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Class-by-Class Breakdown: Juniors

May 17, 2013

Brandon Mellor Brandon Mellor Managing Editor
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The quest to cure your college-football itch this summer continues with today's breakdown of Florida State's junior class entering the 2013 season. In case you missed it, here's a look at the strong senior class from Wednesday.

Austin Barron

One of FSU's top backups, Barron has the necessary skills and understanding of the offense to step in for starter at Bryan Stork at center should the situation calls for it. While he provides terrific depth, Barron will also be in perfect position to succeed Stork next spring. The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. native has four starts to his credit.

Cameron Erving

Erving's development into a consistent left tackle was one of the biggest and most important story lines of the 2012 season. A former defensive tackle that had never played a down of football on the offensive side of the ball prior to his redshirt sophomore season a year ago, Erving showed flashes of strong play from the left tackle position as he helped keep EJ Manuel upright en route to an ACC championship and BCS bowl-game victory.

Erving has the chance this season to take the next step in his development and become a consistently dominant left tackle for the Seminoles. With the size and tools needed to succeed at the position, there's no reason to think that Erving can't become one of the top left tackles in not just the ACC but in the country as well.

Devonta Freeman is FSU's leading returning rusher.

Devonta Freeman

FSU's active career leader in rushing yards (1,239) and starts (12), Freeman enters his junior campaign poised to form with fellow junior James Wilder, Jr. one of the top tailback tandems in all of college football.

Deceptively strong, Freeman's strength lies in the strength of his lower body as he has the power to run between the tackles but also the quickness to break big gains to the outside. He and Wilder, Jr. will likely serve in a "1a" and "1b" role for the Seminoles. Freeman finished his sophomore season as the team's second-leading rusher.

Christian Green

Green hasn't produced quite the numbers that many thought he would coming out Catholic High School in Tampa, Fla. but the redshirt junior still provides a valuable piece to FSU's passing efforts. Green is coming off a strong spring and active showing in the spring game earlier this year and could be poised for a breakout season if given the opportunity. Shifty and quick, Green could prove to be a favorite target of Jameis Winston or Jacob Coker from the slot position in 2013.

Rashad Greene

Is Greene FSU's top overall offensive player? The numbers surely indicate that is the case. The first two years of Greene's stellar 'Noles career have seen him lead FSU in receptions, yards and touchdowns each season. Greene rarely makes mistakes and seems to quietly go about his business while making what he does look effortless. If anything, Greene probably doesn't get enough credit for his speed, as he is undoubtedly one of the quickest players in the ACC (just ask Virginia Tech about that). 

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has said he'd like to see a 'Noles receiver accumulate at least 1,000 yards and Greene is the most likely candidate to do so -- especially this year when an inexperienced quarterback will be instructed to look for No. 80 as often as possible.

Bobby Hart

An eight-game starter as a true freshman, Hart saw his role in the offense diminish last year with the emergence of junior-college transfer Menelik Watson. With Watson now playing for the Oakland Raiders, Hart's strong spring appears to have thrust back into the starting lineup at right tackle entering his junior year. Hart must continue to get stronger but he has the early experience and ability to be a consistent force at right tackle.

[RELATED: Here's my feature story from this spring on Hart]

Tyler Hunter

Hunter emerged as an excellent nickel cornerback as a sophomore last year and he'll be pushing for an even bigger role under new defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt this year. Hunter enters fall camp a bit behind the curve, however, as he missed valuable time getting acclimated to Pruitt's defensive system this spring as he was out with an injury.

Tre' Jackson is one of four returning starters on FSU's offensive line, including fellow juniors Josue Matias and>Cameron Erving.

Hunter's healthy return to the lineup and development under Pruitt's tutelage gives FSU one more speedy playmaker for a defense that is focused on becoming more opportunistic.

Tre' Jackson

Like former standout Rodney Hudson, Jackson is the definition of a Rick Trickett offensive lineman: gritty, unheralded as a recruit and likely playing with a chip on his shoulder, strong, tough and hard working. Each of those traits describes Jackson and with Trickett's coaching, they are a reason why he has the chance to be one of the best right guards in the conference this year. Jackson started all 14 games last year and graded out as the second-best among all FSU offensive linemen.

Timmy Jernigan

Jernigan is slated to be a full-time starter for the first time in his career this year but despite the fact that he has rotated in and out of a deep defensive tackles lineup, the Lake City, Fla. native is still considered one of the better at his position in his country. With the opportunity for more snaps, Jernigan has the chance to become one of the best but he has to bounce back from a leg injury that cost him the last half of spring practices.

Josue Matias

A highly touted offensive line prospect coming out of New Jersey a few years ago, Matias has developed into a very good left guard and appears to only be on the cusp of how effective he can be. Matias capped off his second year in 2012 -- and first as a full-time starter -- by grading out 82 or better in the final six games of the season.

Nick O'Leary

FSU's starting tight end, O'Leary should benefit from the teaching of new position coach Tim Brewster, who has a strong track record with tight ends known best for their receiving ability. O'Leary has the versatility to line up in multiple positions for the FSU offense and with better consistency has the chance to have a breakout year for FSU as he works with the 'Noles' new quarterbacks.

Nigel Terrell

A reserve linebacker, Terrell provides valuable depth for a position group that is set to receive an influx of young, inexperienced talent this summer when the freshmen arrive. Terrell played in four games a season ago and enters his redshirt junior year pushing for even more playing time at outside linebacker.

Nick Waisome started every game for FSU in 2012.

Nick Waisome

A key component of FSU's season-long defensive dominance in 2012 was the emergence of Waisome as Greg Reid's replacement as a starting cornerback. Waisome missed all of spring with an injury but should be ready for fall camp and the position battles that will surely come from a loaded depth chart of highly-touted defensive backs. Waisome started all 14 games last year and proved to be a speedy and consistent defender that played bigger than his size.

James Wilder, Jr.

As one half of FSU's dynamic duo in the backfield, Wilder, Jr. is coming off his best season as a Seminole and should see his role and impact on the team increase even more as the 'Noles focus setting the tone on the ground to take pressure off its young quarterbacks. Wilder, Jr.'s memorable performance against Clemson in which he ran over and through defenders is exactly the type of player he is capable of being in every game for the Seminoles. Wilder, Jr. has also shown an ability to find the endzone as he ran for a team-high 11 touchdowns last season.

Karlos Williams

With Lamarcus Joyner's move to cornerback, Williams is set to move into the role that many have been clamoring for since he came to FSU as one of the nation's top high school prospects: starting safety. Williams speed and big-hit ability are well known, now it's all about mastering Pruitt's defense and developing into a versatile, consistent defender in the backend of the defense. As he was a year ago, Williams is also expected to serve as a starting kick returner where he has the speed and vision to update the scoreboard at any time.

Stay tuned Monday for a look at the sophomore class

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