By Jeff Kubiszyn @JeffKubiszyn on March 22, 2014
The Florida State Seminoles capped a spectacular 2013 season with their first national championship since 1999. This puts the target on the Seminoles in 2014. In order to defend its title, Florida State will need to answer some positional questions this spring.
Juniors Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. have moved on to the NFL. Karlos Williams made the transition from safety and will be the lead back. Mario Pender and Ryan Green have the inside track to lock down the backup spots. The dark horse is freshman Dalvin Cook. Unfortunately, Cook is sidelined with a shoulder injury and may not see any action until the fall. It is possible all four will see action this season.
Florida State loses two key pieces in the secondary -- Terrence Brooks and Lamarcus Joyner. Fortunately, the Seminoles are loaded with talent. P.J. Williams, Jalen Ramsey, Ronald Darby, Nate Andrews and Nick Waisome all saw significant playing time in 2013. One player fans will keep an eye on is Tyler Hunter. Hunter missed most of last season with a neck injury. Expect the secondary to be the strength of the defense.
Mario Edwards Jr. exploded onto the scene last season. The junior will be a marked man this year. The Seminoles will also need to replace Tim Jernigan, Demonte McAllister and Jacobbi McDaniel. The leading candidates to step in to replace these players are Eddie Goldman, Chris Casher, Nile Lawrence-Stample and Demarcus Walker. These players will need to step up if Florida State hopes to have the same type of defensive success it had in 2013.
Florida State fans had to be feeling good about the quarterback situation until backup Jacob Coker announced he was transferring to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Now there are question marks behind Jameis Winston. Sean Maguire saw action last season, with mixed results. He will need to make strides this spring, or the Seminoles will have to turn to John Franklin, III. Suddenly the backup quarterback position is a question mark.
Seminoles fans will forever remember Kelvin Benjamin reaching high for a Winston pass to win the BCS National Championship game. This season Benjamin and Kenny Shaw will need to be replaced. Who is ready for the challenge? Christian Green, Isaiah Jones, Christian Griffith and Levonte Whitfield will get their chance this spring. Someone will need to stand out in order to take pressure off of Rashad Greene.
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