Jan. 31, 2013
As part of a daily series prior to National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 6, Seminoles.com will take a look at each of the returning scholarship players on the roster with a breakdown of what they did in 2012 and what can be of expected of them when spring practices get started.
Yesterday we looked at the defensive backs and running backs and today's look is at the quarterbacks and linebackers.
FSU enters spring practice with a highly-anticipated battle at signal caller on its hands where there are four competitors vying for the vacated spot left by EJ Manuel. At linebacker, the 'Noles lost two starters but have several capable playmakers ready to step in for new coach Charles Kelly.
2012 Recap: As a redshirt freshman, Coker played mop-up duty in four games as the third-string quarterback behind Manuel and Clint Trickett. He finished the year 3-of-5 with 45 yards passing and a touchdown toss to classmate Kelvin Benjamin in the blowout victory over Savannah State.
2013 Spring Outlook: Coker will enter his second spring in Tallahassee in the middle of one of the most important position battles at FSU in recent memory. Despite having less experience than Trickett, Coker will be given the opportunity to showcase his huge arm, athletic ability and progression within Jimbo Fisher's offensive system over the last two seasons as he watched from the sidelines. At 6-foot-6 and 227 pounds, Coker looks the part of a big-time quarterback and he'll have his first real chance to let his play back up his measurables when spring practice gets underway.
2012 Recap: Maguire redshirted in his first season with the Seminoles.
2013 Spring Outlook: Despite not coming in as highly-hyped as fellow 2012 signee Jameis Winston, Maguire has the talent to be in the mix when the competition and jockeying for position under center kicks into high gear this spring. Maguire was considered one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the entire country as a senior at Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey.
2012 Recap: As the No. 2 quarterback behind Manuel, Trickett played in seven games for the Seminoles and threw for 272 yards on 22-of-34 passing.
2013 Spring Outlook: Trickett will likely enter spring practice in the No. 1 spot on the depth chart where he'll be given the opportunity to keep his young position mates at bay. In limited action over the course of the past two years, Trickett has shown flashes of deceptive arm strength, his athleticism and a thorough understanding of the playbook. The knock on Trickett is that his smaller stature gives some of the other quarterbacks on the roster an advantage but playmaking knows no size limits. With his Celiac Disease under control, the son of FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett has added extra weight that will surely help him better absorb hits and add velocity to his throws and he'll finally get a chance to showcase his complete arsenal of skills without Manuel or Christian Ponder ahead of him on the depth chart.
2012 Recap: Winston redshirted in his first season with the Seminoles.
2013 Spring Outlook: The top quarterback prospect in the class of 2012, the expectations are high among fans that Winston can be something special at Florida State. The Hueytown, Ala. native is a dual-sport student-athlete -- he'll also compete for the baseball team this year but won't miss any spring football practices -- that possess impressive athleticism, arm strength and the ability to turn negative plays into positive ones with his legs. Like Coker, Trickett and Maguire, Winston will be given every chance to compete and earn the starting job.
2012 Recap: Eligwe redshirted in his first season with the Seminoles.
2013 Spring Outlook: An impressive all-around athlete, Eligwe will get to officially unveil the skills that made him one of the most sought-after linebacker recruits a year ago this spring. At 6-foot-2 and 231 pounds with speed to burn, Eligwe could play either inside or outside linebacker for the Seminoles and will have the chance to impress Kelly as FSU's new linebackers coach evaluates each player and shuffles the depth chart as he sees fit.
2012 Recap: One of the top linebackers in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Jones led the Seminoles in tackles with 95 total stops from his weakside linebacker spot. He also added seven tackles for loss, three pass breakups, three passes defended, one quarterback hurry and two fumble recoveries.
2013 Spring Outlook: Jones nearly left FSU early for the NFL before deciding to return for one last year in the same garnet-and-gold uniform that both his father and older brother previously wore. Not only does Jones' return boost the 'Noles' defense but he also has the chance to take the next step in his career and possibly become one of the top players at his position in the entire country -- a quest that gets started this spring.
2012 Recap: A true freshman last year, Northrup played in 12 of 14 games for the Seminoles in a reserve linebacker and special-teams role. He finished the year with 10 tackles and one tackle for loss. Interestingly, Nothrup wore two jersey numbers as a rookie: 12 and 29. He started his career wearing No. 12 but had to switch so that he could play special teams the same time as wide receiver Jarred Haggins, who also wears that jersey number.
2013 Spring Outlook: With Nick Moody training for the NFL Draft, FSU enters spring practice with a hole at one of the outside linebacker spots and Northrup could vye for that position on the depth chart alongside Jones and Telvin Smith because of the experience he gained last year. That decision ultimately rests with Kelly but Northup will have the chance to prove he's worthy of a starting gig in his first spring in Tallahassee.
2012 Recap: Smith finished third on the team in tackles as a junior in 2012 with 64 total stops to go along with 9 1/2 tackles for loss (the most among linebackers), one sack, three pass breakups, three passes defended, two quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.
2013 Spring Outlook: Smith was essentially a "1B" starter at middle linebacker the past two seasons but with Vince Williams no longer on the team, the Valdosta, Ga. native sits alone as the top player at middle linebacker entering his final spring with the Seminoles. How Smith's role is defined under Kelly and in new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's system has yet to be determined but he'll likely be given every opportunity to use his impressive speed and quarterback-seeking ability as a pass rusher this season.
2012 Recap: Terrance Smith played in 12 of 14 games as a redshirt freshman in 2012 and drew the praise of Fisher on multiple occasions. He finished the year with nine tackles and 1 1/2 tackles for loss.
2013 Spring Outlook: Like fellow youngsters Eligwe and Northrup, Terrance Smith has an important spring ahead of him as he aims to impress Kelly, Pruitt and Fisher by building off his limited role a season ago and taking the next step towards helping solidify the depth chart and the linebacker corps as a whole. He'll be given every chance to compete for a starting job after serving as Moody's primary backup last year.
2012 Recap: A redshirt sophomore last season, Terrell played in five games and finished the year with five tackles and one quarterback hurry.
2013 Spring Outlook: One of the few remaining veterans at linebacker on the roster, Terrell will be in competition for more playing time after serving as Jones' backup on the weakside last year.
*Early enrollee Freddie Stevenson will also be in the mix this spring after he began class in early January. The Bartow, Fla. native is considered one of the better linebacker prospects coming out high school this recruiting cycle and he'll wear No. 4 at Florida State.