TALLAHASSEE — It's been nearly a year, and former Florida State WR De'Cody Fagg still can't explain it.
As he tightroped the sideline to make a catch in a noncontact drill during last February's NFL scouting combine, his left knee buckled.
"I was in shock when it happened because I'm like, 'Dang. I just hurt my knee on something I've been doing my whole life,' " he said.
He had torn his ACL, and his pro prospects seemed to be similarly shredded. Initial reports suggested it was a career-ending injury. The renowned Dr. James Andrews performed surgery a few days later and told Fagg he would need a year to recover.
"I never had any doubt because I knew I wasn't going to give up," Fagg said. "I knew what I had to do to get it back right."
He had met several roadblocks in his time and overcome them to emerge as one of FSU's most reliable, most physical receivers. He had 54 catches for 758 yards as a senior in 2007 and led the team with five touchdown receptions, including a 70-yarder against Alabama when he showed speed few thought he possessed.
It was something he had hoped to show again in Indianapolis last Feb. 24.
He never got that chance.
Fagg started running again in October, far ahead of schedule, and Jan. 16 he received full clearance from Andrews, who called the rehabilitation "miraculous." Fagg's agent, Kevin Conner, is working to line up workouts with NFL clubs, including Miami. Fagg, projected as a second-day pick before the combine, also could participate in FSU's pro day March 16.
"My knee feels real good," he said. "I'm back running, cutting, doing all the drills."
Even tightroping the sideline.
"I was doing that this past weekend and had no problems with it," he said. "It is something to remember. … The whole year I was sitting here in my room, I put in film, and I'd say I caught at least 10 to 15 balls during the season doing that same thing. I look at it, and I just laugh about it."
More NFL talk: ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Everette Brown is a 4-3 defensive end who could stamp himself "solidly in the early to mid first round" with a good workout at this year's combine, Wednesday thorough Feb. 24.
When asked if QB Drew Weatherford, a three-year starter who lost his job before last season and then played sparingly, had any shot to make an NFL team, Kiper was succinct: "I don't think so. No."
Keeps going and going … Senior G Toney Douglas doesn't get much time to rest. But given the youthful makeup of the men's basketball team, he could foresee the need to stay on the court if the Seminoles were to get wins. So he spent the offseason working on his stamina.
"I feel like I can go for days," he said. "That was one of my main goals before the season."
Entering Saturday's game at No. 7 Wake Forest, Douglas is averaging 35.9 minutes a game, third in the ACC, and that has been vital for the No. 25 Seminoles, who rely on him for leadership as well as nearly a third of their offense (20.3 points per game). The last Seminole to average that much court time was Bob Sura (36.3) during the 1994-95 season.
"One thing he's done is he's really become one of the most well-conditioned athletes I've ever been around," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He's tireless."
Feet first: Women's basketball coach Sue Semrau and her staff will coach Friday's game against North Carolina in their bare feet to help raise awareness for Samaritan's Feet, an organization begun in 2003 that is shooting to provide 10 million pairs of shoes to impoverished people in 10 years. Admission is free with a donation of a new pair of shoes.
Brian Landman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3347.