Florida State’s Wally Aime continues to transform physically as he shifts from defensive tackle to defensive end.
The rising senior worked inside the past two seasons for the Seminoles after coming to Tallahassee as a junior college transfer. There, his quickness was advantageous as he emerged as a solid role player, receiving above-average marks from Pro Football Focus as he recorded 200-plus snaps each season.
Aime was informed shortly after the 2017 season by defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins that he’d be moving outside to defensive end in FSU’s new scheme under Harlon Barnett. It was a move that made sense for both Aime and FSU due to the Seminoles’ depth at defensive tackle, lack of experience among strong-side defensive ends, and Aime’s eclectic skill set.
So began Aime’s quest to slim down from his playing weight of 300 pounds.
Aime — who had 18 tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss last season — was down five pounds by the time spring practice started. By the look of a video he posted this week during a photoshoot for team graphics, Aime is successfully reshaping his body and getting thinner to fit into his role on the edge.
I’m in my glory ?????? pic.twitter.com/ONwF4gS0U5
— WallyLaFlair (@walvenskiaime) May 30, 2018
“This offseason, he put in hours of work,” FSU defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas said of Aime during the spring. “He did a lot this [offseason] to accomplish his goal and it’s going good for him.”
Aime’s new role will likely require him to set the edge and take on chips from tight ends as a strong-side defensive end. This is where Aime’s experience battling inside and taking on double teams could help him make a smooth transition. FSU’s hope is that Aime’s length, strength and athleticism make him a good fit opposite of pass rushers like Brian Burns and Joshua Kaindoh.
“Defensive end, it’s more of a transition time,” Aime said in the spring. “You have more ability to work in space, and get off the ball and build up to what you have to do versus D-tackle where it’s real quick and in your face.”
Aime was in good shape at defensive tackle and he won’t need to drop much weight — FSU wants Aime to remain stout against the run — but reshaping his body some to be a tad more fluid at the new position so he could comfortably play in space was a key objective this offseason. He displayed flashes of what he can do in the new role during FSU’s spring game, creating pressure off the edge on a couple occasions while recording a tackle for loss and laying off the quarterback on what would’ve been a sack. So far, Aime is seemingly moving in the right direction and embracing the change.
“I’m enjoying it very well. [Defensive ends coach Mark] Snyder is real patient with me knowing that I transitioned from tackle to defensive end,” Aime said. “He plays to my strengths and my abilities. I feel like I’m getting better every day.”