The following article is a guest contribution from Matt Ramker, a National Basketball Players Association certified agent for ASM Sports.
Rashad Greene, Jalen Ramsey, and Nick O’Leary are all names that could be argued as Florida State’s Most Valuable Player in conjunction with the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. No one would disagree with the impact all four of these players have had on FSU’s second consecutive undefeated regular season. The real MVP lines up on the offensive line. His name is Cameron Erving and his number is 75.
Coming out of High School, Erving was as little known in football recruiting circles as the town he grew up in. He made his name as a defensive tackle, amassing a whopping 98 tackles his senior year at Colquitt County High School. Moultrie, Georgia has a population around 14,000 and is best known as “The Antique Capital of South Georgia”. At 6’6” 309 lbs, Erving is bigger than life in Moultrie.
He arrived in Tallahassee in the summer of 2010 to play for veteran defensive line coach Odell Haggins. After a redshirt year, he played in all 13 games during the 2011 season. With lingering question marks and inexperience on the offensive line coming into the 2012 season, a decision was made by Jimbo Fisher and Rick Trickett to move Erving to offensive tackle. This would not be the last time he would change positions for the Noles.
The move paid instant dividends for Florida State’s offensive productivity and for Erving’s national reputation as an NFL Draft prospect. Lining up opposite Menelik Watson, who was the 42nd overall pick in 2013 NFL Draft, Erving became a household name to NFL Scouts and Draftniks like Mel Kiper. As NFL teams came in to evaluate Watson, many remarked that Erving was the best offensive line prospect on Florida State’s roster and had a future in the NFL.
The 2013 season rolled around and Erving was widely considered one of the top left tackles in the country. His main task was protecting Winston, the most important player to suit up in Garnet and Gold in the last 15 years. As Winston was leading the Seminoles to the National Championship and winning the Heisman Trophy, Erving was anchoring the unit that maintained Florida States offensive productivity week in and week out. The offensive line only gave up one sack per game and the offense, led by Winston, set an FBS record with 723 points for the season.
After Florida State hoisted their first National Championship trophy since the Chris Weinke led team of 1999, many Seminoles had decisions to make about the upcoming NFL Draft. Erving had one of the biggest decisions. Kiper, Todd McShay, and all the other draft experts predicted Erving would be picked in the late 1st round and top 3 rounds at worst. He shocked all the experts and NFL teams by deciding to pass on the riches of professional football for his senior year at Florida State. Erving would enter the 2014 season as one of the top offensive line prospects in the country.
Most football fans have seen Academy Award nominee The Blind Side and recognize that the left tackle is the most important position on the offensive line. Through the Virginia game of this season, Erving held down the blind side for all 22 of Winston’s starts. It was during that game in early November that Fisher and Trickett again decided to change Erving’s position. The offensive line had been struggling, Winston was consistently under pressure up the middle, and the running game was stagnant. The coaches deduced that moving Erving from tackle to center would solve those problems. Rarely could you take a player that had only been playing offensive tackle for three years and put him in charge of all of the blocking assignments for the entire line. Erving is that cerebral and versatile.
As Florida State embarks on their second consecutive National Title and remains undefeated in the Winston era, Erving continues to be the unsung hero. Since Erving’s move to center, Winston has continued to show why he is potentially the #1 pick in the draft. In addition a star was born in freshman running back Dalvin Cook who rushed for 525 yards and three touchdowns during that time. If the Noles are able to defeat Oregon in the semi-finals and beat the winner of Alabama/Ohio State in the championship, Erving will finish his career on the offensive line 41-2 with two National Championships.
Come this May he will be one of the first 64 players announced in the NFL Draft, currently sitting at #25 on Kiper’s Big Board. “Cameron Erving was at left tackle for a while — and a good prospect there — when coaches moved him inside to center. He’s been outstanding since the move, and was outstanding again Saturday against Georgia Tech,” said Kiper in his latest draft update for ESPN.com. Erving isn’t flashy and doesn’t boast about his greatness, but he is certainly in my eyes the MVP for Florida State this season.