When running back Lorenzo Booker was named the pound-for-pound strongest player on the team two years ago, a few doubters thought his performance was a fluke. Any lingering doubt about the strength of the junior from California was put to rest on Friday when he was officially declared the 2005 strength index champion.
Booker, who is known more for his shiftiness and speed than for his ability to pump iron, claimed the top spot by maxing out with a 371-pound bench press, a 490-pound squat and a hang-clean of 358 pounds.
"He's a very gifted individual," strength and conditioning coach Jon Jost said. "He came in and he did an outstanding job. He is pound-for-pound the strongest person on our team. He showed good improvement from last year. You don't just make progress during the course of the summer. The people that make the most progress is through an accumulation of their work effort during the course of a whole year."
The strength index takes into account the player's body weight and how much he lifts in the bench, the hang-clean and squat. Based on that formula, Booker figured he successfully defended his title last year, but when all the numbers were crunched, offensive lineman Matt Meinrod went home with the prize.
"It feels good," Booker said of reclaiming the title. "Last year it really felt bad because I still felt like pound-for-pound after I added up the weights, I felt like I still had won. But when I asked Jost, he gave me something about how they add muscle mass and something weird like that. So last year I was pretty upset about it... I'll take a 'W' anyway I can get it."
Booker weighed in at a lean 190 pounds.
Just missing out on the strength title was Kamerion Wimbley. The rising senior has been the talk of the defense since spring practice began. After winning the coveted Heinsman award given to the most dominant player on the team in April, he has been one of the hardest workers in the weight room and in workouts.
"I'm really, really excited about Kamerion and the progress that he has made this summer," Jost said. "Not only in the weight room, but in our performance indicators. All you have to do is look at him and you can tell he's ready to play. He's put in a tremendous amount of work in during the course of the entire off-season."
If you want an example of a player that has improved physically during his time at Florida State, then Wimbley is your poster child. When the Kansas native reported back in 2002 he weighed in at 209 pounds and now he is up to 255 pounds. Despite adding on nearly 50 pounds of muscle, he has added several inches to his vertical jump and dramatically improved his numbers in every performance and strength indicator.
"It's exciting to see somebody like him that has made progress over his four years," Jost said. "I can't wait to watch him on the field."
After Wimbley, walk-on Mikhal Kornegay was another top five performer that many people wouldn't expect to find in the top five. Even though he only weighs around 170-pounds, the Greenville, Florida native really packs a punch in the weight room.
"Kornegay is somebody a lot of people don't know a whole lot about but he is a very strong defensive back," Jost said. "He is a person that comes in every single day and knows exactly what they are supposed to do and works very hard.."
Offensive lineman Matt Meinrod officially finished at No. 4 but he probably would have finished higher had he been tested this week. Last week, Meinrod met with Jost and it was decided that he would not participate so there would be no chance of an injury. Instead, his numbers from previous weight lifting sessions were utilized. Since he wasn't pushing to his maximum abilities at that time, his numbers probably underestimate his full potential.
Defensive tackle Andre Fluellen rounds out the top five for the strength testing. He is another player that has made remarkable progress since he first arrived on campus. Since he pretty much has a lock on the starting defensive tackle spot this season, his improvement is great news for the Seminole coaching staff.
"He's gained over 40 pounds on every single lift," Jost said. "Last year at this time he weighed 269 and now he weighs 289."
As Warchant.com reported last week, De'Cody Fagg was named the winner of the performance index after posting a 4.45 40-yard dash, a 38-inch vertical jump, a 3.91-second shuttle run, and a 10-foot broad jump. According to coach Jost, the former Quincy Shanks standout has also made great strides in the weight room. When you compare last year's performance and strength results with this year's numbers, Fagg comes out on top as the team's most improved player.
Even though he is significantly faster than he was last year, Fagg has also added a lot of weight. This week the former 198-pound receiver weighed in at 222 pounds.
Next week the two "Seminole Warriors" will be named. Every year the players vote on one offensive and one defensive player that has been the most committed to the off-season program.
NOTE: Since neither Florida State nor the coaches are permitted to release/discuss testing results the above information was complied from player comments and could vary from the "official" results.