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Jared Verse bench pressed bed, pushed car in makeshift workout routine in 2020

Nov 08, 2023


Florida State defensive end Jared Verse was determined to add strength following his redshirt season in 2019 at Albany. Verse played both on defense and as a tight end in high school but intended to focus solely on defense in college.

He knew he needed to hit the gym to prepare for that transition. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused most workout facilities to close down, he had to improvise. Finding himself stuck at home with no weights, Verse resorted to creative measures.

“We didn’t have any weights at home,” he told On3‘s Andy Staples. “The gym closed down. …I was benching a bed at first because in my room we had a futon that can lay out into a bed. So I’d lay it out into a bed and I’d just bench it.”

The bed wasn’t the only unique way that Verse kept himself in shape. He also told Staples that he and his younger sister pushed his car as part of his makeshift workout routine. Finally, his dad came through by purchasing some equipment so Verse could have more of a standard setup.

The assortment of items at his disposal was a strange one, but he made do.

“I was doing anything to get some work in,” Verse said. “My dad was like, ‘I’m gonna go find some weights. I found somebody selling them.’ I’m like, ‘get them today.’ He drove like two hours for them. Came back with like a bench, some bands, two 120-pound dumbbells, two 30-pound dumbbells, a jump rope. It was so weird. None of them meshed together. …There was no medium weight. It was light and then it was super heavy. So I was like, ‘All right, I gotta figure this out.'”

Verse certainly found a way as he gained 40 pounds ahead of the 2020 season. Unfortunately, Albany canceled fall sports that year and he had to wait until the next season to show off his progress. He returned in 2021 to earn FCS All-American honors while recording 53 tackles (11.5 for loss), 10.5 sacks, 13 QB hurries and a forced fumble.

“It was just a work ethic thing,” Verse said of his transformation. “I was never big on motivational videos or anything, but I watched this this video. It kept talking about ‘If you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe.’ I was like, ‘I wanna win pretty bad.’ So I just lived in the weight room.”

His performance at Albany caused the Seminoles to take notice, and he committed to play for FSU ahead of last season. He didn’t slow down in Tallahassee, finishing the year as the team’s leader in both tackles for loss (17) and sacks (nine).

Now returning for a second season at Florida State, Jared Verse figures to again be the leader on the defensive line as the Seminoles hope to compete for a College Football Playoff spot. Standing 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, he’ll be a menace for opposing offensive lineman and can credit the work he put in during the 2020 offseason for setting the tone going forward.

Verse and the Seminoles will kick off the 2023 season on Sept. 3 with a top 10 matchup against No. 5 LSU.

Florida StateJared VerseAlbanyAndy StaplesLSU