or hurt you.
“You can let it get to your head and not work as hard or you can set as an expectation and have something to work towards.”