May 15, 2014
Seminoles.com Managing Editor
|Follow on Twitter I||Email I||Doak Insider Blog I||Story Archive|
After starting three games as a freshman and a game each as a sophomore and junior, Barron has officially been handed the keys to Florida State’s center position.
Barron is one-fifth of an all-senior starting lineup on the offensive lineup in 2014 but despite being the only returning player that wasn’t a consistent starter a season ago, the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. native does boast enough experience to make the transition from Bryan Stork that much easier. Not only does Barron have some starts to his credit, he has also been the primary center on the field-goal unit and has made an appearance in a combined 30 games during his career.
Speaking of the center position, Erving may be returning for his redshirt senior season as one of the nation’s top left tackles but that didn’t stop head coach Jimbo Fisher and offensive line coach Rick Trickett from cross-training the All-American at that position this past spring. Erving still manned left tackle, but he also spent signifiant practice minutes working as the center snapping the football.
Despite turing some heads at his second position and drawing rave reviews from Fisher, Erving is still expected to remain on the left side where he’ll continue to cover Jameis Winston‘s blindside.
A year ago, the 6-foot-6, 302-pound tackle captured the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy and earned All-American honors from Sporting News, USA TODAY, SI.com, the Associated Press, CBSSports.com, Walkter Camp, SB Nation and Lindy’s. Erving is considered a probable first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Green is entering his fifth year in the program but 2014 makes the first time he enters the season as a projected starter. With Kenny Shaw now on the Cleveland Browns roster and Kelvin Benjamin in Carolina as the Panthers’ first-round draft pick, Green has the opportunity to be targeted much more in the passing game.
As the team’s No. 4 wide receiver a season ago, Green hauled in 13 catches for 157 yards. In three years, Green has played in every game for the `Noles so his durability is a welcome trait to a position group featuring several young, unproven players.
Is Greene college football’s most underrated player? There’s certainly a case to be made in his favor for that debate. In each of his first three seasons, Greene has led the Seminoles in catches and receiving yards and last year became the first FSU player since Anquan Boldin in 2002 to register at least 1,000 yards receiving in a single season.
Greene enters his final year in the garnet and gold ranked fourth in program history in career receptions (171), sixth in receiving yards (2,465) and tied for seventh in receiving touchdowns (22). Already considered one of the greatest wide receivers in Florida State history, Greene has the chance to forever etch his name in Seminole lore as one of the programs all-time greats regardless of position.
“Scooter” makes his return to action after a preseason knee injury cost him all of the 2013 season. Injuries have plagued Haggins throughout his FSU career, but when healthy he’s a sure-handed wide receiver that could provide a valuable boost to the `Noles depleted pass-catching corps this coming season.
Over the course of his career, Haggins has caught a combined 20 passes for 206 yards.
Another ‘Nole that sustained a knee injure before the 2013 season ever began, a healthy Haplea adds quality depth and pass-catching ability to a tight position that didn’t have very many bodies at the position a year ago.
Before being injured last summer, Haplea had played in 13 games in 2012 after transferring from Penn State. His year with the Seminoles saw him catch three passes for 15 yards while serving as a quality blocker in the No. 2 tight end role. He’s likely to enter the 2014 campaign as the second-string tight end.
Another one of FSU’s rising senior starters not he offensive line, Hart won’t even turn 20 years old until just before the Seminoles’ 2014 opener against Oklahoma State at the end of August. Despite his young age, Hart has started in 23 games and played in 31 during the first three seasons of his collegiate career.
The former St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) standout enters his final year with the expectations that he’ll continue to get stronger, more consistent and build off the flashes of strong play he has displayed throughout his time in Tallahassee. If he can do that, there’s no doubt that collectively FSU has the opportunity to field college football’s best offensive line in 2014.
The former junior-college defensive end found a niche as a reserve defensive tackle in the rotation in his first year with the `Noles in 2013. After playing in 13 games and notching four tackles and a sack, Hollin is expected to step up and push for a starting job for defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins this year.
With Timmy Jernigan now on the Baltimore Ravens roster, FSU is looking for help in the middle of the defensive line and Hollin has the size and strength to fill that role. Fisher was complimentary of the Miami, Fla. native this past spring and Hollin will have the chance to start his pursuit of a larger role when practices kick off in early August.
Big, mean and powerful with a low center of gravity, Jackson fits the mold of a prototypical offensive guard — and he’s considered one of college football’s best at the position.
An All-ACC First-Team selection by both the media and coaches and a second-team All-American by CBSSports.com as a junior last year, Jackson’s final year at FSU is preceded by two seasons worth of starts at right guard –28 total — and a growing list of supporters that view him as an unheralded star. Jackson has registered the second-highest grade among FSU offensive linemen in each of the last two seasons and has the chance to go from two-star high-school prospect to potential first-round NFL Draft pick.
A stalwart at left guard the past two seasons, Matias is one of the top players at his position in the country. An All-ACC selection last year, Matias has started 29 consecutive games for the ‘Noles.
He enters his final season as one of the cogs on a group of offensive linemen that makes up perhaps the nation’s best unit. Matias is big and powerful and has the ability to kick outside to tackle should the situation present itself.
O’Leary seemed to play every snap a season ago as he put together one of the finest seasons at tight end in Florida State history.
After averaging 16.9 yards per catch last year (the most among college football’s tight ends) while grabbing 33 passes for 557 yards and seven touchdowns, O’Leary could see those numbers increase even more in 2014. With Shaw and Benjamin now in the NFL and Greene the only other returning pass catcher with proven production, Winston could look to O’Leary early and often this year. With more targets comes more opportunities to make plays and move the chains and the hard-nosed O’Leary knows a thing or two about that; last year 27 of his 33 receptions went for a first down.
The Palm Beach, Fla. native has played in 40 games in his career. He was a Jon Mackey Award finalist a year ago while also earning All-ACC and All-American honors.
The former linebacker made the move to fullback last pre-season and served as a reserve and special teams player in 2013. With Chad Abram off to the NFL, Terrell is now in a battle with Freddie Stevenson for snaps in the backfield.
Experience is so valuable and Waisome has plenty of it, having played in 37 games — and started 14 — over the last three seasons.
Florida State boasted the best secondary in the country last year and despite the losses of the NFL-bound Lamarcus Joyner and Terrence Brooks, the unit could be just as good this year. Waisome will help lead that charge as he’ll push for playing time in a rotation that also features cornerbacks P.J. Williams, Jalen Ramsey and Ronald Darby atop the depth chart. Waisome may not be listed as a starter when it’s all said and done, but doesn’t mean he won’t play meaningful minutes.
He has 33 tackles, 10 pass breakups and one interception in his career.
Winston stole the show in 2013 but Williams made his own national waves after dashing 65 yards for a touchdown on the very first carry at tailback of his career — a move that happened in time for the second game of the season after he switched from safety.
Despite not boasting an off-season of work to mentally and physically prepare for the tailback position, Williams went on to finish second on the team in both rushing yards (730) and touchdowns (11). Despite his limited experience in the backfield, Williams is considered one of the nation’s top tailbacks entering the 2014 season.
His speed, size and valuable off-season work could help Williams become a superstar as a senior.