Florida State University

His FSU career didn't live up to the hype, but he isn't giving up on his NFL dream

Florida State wide receiver Ermon Lane cuts between Syracuse linebacker Parris Bennett, left, and defensive back Rodney Williams in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Florida State defeated Syracuse 27-24.
Florida State wide receiver Ermon Lane cuts between Syracuse linebacker Parris Bennett, left, and defensive back Rodney Williams in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Florida State defeated Syracuse 27-24. AP

Ermon Lane enrolled at Florida State University in 2014 as one of the top freshmen in the country, a bundle of talent fresh out of Homestead with a hope for a fast track to the NFL.

If only the story played out that way.

Lane couldn't break through on the depth chart early in his career and bounced from offense to defense and back to offense again during his final two seasons.

Lane's dream of making it to the NFL might look like it's slipping away. The three-day NFL Draft starts Thursday and Lane figures to be a late-round flier at best.

But he isn't ready to give up just yet.

"Hope for the best," Lane said. "Keep praying. Everything will come together because I prepared for this moment."

The preparation began when he stepped on a football field for the first time during his pee-wee days at age 4. It continued as he grew up admiring the late Sean Taylor, the former University of Miami standout and fifth overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.

By the time he was a sophomore at Homestead High, Lane realized there was the potential to turn football into a career. During his senior year, Lane was the third-best receiver, fourth-best player in Florida and the 24th overall prospect in the 2014 recruiting class, according to 247Sports. He had scholarship offers from 26 Division I schools.

Preview of the 2018 NFL Draft Theater, which is being built on the field of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. This is the first time, the Draft is taking place at an NFL stadium.

"When I started making big plays and colleges started coming in, I knew I had a chance," Lane said. "I could take it as far as I wanted."

That led him to the Florida State Seminoles, the defending national champions. If all went well, Lane would have a chance to succeed in the national spotlight.

It wasn't that easy.

Lane spent his first two years as a backup receiver, catching just 19 passes 317 yards and a touchdown. Midway through his junior season, he moved switched from receiver to defensive back after injuries hampered the Seminoles' depth in the secondary. He started five games and recorded 49 tackles, an interception and a pair of pass breakups. And then midway through his senior year, he switched back to receiver again. He caught passes in five of his final six games to end his collegiate career.

Not exactly the resume of a top-notch college player, let alone a potential NFL star. Lane understands that.

But by no means does he consider his college career a failure or a disappointment.

"Things didn't go as planned," Lane said, "but over the years, I showed people that things are bigger than me. ... I'm just going to do whatever it takes to win."

He's hoping that's enough for a team — any team — to take a chance on him before all 253 picks are announced.

And if he does hear his name called?

"It's going to be a dream come true," Lane said. "This is what you prepare for all your life. ... This is what you sacrificed for."

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