May 21, 2013 - by
Class-by-Class Breakdown: Sophomores

May 21, 2013

Brandon Mellor Brandon Mellor Managing Editor
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The breakdown of Florida State’s scholarship players continues today with the sophomores. A talented group of former elite recruits, FSU’s sophomore class is an important one as many of its members are either already starters or will be in serious contention to earn a starting gig by the conclusion of fall camp this August.

[RELATED: Senior-class breakdown and junior-class breakdown]

Cason Beatty

The starting punter in all 14 games as a true freshman a year ago, Betty had big shoes to fill as Shawn Powell’s replacement. Beatty did his part in helping FSU’s vaunted defense in 2011 as opponents only scored 20.4 percent of the time following one of his punts. Entering his second year as the only scholarship punter on the roster, Beatty will be expected to continue to improve and build consistency just as Powell did in each of his four years.

Kelvin Benjamin’s unique size creates mismatches for smaller defenders.

Kelvin Benjamin

A wide receiver in a defensive end’s body, Benjamin is one of the most intimidating offensive skill players you will ever come across and presents matchup problems every time he steps on the field. As a redshirt freshman a year ago, Benjamin finished fourth on the team in receptions (30) and second in touchdowns (two). For Benjamin, 2013 is all about becoming more consistent in his route running and better utilizing that massive body to his advantage. If he can excel in those two departments, the Belle Glade, Fla. native has the chance to be very special.

Lamarcus Brutus

A reserve safety and special teams player last season, Brutus will push for more playing time this fall in Jeremy Pruitt’s new defensive scheme while also providing depth behind starters Karlos Williams and Terrence Brooks. Brutus played in six games in 2012, primarily on special teams.

Ruben Carter

Carter has the ability to play multiple positions on the offensive line and therefore gives FSU some depth behind an expected starting lineup that includes Cameron Erving (left tackle), Josue Matias (left guard), Bryan Stork (center), Tre’ Jackson (right guard) and Bobby Hart (right tackle). Carter played in five games last season.

Jacob Coker

One of three returning quarterbacks on the roster, Coker’s blend of NFL-ready size and arm strength makes him an intriguing prospect as he competes with redshirt freshmen Jameis Winston and Sean Maguire for the starting quarterback job this year. With Clint Trickett now at West Virginia, Coker is the most experienced quarterback on FSU’s roster after completing 3-of-5 passes as a redshirt freshman last year.

Ronald Darby

The sky is the limit for Darby after coming off a strong rookie campaign in which he earned ACC Freshman Defensive Player of the Year honors. The speedy cornerback is expected to thrive in Pruitt’s system — he just has to get on the field first. Darby missed all of spring practices — and as a result, track season — while recovering from off-season surgery but is expected to be ready for fall camp. It’s in August where Darby will still be a favorite to earn the starting cornerback job left by Xavier Rhodes’ decision to enter the NFL Draft a year early. As a true freshman a year ago, Darby played in all 14 games and tied for the team lead with eight pass breakups.

Mario Edwards, Jr.

What a difference a year makes for a player that was considered by many to be the nation’s top 2012 high school recruit. Edwards, Jr. was projected to redshirt in his first season at FSU because of the incredible talent the ‘Noles boasted at defensive end. But Brandon Jenkins’ season-ending injury last year thrust him into playing time and then he wound up starting in the ACC Championship Game following Tank Carradine’s own injury. This time around, Edwards, Jr. will enter a season as the favorite to secure a starting job with Jenkins, Carradine and Bjoern Werner now all in the NFL.

Daniel Foose

A reserve offensive lineman, Foose’s FSU career has been limited because of injury. When healthy, Foose provides depth across the line as he can line up at either guard or either tackle spot.

Eddie Goldman could earn a starting job this fall.

Eddie Goldman

Like Darby and Edwards, Goldman was considered a five-star prospect in the 2012 class and like his two classmates, he has a legitimate chance to earn a starting job in his true sophomore year. Goldman is blessed with ideal size and athletic ability for the defensive tackle position and he’ll use the 10 games of experience he gained last season as a backup in his quest to lock down one of the spots left by Everett Dawkins and Amp McCloud when practices begin this August.

Christo Kourtzidis

The Seminoles didn’t lose any tight ends to attrition or graduation this year so Kourtzidis likely begins the 2013 season where he finished the 2012 campaign: third string behind Nick O’Leary and Kevin Haplea. But just because he is third on the depth chart doesn’t mean the California native can’t make an impact. With Tim Brewster now on staff and coaching the tight ends, a talented pass catcher like Kourtzidis will likely see his ability — and in turn, his playing time — increase.

Derrick Mitchell

After spending two seasons watching from the sidelines while redshirting and battling with injury, Mitchell is expected to see the first playing time of his career this year. A strong spring helped vault Mitchell into the conversation at defensive tackle where he will push for a starting job at camp. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 317 pounds, Mitchell adds another quality player to the Seminoles’ rotation in the middle of the line.

Giorgio Newberry

He may only be a redshirt sophomore but Newberry is the most experienced returning defensive end after an off-season that saw Florida State lose some elite talent at the position. Newberry very well could begin camp as a starter at one of the defensive end spots where the competition will be fierce and expectations high for a group that has to move on from the Jenkins-Carradine-Werner era. A year ago, Newberry played in 12 games of reserve action and registered 13 tackles.

Reggie Northrup

Northrup was a special teams standout as a true freshman last year while also making his way up the depth chart and finishing the season as the No. 2 weakside linebacker. With Nick Moody off to the NFL, Northrup could be a factor in the battle for the starting strongside linebacker job when camp begins in a few months. Northrup played in 12 of 14 games last season and had 10 tackles.

Trey Pettis

Pettis is a reserve guard that can line up either on the left or right side and gives the Seminoles some much needed depth. Pettis played six snaps last year in the first game of the season but sustained a concussion and was not available for the final 13 games.

Keelin Smith

In his first year of action following a redshirt season, Smith played in 13 games as a reserve cornerback and special teams player last year. This season, the Fort Pierce, Fla. native will be focused on fighting for a starting job following Rhodes’ first-round draft selection. At 6-foot-3, Smith has excellent height for a position that has trended toward taller defenders being the norm.

Terrance Smith will be in the mix for the starting strongside linebacker spot when camp opens.

Terrance Smith

Like Northrup, Terrace Smith is in the mix for the starting job at strongside linebacker when camp begins. The former Southwest DeKalb High School star has excellent speed for the linebacker position and has continuously gotten stronger and bigger since joining the program in 2011. Last year, he played in a backup linebacker and special teams role.

Nile Lawrence-Stample

Another big-bodied, strong defensive tackle, Lawrence-Stample adds quality depth and competition to the middle of the defensive line. Defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins will have his hands full deciding on a rotation this fall as Lawrence-Stample is just one of many weapons at his disposal. Lawrence-Stample is coming off a redshirt freshman season that saw him play eight games and secure 10 total tackles.

P.J. Williams

Williams has the ability to line up at any position in the secondary and that versatility got him on the field as a true freshman a year ago and will put him in the competition for extended playing time this year. Williams competed primarily at cornerback in the spring and had a strong showing, thus giving Pruitt one more capable defender to utilize in the scheme’s and ideologies he brought with him from Alabama where he consistently developed NFL-ready defensive backs and helped lead a formidable Crimson Tide defense.

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