May 18, 2012
In the final installment of class-by-class breakdowns, it’s time to look at the Seminoles’ freshman class. If you missed it over the past three days, here are the breakdowns on FSU’s seniors, juniors and sophomores.
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
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Beatty enrolled early at FSU knowing that a starting job at punter was up for grabs following the graduation of Shawn Powell. Beatty will enter fall camp in a battle with redshirt freshman walk-on Dillon Kidd for the right to serve as FSU’s starting punter on Sept. 1.
There were times last year when many fans weren’t sure if they’d ever see the highly-hyped Benjamin in action for the Seminoles. The former four-star recruit had all the talent in the world and NFL-ready size when he came to FSU last summer but struggled with conditioning and the playbook upon joining the team.
Rumors even swirled during the 2011 season that the 6-foot-6, 240-pound pass catcher was contemplating a transfer. That ultimately proved untrue and Benjamin benefitted from his year on the sidelines and got in shape in time to perform well during his first spring in Tallahassee.
Benjamin will go into 2012 knowing that he has the chance to not just play this season but also make an impact in FSU’s already potent passing attack.
That being said, special-teams work is a possibility for the Jacksonville native as he continues to get acclimated with the college game. Beverly will then enter the spring of 2013 in a battle with Abram for the starting fullback job.
Brutus is in the mix for a reserve safety spot behind Lamarcus Joyner in FSU’s talented defensive secondary 2012. He will enter his second fall in Tallahassee after a spring-practice period that saw him get valuable repetitions and snaps working with defensive coordinator/secondary coach Mark Stoops and his progression will be key to the overall strength of FSU’s depth on defense.
After redshirting in year No. 1, Carter will be pushing for playing time along an offensive line that has no certainties as far as starters go. Sure, the ‘Noles will open camp with a probably lineup of Cameron Erving (LT), Josue Matias (LG), Austin Barron (C), Tre’ Jackson (RG) and Bryan Stork (RT) but that doesn’t mean Carter or any of FSU’s other young linemen can’t take one of those jobs away.
FSU fans finally got their chance to see Coker in action after the Mobile, Ala. native redshirted last year following a high school career in which he played in a run-first offense. Coker’s debut in the annual spring game allowed him to showcase his impressive arm strength and athletic ability.
He will need both of those skills as well as his continued development in reading defenses in order to keep up with Clint Trickett in the competition for backup quarterback duties this fall.
There aren’t too many snaps to be shared among Florida State’s talented defensive tackles but Mitchell will try to push for playing time this fall knowing that he is eligible to play after redshirting as a rookie last year.
Timmy Jernigan made an immediate impact as a first-time player at defensive tackle last year and Mitchell will be trying to have the same type of role when the season gets started in early September.
While snaps are hard to come by at defensive tackle, the same isn’t true at defensive end. Even though FSU boasts stars Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine at the position, reserve Toshmon Stevens is the only other scholarship player that has any experience at the position.
The ‘Noles will add highly touted pass rushers Mario Edwards, Jr. and Chris Casher this summer but Newberry has a learning-filled redshirt season as the foundation in his quest to earn second-team snaps and he’ll be ahead of both those elite recruits when practices get started.
Just like Devonta Freeman a year ago, Pender will go into his first season as a Seminole running back with a valuable spring under his belt after enrolling early. That plan worked perfectly for Freeman, who wound up moving into the starting lineup by mid-season and eventually leading the team in rushing yards at the end of the 2011 season.
Pender has a lot of talented tailbacks ahead of him on the depth chart but that won’t prevent him from playing or even starting if he practices hard and performs well for the FSU coaches.
Like Carter, Pettis is coming off a redshirt rookie campaign and he’ll be in the mix for backup duties on the offensive line this season. If he performs well at practice, he too will push for playing time in the trenches.
FSU missed star cornerback Xavier Rhodes this spring as he was out with an injury. But FSU’s loss of a defensive leader was Smith’s gain. And consequently, it may help out the Seminoles in the long run.
Without Rhodes, Smith was able to earn extended snaps with the first team defense opposite Greg Reid that he otherwise wouldn’t have had if Rhodes had been healthy. Of course Rhodes will enter the fall as a starter but Smith’s experience this spring will only help his as a No. 2 cornerback ready for meaningful minutes should injuries play a factor.
Smith left spring practices as the third-string linebacker at weakside linebacker behind Christian Jones and Jeff Luc. But with Luc’s decision earlier this month to leave the program, Smith will head to fall practices just one Jones injury away from being a starter on one of the nation’s top defenses.
Lawrence-Stample is like Mitchell in that he will be faced with the task of earning playing time at defensive tackle — an objective that is not out of the realm of achievement because of his ability and development over the course of a redshirt year and spring practice period.
The big-bodied Lawrence-Stample could be a classic run stuffer in the heart of FSU’s defensive front if he gets into the lineup this year.
Florida State will add to its star-studded freshman class this summer when the 2012 signees enroll at FSU in late June. Stay tuned to Seminoles.com for a complete breakdown of the ‘Noles new additions upon their enrollment in summer classes.