The Florida State Seminoles lost a ton of talent from their defensive line in 2012. Bjoern Werner (1st round pick, Indianapolis Colts), Cornellius ‘Tank’ Carradine (2nd round pick, San Francisco 49ers), Brandon Jenkins (5th round pick, Washington Redskins) and Everett Dawkins (7th round pick, Minnesota Vikings) are all gone.
Fact: those players combined for 69.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two interceptions in their respective careers. That’s a lot of production to replace. Not many schools would be able to overcome such a talent exodus to ‘The League’.
But this is Florida State we’re talking about here. FSU is one of those schools that loses a ton of talent every year on Draft Day but replenishes it every year on Signing Day. This year will prove head coach Jimbo Fisher‘s recruiting efforts haven’t been in vain.
Defensive tackles Timmy Jernigan (JR) and Demontre McAllister (SR) are now the top dogs of the D-line. Both were very productive last year (combined five sacks and 13 tackles for a loss), despite playing in the shadows of the Werner, Carradine, Jenkins and Dawkins. Each offer good size for the position (each are 6-foot 2, and weigh 298 and 290 pounds respectively), and each can get up field. They’re classic penetrating, one-gap tackles, perfect for the ‘Noles defense.
Sophomore Eddie Goldman is the wild card at defensive tackle. He was the number tackle in the country coming out of high school last year, and he’s shown glimpses of his immense talent. Big things are expected from him this fall in terms of development.
In addition, former 5-star recruit Jacobbi McDaniel (SR) should finally be healthy this fall, providing even more depth inside, with Nile Lawrence-Stample (r-FR).
The starting defensive ends are a little tougher to predict, but there’s elite talent there. Chris Casher (r-FR) and Mario Edwards (SO) could very well be the guys to step into the role. Both were highly ranked coming out of high school last year (especially Edwards, ranked as the number one player in the country by ESPN), and both are being counted on to live up to the billing.
Edwards is the true mystery. No one denies how much talent he has (the recently departed D-linemen all said he was arguably the most talented lineman on the team last year), but he’s been shaky ever since he arrived in Tallahassee. If he wasn’t battling weight problems, he was battling personal problems. Well, now is the time he becomes ‘the guy’.
Other than Casher and Edwards, Giorgio Newberry (r-SO) is expected to play a big role in the ‘Noles pass rush.
So there ya have it. The Seminoles just lost a barrel full of production and are replacing it with a truckload of talent, but can they deliver on all of this promise? That’s the real question. Florida State is well known for recruiting truly elite defensive prospects over the years and have had more than their share of flops.
Something, though, tells me this year’s defensive line steps up to the challenge and performs even better than last year’s line.
Call it a hunch.