This weekend, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher will face one of the biggest tasks of his young career in Tallahassee when No. 10 Clemson comes in for a prime-time game that the nation will be watching Saturday. Win, and the national title talk for the Seminoles will have plenty of backing; lose, and the questions will mount about whether he can get the job done.
On Thursday night, however, Fisher and the staff at Florida State made a decision that won them an early victory when they told Tampa (Fla.) offensive lineman Richy Klepal they will honor his scholarship offer to the university after the talented recruit was forced to give up football this week because of concussions.
"There wasn't really a choice or a decision," Klepal told ESPN. "My doctor was telling me: Unless I want to take a risk of dying, it would be in my best interest [to quit]. I love football more than anything, but my mental health is a little more important.
"I got my fifth concussion about two, two-and-a-half weeks ago. And when I got it, I got an MRI and it showed that I have a hemorrhage in my brain."
The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder committed to Florida State in mid-July and was expected to be a key cog in one of the top recruiting classes in the country. Plant High coach Robert Weiner discussed the news with the Seminoles staff after learning of the diagnosis from doctors and passed along the good news to Klepal that he still would have a scholarship waiting for him. Though he will be a member of the team, likely as a student-assistant coach, he won't count against the program's 85-man scholarship limit.
Klepal will travel to Tallahassee this weekend to meet with coaches to discuss the logistics of what will happen and when. For now, he's just excited to know he has a place somewhere in the future after the devastating news that he couldn't play another down of the game he loved.
"I am just more than grateful," he said.