Feb. 20, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- How about that for a college-football Monday in late February?
National Signing Day has been in the books for a few weeks and spring practice doesn't start for almost a month but that didn't stop Florida State from generating some news today.
If you like changes in positions and in jersey numbers, then today's your day.
'NOLES ON THE MOVE
Potential position changes have been a buzz-worthy topic since the Seminoles' season ended in late December but the one player that was rumored to be at the forefront of that discussion isn't one that will be switching from defense to offense.
\While a rumored switch by Karlos Williams from safety to either running back or wide receiver certainly would have generated its fair share of message-board debate, today's news that both Cameron Erving and Dan Hicks are leaving their respective spots on FSU's defensive line is certainly noteworthy.
Erving's move from defensive tackle to offensive tackle is interesting on a number of levels. After redshirting in 2010, Erving performed well in his first full year of action as part of a deep depth chart. Erving's play in 2011 was good enough that many considered him a rising star at the position with three years of eligibility remaining.
But considering the fact that Florida State didn't lose a single defensive lineman and will be adding arguably the nation's No. 1 defensive-line recruiting class across for 2012, Erving's switch makes sense.
Like Timmy Jernigan a year ago, highly-touted signees Eddie Goldman and Justin Shanks have the potential to play right away in the middle of Mark Stoops' defense.
Erving benefits from the fact that his athleticism, wing span, and size are ideal for the left or right tackle positions. Helping matters is that the 'Noles are in need of capable bodies at that position after the graduation of both Zebrie Sanders and Andrew Datko.
As for Hicks, playing defensive end may be in his blood but a move back to the offensive side of the ball is only natural.
The son of former FSU defensive end Dan Footman, Hicks played primarily on offense at Oxford High School before making the transition to defense at his father's alma mater.
By moving across the line of scrimmage, Hicks will have the chance to contribute immediately with sophomores Nick O'Leary and Will Tye the only returners at the position and Christo Kourtzidis set to enroll in June.
In contrast, FSU returns stars Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner as well as underrated but double-team worthy Cornellius Carradine at defensive end. Giorgio Newberry will also be coming off a redshirt and elite prospects Mario Edwards, Jr. and Chris Casher will join the team this summer.
That impressive depth also means that the athletic Toshmon Stevens may earn more playing time this season by being a pass-rushing linebacker.
And speaking of linebacker, the long-awaited move by Nick Moody from the secondary to the box is happening. The hard-hitting safety has always been more adept at stuffing the run that stopping the pass and he will get that chance in 2012 where Nigel Bradham's starting job at outside linebacker is up for grabs.
Moody's move means that FSU will have a new full-time starter alongside Lamarcus Joyner at safety -- all the more reason why Williams staying in the secondary is important. Terrence Brooks will also be in contention for that job and may have a leg up in the competition after an impressive performance in the Champs Sports Bowl.
The final player move to address from today's press release is that of quarterback Will Secord, who will not be switching to defense but rather switching to either a different program or career path.
Secord's decision to not return to the program doesn't change much as the recently-redshirted Jacob Coker was always expected to compete with Clint Trickett for backup quarterback duties this spring and into the fall.
With the additions of signees Jameis Winston and Sean maguire, FSU will still have five signal callers on its roster in 2012.
The side-switching moves by Hicks and Erving certainly called for some new jersey numbers. After all, you don't see too many tight ends wearing No. 58 and offensive tackles wearing No. 98.
Hicks will be the first offensive player to wear No. 6 since Antone Smith and Erving will don a No. 75 jersey that looked pretty good on former 'Noles tackle Mario Henderson in the mid-2000s.
The fact that Hicks is switching to No. 6 continues a trend that has developed amongst players ever since Jimbo Fisher took over for Bobby Bowden: double numbers.
Considering the fact that Tyler Hunter is switching from No. 30 to No. 1 (a number already worn by wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin), early-enrollee Mario Pender will sport No. 7 (a number already worn by linebacker Christian Jones) and rising seniors Chris Thompson and Brandon Jenkins are giving up their familiar digits to both wear No. 4, there will be quite a few Seminoles with a jersey-counterpart on the opposite side of the ball this spring.
As for early-enrollee punter Cason Beatty, he gets the tall task of wearing No. 38 -- a jersey made famous on special teams by the "Polish Powderkeg" himself, Sebastian Janikowski.
Perhaps there's only one more number to talk about and that's No. 28 -- as in the number of days until the 'Noles open spring practice.