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Class-by-Class Breakdown: Juniors

May 16, 2014

Brandon Mellor Brandon Mellor Managing Editor
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Senior-Class Breakdown

Kareem Are

FSU’s newest offensive lineman was the talk of spring practices earlier this year. After enrolling in classes in January as a junior-college signee, Are was held out of the first week of practice but when finally cleared he hit the ground running.

Boasting a massive 6-foot-6 and 335-pound frame, Are immediately began to showcase his power and strong hands as the team’s second-team guard. With star Tre’ Jackson held out for precautionary reasons during several practices, Are found himself working with the first team. He also ran with the starting squad when left tackle Cameron Erving cross-trained at center and starting left guard Josue Matias slid over to tackle.

Whether or not Are makes a move into the starting lineup at the start of the season will depend on his progression during camp. Despite being a new face and the likelihood that five seniors will start on Rick Trickett’s offensive line, the best players play on Jimbo Fisher’s team and Are could push for playing time right away. At worst, the Floral Park, N.Y. native provides the ‘Noles a talented backup in 2014.

Cason Beatty

Fisher said at the conclusion of spring ball that FSU’s punting situation needs to continue to improve. A two-year starter at punter, Beatty will continue to be ask to hone his craft and develop a more consistent ability to pin teams back and c hang field position. 

Beatty improved his average from 38.3 yards-per-punt as a freshman in 2012 to 41.1 in 2013.

Lamarcus Brutus

A reserve safety through the first few years of his career, Brutus saw increased snaps and opportunities this past spring with the graduation of star defensive backs Terrence Brooks and Lamarcus Joyner. Because of his versatility, Brutus will be in competition for playing time this fall at Brooks’ old safety spot and Joyner’s vacated nickel back position. 

Brutus has played in 17 games during his ’Noles career.

Carter is a valuable member of FSU’s second-team offensive line

Ruben Carter

A valuable piece of FSU’s offensive line rotation, Carter is the most experienced player on Rick Trickett’s second-team unit. 

Carter has played in 16 games over the past two years and started once last year at guard due to an injury to Jackson. Carter provides insurance that should injury force a shuffle on the offensive line, Trickett can plug in a player that has experience, good size and ability into the lineup. He’ll continue to push for playing time this season and could be in line for a starting job in 2015 when FSU loses five seniors to graduation.

Ronald Darby

One of the country’s best cornerbacks, opposing quarterbacks rarely test Darby. The Oxon Hill, Md. native doesn’t put up gaudy stats — he has just one interception in his career — but that’s because his opportunities to make a play on the football are so limited. In short: FSU’s opponents don't test the 5-foot-11, 188-pound defender.

Darby enters the 2014 season with the chance to push for first-round NFL Draft status as well as leading a ‘Noles secondary that could be just as potent as it was a year ago despite the loss of Brooks and Joyner.

Mario Edwards, Jr.

The former five-star prospect has seen his impact on the football field steadily increase over the past two years and now Edwards enters his third season with expectations for a superstar-level campaign.

Edwards played his best football down the stretch in 2013 and showcased an impressive ability to stuff the run from his defensive end position. With so few bodies at that spot on the roster, Edwards is one of the most important players on FSU’s roster moving forward as he’ll be expected to rarely leave the field while providing an impact not just against the run but against the pass as well.

An All-ACC selection a season ago, Edwards was a playmaker as a sophomore by posting two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, 9 1/2 tackles for loss, 3 1/2 sacks and that memorable scoop-and-score at Clemson that quieted the Death Valley crowd.

Eddie Goldman

Like Edwards, Goldman is a former five-star talent that has shown impressive flashes in his career and has a chance to become a special player for the ’Noles — and FSU coaches are hoping that happens in 2014. Because of Timmy Jernigan’s early exit to the NFL, the Seminoles have a big, play-making void at defensive tackle. Jernigan made the defense work to perfection a season ago because of his relentless motor, ability to win one-on-one battles and eat up double teams. Can Goldman fill a similar role? If he can, FSU’s defense shouldn’t miss a beat this year.

Goldman has played in 23 games the last two years.

FSU’s secondary gets a big boost this fall with the healthy return of Hunter

Tyler Hunter

FSU’s defense sustained a major blow when Hunter was lost for the 2013 season in the third game of the year. After suffering a neck injury on kickoff coverage, the Valdosta, Ga. native’s career was in doubt but successful surgery and a rehabilitation process had him back in time for spring practices.

