Florida State Reloads on Defensive Line With Maturing Mario Edwards Jr.

By Thomas Emerick
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida State Seminoles are just plain-old reloading at defensive end. Most teams — even powerhouses — would suffer greatly from losing the man many experts call the best pure pass-rusher in the 2013 NFL draft class in Bjoern Werner. This is not to even mention that the defensive edge will also lose Tank Carradine and Brandon Jenkins to the early rounds of this April’s draft.

What FSU lacks in returning star experience from last year’s No. 2-ranked total defense it ostensibly replaces in raw talent. In steps five-star defensive end recruit Mario Edwards Jr., who earned USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year honors for his senior season in 2011. Edwards hopes to make amends in spring practice after hitting camp out of shape last year before finding himself behind on the depth chart as a true freshman.

“Anybody that comes in as No. 1 is going to want to play, and then to be told, ‘You need to sit back and learn the system and get your weight down,’ it hurt at the time,” Edwards said. “… It hit me but then I couldn’t blame anyone but myself. I put myself behind the eight-ball coming in overweight and I wasn’t able to produce like they needed me to do because I was 315 (pounds).”

Edwards did find some measure of redemption in flashing his incredible gifts with increased snaps in the conference title game and Orange Bowl last year, and carries this momentum into Florida State spring football practice. The Seminoles will also boast another five-star defensive end recruit this spring — though only if he’s deemed eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse powers — in 2013 recruit DeMarcus Walker.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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