July 2, 2012
By Scott Kotick, Seminoles.com
The start of the 2012 Florida State Football season is now less than two months away, so as we look ahead to kickoff against Murray State on September 1st, we'll take a look at the top twelve players to watch for 2012.
Over the next few weeks, we'll break down these twelve players based on position, last year's production on the field, and their overall importance to an outstanding 2012 season.
Obviously there is no better player to start with than senior quarterback EJ Manuel. As seen in his previous three seasons, when Manuel is healthy, Florida State is an entirely different team.
Remember that Manuel has never lost a bowl game and enters 2012 with 121 consecutive passes without an interception. He's the unquestioned leader of not only the offense, but the entire team, and his value both on and off the field shouldn't be underestimated.
His touchdown to interception ratio was great last season, throwing only eight picks to 18 total touchdowns and averaging more than 220 yards through the air per game.
Yet injuries have unfortunately played a big role over his career as a Seminole. For the Noles to make a legitimate ACC and National Title run, Manuel has to stay healthy, plain and simple.
Everything else is there. The decision making, the arm strength, the ability to escape the pocket and make plays with his feet, the leadership in the huddle, Manuel has it all. And if he can stay healthy, watch out. We've seen in a number of big games what he can do when the injuries are not a concern. From leading the team to a victory in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, to the big play ability in the Oklahoma and Notre Dame games, he's shown flashes.
This season, it's Manuel's time. It's time for him to put a full season together and display why he's one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He's grown and matured as a quarterback every year in Tallahassee, and this season should be a special one to watch for Manuel and his Seminoles.
Make sure to come back on Tuesday for part two of our twelve players to watch in 2012, as we look to see which players will make the biggest impact this season.