Despite being limited from tackling and getting hit in the spring, Hunter is expected to be full-go when camp starts in August and his return gives defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Charles Kelly another proven playmaker in the back end. Hunter has experience at safety and at the nickel back position so his versatility is a plus. He also has an eye for the football with four career interceptions to his credit.

Hunter is a presumed starter at safety but he could be used all over the secondary in 2014.

Nile Lawrence-Stample

A six-game starter at defensive tackle a season ago alongside Timmy Jernigan, Lawrence-Stample is in the hunt to retain his spot atop the depth chart when camp starts this August.

The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. native finished the national-championship 2013 season with 15 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games. As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Lawrence-Stample played in eight contests and racked up 10 tackles and a tackle for loss.

Entering his fourth year in the program as a redshirt junior, Lawrence-Stample’s continued progression is key for a defense looking to remain on top of the college football world despite the loss of Jernigan’s superstar ability.

Derrick Mitchell, Jr.

The injury bug has been pesky over the course of Mitchell’s first three seasons in Tallahassee and avoiding any more setbacks could fast-track him into more opportunities this fall. After not playing in 2011 or 2012, Mitchell participated in eight games last year and contributed two tackles.

At 6-foot-4 and 292 pounds, he has the size to be a factor at defensive tackle. Now it’s all about staying healthy and continuing to develop on a depth chart that needs as many capable players as possible.

Giorgio Newberry

Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 280 pounds, Newberry is one of the biggest players on FSU’s roster. And now FSU’s coaches are hoping that his size can help in the middle of the defensive line. After moving from defensive end to tight end for the 2013 season, Newberry is back home on defense where he spent this past spring fighting for playing time at his third position.

Changing positions is never easy — let alone making a switch a trio of times — but if Newberry can beat the learning curve and execute what Haggins expects him to accomplish not he football field, the Ft. Pierce, Fla. native could become a valuable part of the rotation at defensive tackle this season.

To his credit, Newberry has 13 tackles in his collegiate career.

Reggie Northrup

A reserve linebacker that has played in 26 games the last two years and has 56 tackles to his credit, Northrup could be in line for a starting job this fall.

Northrup didn't start a game last year but that didn't stop the hard-hitting 'backer from finishi0ng eighth on the team with 46 stops. He was also a standout on special teams, running down return men on kickoffs and punts. Northrup is one of the few upperclassmen in the linebacker corps and could also find a role as a vocal leader in 2014.

Keelin Smith

In a star-studded defensive secondary Smith tends to get overlooked but over the course of the past two season in which he appeared in a combined 15 games, the 6-foot-3, 191-pound defender has been a quality backup throughout the secondary.

Capable of lining up at safety or cornerback, Smith’s size and speed combination is a nice luxury in the second-team unit. In his career, the former Treasure Coast High School standout has 25 tackles and an interception. 

Smith is the veteran leader of the ‘Noles linebacker group

Terrance Smith

The only returning linebacker with any starting experience, Smith moved into a first-team role last year when Christian Jones transitioned to the defensive end position. A 10-game starter, Smith finished fourth on the team with 59 tackles while adding 2 1/2 tackles for loss and two sacks from his “Mike” linebacker position.

This year, Smith is expected to not only lead the linebackers and be the quarterback of the defense, but he’s expected to become more of a leader and pace a group that no longer features Jones or Telvin Smith. The ‘Noles have a plethora of exciting, unproven talent at linebacker and Smith will lead that crew in 2014.

P.J. Williams

There’s little doubt that Williams is one of college football’s premier cornerbacks and has the chance to become a first-round NFL Draft selection if his career continues on its current trajectory.

The Ocala, Fla. native has ideal size (6-feet, 196 pounds), athleticism and speed for his position and the results through the first two years of his career have spoken for themselves. The Defensive MVP of the BCS National Championship Game and All-ACC selection last year, Williams is coming off a sophomore campaign that saw him lead the team with seven pass-breakups. His interception of Auburn’s Nick Marshall in the title game also swung momentum in FSU’s favor.

Williams, who has played in all but one game in his first two seasons, will enter the 2014 season with quite a bit of national hype and should be considered a legitimate candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award given annually to the country’s best defensive back.

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