Oct. 16, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Seven games into a 2012 season that Florida State players, coaches and fans hope is a 14-game year (winning the ACC's Atlantic Division is the only way to guarantee that), the Seminoles have received tremendous production from a host of new players on the roster.
Here's a breakdown of what each of the freshmen, redshirt freshmen and junior-college transfers (in alphabetical order) have done halfway though the season:
Roberto Aguayo: The true freshman place kicker is redshirting this season while watching one of the best in FSU history (Dustin Hopkins) do his thing and break records. Aguayo will be handed the keys to FSU's kicking game next year just like Hopkins was four years ago after Graham Gano graduated.
Cason Beatty: He had some big shoes to fill with Shawn Powell off to the NFL but the true freshman has done very well through the first seven games of his career as the 'Noles' new starting punter. Beatty has a great deal of room for improvement but has shown an early ability to bomb punts when he needs to and get significant hang time on shorter attempts in other situations. Now he just needs to work on his consistency. Beatty enters the game against Miami averaging 39.0 yards per punt and has placed 14 of his 23 attempts inside the 20 yard-line.
Kelvin Benjamin: All that preseason hype appears to have been justified for the redshirt freshman wide receiver. While it's clear he's still raw and learning the nuances of the position, it's not far fetched to think that Benjamin has the very real chance to become a superstar at FSU. The 6-foot-5, 242-pounder has played in all seven games this year and is second on the team in receiving yards with 327 thanks to 19 catches. He is also tied for the team lead in touchdown grabs with three after catching one in the back of the endzone last weekend against Boston College.
"He's coming along; he's getting more dependable," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said this week. "More consistent in his routes. Executing what he's doing and how he does things. Getting to the spots a lot cleaner. You can trust him to get there so the quarterback doesn't have to hold the ball."
Colin Blake: True freshman defensive back has yet to play in a game for the 'Noles while he rehabilitates a shoulder injury. He will redshirt this season.
Marvin Bracy: True freshman wide receiver likely won't get a chance to showcase his world-class speed this season. He has yet to play this year after tweaking his hamstring in preseason camp and will likely redshirt.
Lamarcus Brutus: The redshirt freshman has played in FSU's four blowout victories this season as a reserve at safety but has not yet recorded any statistics.
Ruben Carter: The redshirt freshman offensive lineman has played in two games this season -- one as a reserve early in the year and then for one play against Boston College when he replaced starter Josue Matias at right guard after Matias lost his helmet and had to sit out for one snap.
Chris Casher: The true freshman defensive end played against Wake Forest and recorded one tackle but that is the only contest he will have played in by season's end. A knee injury shelved the promising pass rusher and he will receive a medical redshirt.
Jacob Coker: FSU's third-string quarterback, the redshirt freshman played in the first three games of the season and showed flashes of why the coaching staff is so excited about his potential with a touchdown pass to Benjamin against Savannah State.
Ronald Darby: One of the most talked-about position battles during fall camp was at cornerback where Darby -- a true freshman -- and sophomore Nick Waisome were vying to earn the job created by the dismissal of Greg Reid. Waisome won the competition but that hasn't stopped Darby from earning his snaps. The Maryland native has played in all seven of FSU's games this season and has registered eight tackles. Darby is also second on the team in pass break-ups with four and has a quarterback hurry and forced fumble to his credit.
"He's a very good player," Fisher said. "He's doing a nice job."
Mario Edwards, Jr.: As the nation's top-ranked recruit, the true freshman came in with all kinds of hype and expectations but that didn't prevent Fisher from saying after the first game that Edwards would likely redshirt. But when Brandon Jenkins went down with a season-ending injury in the opener, there was an immediate need for help at defensive end. Enter, Edwards, who has lost a significant amount of weight since enrolling at FSU this past summer and has therefore seen his chances increase as the season wears on. He currently has two tackles in four games to his credit.
"He's starting to get into that rotation," Fisher said Monday, two days after Edwards played some meaningful snaps against Boston College.
Ukeme Eligwe: A hand injury has limited the true freshman linebacker early in his career and he has yet to play in a game for the 'Noles. He has not officially been ruled out for the season but it's unlikely that Eligwe will play this season and instead receive a redshirt.
