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Pre-Spring Breakdown: Defensive Ends/Wide Receivers

Feb. 1, 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.

Brandon Mellor
Brandon Mellor
Seminoles.com Managing Editor
bmellor@fsu.edu
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Wednesday we looked at the defensive backs and running backs, yesterday we then looked at the quarterbacks and linebackers and today the focus is one the defensive ends and wide receivers.

DEFENSIVE ENDS

Chris Casher

2012 Recap: Casher redshirted in his first season with the Seminoles.

2013 Spring Outlook: Casher was one of the top defensive end prospects in the entire country in the 2012 signing class and 'Noles coaches would love it if he lived up to the hype sooner rather than later. Because FSU is so thin at the position, Casher will start spring practice on the two-deep depth chart despite his lack of experience and his development this spring will be critical entering fall camp in August.

Mario Edwards, Jr.

2012 Recap: Edwards, Jr. played in 11 games as a true freshman and started the final two games of the year in place of the injured Cornellius Carradine. The former five-star recruit finished the year with 17 tackles, 2 1/2 tackles for loss, 1 1/2 sacks, one pass breakup and one pass defended.

2013 Spring Outlook: Considered by many to be the nation's top player coming out of high school last year, Edwards, Jr. likely finds himself as a starter entering his first spring at his father's alma mater. After a rocky early start to his career, Edwards, Jr. showed significant improvement -- and important weight loss and gain in strength -- over the course of his rookie campaign and could be on the verge of a breakout second season. He'll get the chance to show what he can do with full-time starter's snaps when practice gets started.


Giorgio Newberry


Giorgio Newberry

2012 Recap: Playing behind stars Carradine and Bjoern Werner, Newberry competed in 12 of 14 games for FSU last year as a redshirt freshman and registered 13 tackles, two pass breakups, two passes defended, one quarterback hurry and one fumble recovery.

2013 Spring Outlook: In terms of years in the program, Newberry is the old man among defensive ends despite the fact that he is entering just his redshirt sophomore year. Newberry will be expected to take that proverbial "next step" starting this spring as he sees his playing time and the expectations for his impact to increase dramatically without Carradine, Werner and Brandon Jenkins ahead of him on the depth chart.

*Early enrollee DeMarcus Walker joined the program in January as a highly-touted defensive line signee. Walker could line up at either defensive end or defensive tackle to start his collegiate career and is expected to contribute right away. Walker will wear No. 44 at FSU.  

WIDE RECEIVERS

Kenny Shaw

2012 Recap: Finished the season third on the team in catches (33) and second in total yards (532). Shaw also grabbed three touchdowns (tied for third along wide receivers) and had a team second-best yards-per-catch average of 16.1 yards per grab.

2013 Spring Outlook: Shaw was always one of EJ Manuel's favorite targets, capable of being a guy he turned to in pressure-packed third-down situations. With a new quarterback under center, Shaw's expert route-running skills and good hands will be even more important as he can help make up for miscues as a result of new-quarterback growing pains.

Rashad Greene

2012 Recap: A year after his breakout freshman campaign when he led FSU in catches, receiving yards and touchdown catches, Greene followed that up as a sophomore by doing the same thing in 2012. He finished the year with 57 catches for 741 yards and six touchdowns. He also led the team in punt returns with 20 for 307 total yards and two touchdowns.

2013 Spring Outlook: Arguably FSU's top overall returning offensive player, Greene's first two years in the garnet and gold have been terrific. But what's interesting about the Albany, Ga. native is that it's clear his full potential -- and the possible record-breaking role he could have offensively -- has yet to be fully reached. This spring could provide the opportunity for the speedy pass catcher to elevate his game even further. Greene will also likely be in the mix for the punt-return job.

Christian Green

2012 Recap: Green played in all but one game as a redshirt sophomore and had three catches for 33 yards.

2013 Spring Outlook: A talented athlete with a lot of potential, Green has an important spring ahead of him as he aims to make a dent in the receiver rotation and earn more playing time in 2013. Green has shown flashes in his two years of playing but has yet to string it together consistently. If he can do that this spring, he'll add a much-needed playmaking presence to wide receiver coach Lawrence Dawsey's group.


Kelvin Benjamin


Kelvin Benjamin

2012 Recap: Played in all 14 games as a redshirt freshman and caught 30 passes for 495 yards and four touchdowns. Benjamin's 16.5 yards-per-catch average led the team.

2013 Spring Outlook: Blessed with incredible size at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds with deceptive speed for that frame, every time Benjamin steps on the field there's a chance the he could take the game over. There's a lot of hype around the Belle Glade, Fla. native because of that and the only thing that has held him back from meeting the lofty expectations has been his consistency. If you can become a dependable, every-down player for the Seminoles this spring, the rest of the ACC will be very, very nervous.

Jarred Haggins

2012 Recap: Played in 12 of 14 games and caught eight catches for 108 yards and a 13.5 yards-per-catch average.

2013 Spring Outlook: Haggins enters his final spring as one of the most experienced players on the roster. He has battled various injuries during his time with the Seminoles but his strong hands and precise route-running are in high demand as the quarterback depth chart sorts itself out.

Marvin Bracy

2012 Recap: Redshirted in his first season with the Seminoles after being sidelined early in the year with a hamstring injury.

2013 Spring Outlook: Bracy will split his time between track and football this spring and he has already made an impact in the former by tying the nation's top time this year in the 60-meter dash at a meet in Arkansas late last month. Football coach Jimbo Fisher hopes Bracy's same speedy success is experienced on the field as the Orlando, Fla. native could possibly be the fastest player in the entire country. That speed will be on display for the first time in pads this spring as Bracy will use it to his advantage in making a case for playing time at wide receiver and in the return game.

Willie Haulstead

2012 Recap: After bouncing back from a concussion that cost him all of the 2011 season, Haulstead returned to action and played in 12 of 14 games last year. He grabbed three passes for 31 yards as a redshirt junior.

2013 Spring Outlook: Haulstead was considered by many to be the team's top wide receiver after a breakout sophomore season in 2010 before his season-ending fall-camp injury the next year. Now in his final spring at FSU, Haulstead gives the Seminoles important veteran leadership. If he can get close to replicating the impact he had his sophomore year this spring, the Seminoles' dangerous wide receiver corps gets even more potent. 

Greg Dent

2012 Recap: Fisher said Dent had one of the best fall camps he had ever seen from a receiver and the 5-foot-11, 198-pounder followed up that high praise by contributing 27 catches for 355 total yards and two scores as a junior.

2013 Spring Outlook: One of several senior pass catchers, Dent has the opportunity to elevate his game this spring. The Belle Glade, Fla. native had the best season of his career last year and could see his role dramatically increase without Rodney Smith on the roster.

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