Is Jeremiah Byers playing 'Like Mike?' Why the FSU lineman credits his shoes for success

"It's the shoes."

That's what Florida State football offensive lineman Jeremiah Byers credits his recent success to.

Byers compared his cleats to the sneakers in the 2002 film, 'Like Mike,' which gave actor Lil' Bow Wow skills like NBA superstar Michael Jordan.

Unlike the movie's main character - Calvin Cambridge a 13-year-old orphan who wishes to be able to play basketball 'Like Mike' - Byers did not wish for abilities or have to climb an electrical power pole to get his shoes.

But do the shoes have superpowers? Byers believes so.

Despite Saturday's contest for No. 4 FSU (8-0, 6-0 ACC) being played against Pittsburgh (2-6, 1-3) at a potentially rough surface at Acrisure Stadium, Byers does not plan on changing his shoes. The game will air on ESPN with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

"Have you seen the movie, 'Like Mike?' These are my lucky shoes," Byers said with a laugh following Wednesday's practice.

"My last pair broke and then they gave me these ones and I've just been wearing them since the fall camp."

Despite a slow start, the Seminoles cannot complain about the production Byers has provided.

He has started in all eight contests at right tackle after transferring in the offseason from UTEP.

“He started off a little bit raw. I had him in the spring and in the summer,” offensive line coach Alex Atkins said at Monday's press conference. “The thing I like about Jeremiah is his availability. He’s been that stronghold even throughout the rotations and things like that. He has been solid, playing through pain. Focused."

More: FSU football not worried about College Football Playoff rankings after Wake Forest win

Struggles against Clemson and growing

Florida State football players take part in drills during FSU final spring football practice of the 2023 season on Monday, April 17, 2023.
Florida State football players take part in drills during FSU final spring football practice of the 2023 season on Monday, April 17, 2023.

The transition from the Miners to the Seminoles has not always been smooth for Byers.

Overall, he has graded out above average with a 65.0 overall offensive grade from Pro Football Focus and a 63.8 run and pass blocking grade.

The low point so far came against Clemson, where he graded out at 43.3, according to Pro Football Focus. Byers admitted it was his first time playing in front of a large, hostile crowd and it may have gotten to him.

Byers started and played 53 of the 62 offensive snaps but was pulled for the versatile Darius Washington, who finished the game and helped the Seminoles pull off the overtime victory.

“The Clemson game, that wasn’t one of my best games. But it was a big learning experience for me,” Byers said. “I’m just glad that my boy Darius, 76, was able to come in and finish the job for me. Get us in the W.

"After that, I told myself ‘You got to get better. You decided to come here. This is a big stage, you saw what happened, don’t let it happen again.’”

Byers has lived up to the promise to himself. He’s recorded his four-best PFF Grades of the season.

Against Virginia Tech, he posted a 64.7 overall grade. Against Syracuse that jumped to 67.0, including an elite 86.4 pass blocking grade.

He has continued his growth and strong play with good performances against Duke (69.5) and Wake Forest (68.7).

"What I love about him is he works at it. He wants to know the whys," Atkins said. "His commitment to learning the whys of the game and the whys of the offense has helped him calm down instead of just learning the plays where ‘I got him on this play.’ Nah, man, ‘Why are we running this play? Why are we making this call? Why do we have you going in the B gap and not in man protection?’

“And also just his owning of small, detail, basic, fundamental basic football because you are playing in a league now where one fundamental is off you’ll get exposed. I like his buy-in to that.”

More: Florida State ranked 4th in first College Football Rankings. Here are our takeaways.

'It's why I came here'

During spring camp, Byers made a lofty comparison for the Seminoles' offense.

"The Showtime Lakers," Byers said following a spring practice with a smile.

"Jordan Travis, that's Magic (Johnson)Johnny Wilson, that's Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), because he's tall as heck. It's just going to be a show. We're going to be one of the most explosive offenses this year in the country.

"I'm just coming in on the bandwagon and joining the team."

Byers - who was ranked as the No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 19 overall player in 247Sports transfer ratings - was highly sought after in the transfer portal.

The reason he chose the Seminoles is the same reason he is not shocked they are ranked No. 4 in the first College Football Rankings and are off to their first 8-0 start since the 2014 season.

"That's why I came," Byers said. "I knew that this team was special from last year. I just wanted to come be a part of something that's family-oriented. It's something that's that cares about the kids and wants to go win.

"[Winning] was my biggest thing and that's why I came here."


Who: No. 4 FSU (8-0, 6-0 ACC) at Pittsburgh (2-6, 1-3)

When/where: 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, Penn.

TV/Radio: ESPN/94.9 FM

Live game updates:; @Ehsan_Kassim, @jackgwilliams and @JimHenryTALLY on X, formerly Twitter

Reach Ehsan Kassim at or follow him on Twitter at @Ehsan_Kassim. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).

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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: FSU football's Jeremiah Byers thanks lucky shoes for strong turnaround