Few Florida State football players impressed Jimbo Fisher this spring more than junior college offensive lineman Kareem Are.
The 6'6'', 335-pound guard was quick to learn the Seminoles blocking schemes. Are, a former Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College standout, saw extensive work on the second team and also on the first-team offensive line with Tre' Jackson slowed by injury.
"I think Kareem Are has a chance to be one heck of a player," Fisher said in March. "I think he's doing a great job of coming along very nicely. I'm very pleased."
Are could be the next junior college prospect to make an impact at FSU. Four recent JUCO standouts—defensive back Mike Harris, defensive end Cornellius Carradine, defensive tackle Anthony McCloud and offensive lineman Menelik Watson—weren't on campus four years like most recruits, but they contributed from the start and are all in the NFL now.
Harris, who played at El Camino (California) Community College, didn't start at FSU in 2010 but saw significant playing time as a nickel corner and had 41 tackles while grabbing four interceptions (tied for the team lead). He started seven games as a senior and finished with 58 tackles and an interception. Harris is now in his third season with the Jacksonville Jaguars after making a combined 74 tackles in 2012 and '13.
Carradine, who played at Butler (Kansas) Community College, made 38 tackles and had 5.5 sacks as a backup in 2011. He stepped into the starting lineup in week 2 of 2012 after a foot injury to Brandon Jenkins, and Carradine was one of the ACC's top pass-rushers (11 sacks) and had 80 tackles. He was a second-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers but missed his rookie season with a knee injury.
McCloud, who spent a season at Itawamba (Mississippi) Community College, was a backup in 2010 and then started 23 games in 2011 and '12. He had 84 career tackles at FSU. McCloud spent 2013 on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad.
Watson, who grew up in England, played basketball at Marist before switching to football. He played at Saddleback (California) College. He played just one season at FSU, but started 12 games in 2012 and graded out at 76 percent and allowed just one sack. Watson entered the NFL draft early and was a second-round pick by the Oakland Raiders.
The Seminoles also had fullback Debrale Smiley, a former Itawamba prospect who saw most of his FSU playing time at fullback. And offensive lineman Jacob Fahrenkrug, who played at North Dakota State College of Science, started 12 games in 2011 for FSU before moving into a reserve role.
FSU has a few other junior college prospects on the roster. Desmond Hollin only had four tackles and a sack as a junior in 2013 but will likely see more playing time in the defensive tackle rotation this fall. And offensive lineman Chad Mavety, a junior college prospect from Garden City (New York) Community College, told 247Sports' Josh Newberg (subscription required) that he was completing an online math class and would be in Tallahassee in July.
With four returning starters on the offensive line and senior center Austin Barron taking over for Bryan Stork, Are will likely see playing time on the second-team line. But if FSU has any injuries, Are is versatile enough to play guard or center and would be able to fill in capably.
"He is a big boy," FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett said on national signing day. "He will put you on your back. I really like this kid."
So do FSU's defensive linemen. Are may have been one of the new kids on campus, but he has already been a tough matchup for Mario Edwards Jr.
"He's definitely aggressive, that's one of the good things I've noticed about him," Edwards Jr. said. "He loves to pile you in the ground if you let him, and he has strong hands."
Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report, all quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bob on Twitter. All stats are courtesy of seminoles.com and NFL.com. Recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.