Daniel Glauser: A junior-college transfer with one season of eligibility for the Seminoles, Glauser is the back-up at both left and right tackle for Florida State and has started two games on the right side this year. Glauser has provided much-needed stability for the 'Noles up front and will continue to do that will also pushing starters Menelik Watson and Cameron Erving for playing time.
Eddie Goldman: Despite FSU's depth at the defensive tackle position, the true freshman has earned some early chances for the potent Seminoles' attack. The Washington D.C. native has played in four of the team's seven games and has posted six tackles and one tackle for loss as a third-team player.
Christo Kourtzidis: As the third-string tight end behind Nick O'Leary and Kevin Haplea, the true freshman hasn't had his number called much but the coaching staff is excited about his potential and size he brings to the position. Kourtzidis has played in four games this year and has a one catch for 13 yards.
Nile Lawrence-Stample: The redshirt freshman is known as a run stuffer and slowly but surely he's been earning more at-bats at defensive tackle. Lawrence-Stample has played in four games this year as a reserve and has eight tackles and a half sack.
Sean Maguire: The true freshman quarterback is spending his first season getting acclimated to the college game by redshirting.
Derrick Mitchell: The redshirt freshman defensive tackle has had a nagging back injury all year that has so far prevented him from playing in his first game as a Seminole.
Giorgio Newberry: When Jenkins went down with that season-ending injury, Newberry, who is just a redshirt freshman, instantly became the Seminoles' fourth most experienced defensive end. As the new backup to Cornellius Carradine, Newberry has nine tackles and has shown an ability -- like Bjoern Werner -- to make plays in the passing game as is evident by his two pass break-ups.
Reggie Northrup: The backup to Christian Jones at weak-side linebacker, the true freshman has racked up eight tackles and a tackle for loss while playing in six of FSU's seven games. Six of those tackles took place last weekend when Northrup had a breakout game of sorts against Boston College. The Jacksonville native started his career wearing No. 12 but switched to No. 29 in time for the USF game so that he could play on special teams with wide receiver Jarred Haggins, who has worn No. 12 since last year.
"I think he's got a knack for getting in there," Fisher said. "He reads and pulls that trigger and does a nice job. I just think he's a very instinctive ball player."
Mario Pender: The true freshman tailback may or may not have played very much this year considering the talent at depth FSU boasts in the backfield but its a moot point anyway. Pender had a sports hernia in the preseason and was declared out for the year before the season ever began.
Trey Pettis: The redshirt freshman offensive lineman has played in one game as a reserve for the Seminoles this season.
Justin Shanks: The Seminoles boast tremendous veteran depth at defensive tackle and therefore haven't needed the services of the big-bodied Shanks this year. He will redshirt and then be in line for some serious playing time following the graduations of Everett Dawkins, Anthony McCloud and Moses McCray.
Keelin Smith: Playing behind an All-America candidate in Xavier Rhodes at cornerback, the redshirt freshman has shown flashes of his potential early in his career. So far he has made seven tackles, a half tackle for loss and one pass break-up in seven games of action on defense and special teams.
Terrance Smith: Nick Moody's backup at strong-side linebacker, the redshirt freshman has garnered praise for Fisher on more than one occasion. Smith will play in his first rivalry game with six tackles to his credit and one tackle for loss through his work on defense and special teams.
Menelik Watson: One of the better stories in college football continues to write itself. Watson, a junior-college transfer with two years to play two for the Seminoles, had played just one year of football prior to enrolling at FSU but that hasn't stopped the former Marist basketball player from seizing the starting right-tackle job. Watson's 6-foot-6, 320-pound frame, his athleticism and attention to detail at practice has helped become a force on Florida State's line and he has already been named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week this year.
P.J. Williams: The true freshman defensive back will play in his first FSU-Miami game in some capacity, whether it's on special teams or in the secondary. A reserve player early in his career, Williams is tied for 12th on the team in total tackles with 10. He also has a tackle for loss and a pass break-up. Williams could line up at either safety or cornerback but has played the latter through the first seven games.
Jameis Winston: Like so many before him, the true freshman quarterback is spending his first season watching and learning from the sideline as a redshirt. Despite not being involved in the on-field product, still watch Winston during a game sometime. If he's not sprinting down the sideline to congratulate a teammate after a touchdown he's pumping up his teammates or watching intently next to coach Jimbo Fisher.