July 22, 2011
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
|Follow me on Twitter|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A quick glance at the Florida State football depth chart we released earlier this week yields a pretty obvious statement from a defensive standpoint.
The Seminoles are loaded on “D.”
FSU boasts a true playmaker on each level of the unit (hello, Brandon Jenkins, Nigel Bradham and Xavier Rhodes).
While each of these student-athletes are starters at defensive end, linebacker and boundary cornerback, respectively, there are several other positions across the defensive board that don’t lack talent either.
At defensive end, Dan Hicks continues to emerge and is backing up the All-American Jenkins. On the opposite side, Bjoern Werner brought the German flavor to the Seminole defensive unit a season ago as Markus White’s backup.
Despite growing up in a country that is more known for the other type of football, Werner quickly made a name for himself in Tallahassee. He now is being pushed by newcomer Cornellius Carradine, who was the nations top-rated junior-college defensive end a season ago.
In the middle of the defensive trenches, Jaccobi McDaniel and Everett Dawkins are battling for the top spot at defensive tackle while Demonte McAllister nips at their heels. At nose guard, Anthony McCloud emerged as a run-stuffer in his first season as a Seminole in 2010 and is currently in the starting spot.
A year later, can McCloud hold off young up-and-comers Cameron Erving and Darious Cummings?
The forgotten man in the middle of the defense is Moses McCray. The redshirt junior was forced to sit out all of last season due to an injury. When he’s healthy, there may not be a more menacing pound-for-pound force at the tackle spot. He is currently fourth on the depth chart at nose guard.
Mister Alexander and Kendall Smith both graduated and therefore made room for the likes of Christian Jones, Vince Williams and Telvin Smith at linebacker.
Jones may have the strongside linebacker spot locked up but Williams and Smith are in a heated battle for the No. 1 middle linebacker job.
At cornerback, the real competition is for the fourth spot.
Rhodes and Reid are entrenched as the top two corners and Mike Harris may be the best nickelback in the entire country. Interestingly enough, the top contender behind those three is a player that started his career at wide receiver and then switched to safety before finally moving to cornerback this past spring: Avis Commack.
The 6-foot-4 Jacksonville, Fla. native is the largest cornerback FSU has and coaches weren’t shy about expressing their approval of his performance in the spring. Commack may have finally found a permanent home for the Seminoles and the defense is all the better for it.
One player that was in the cornerback discussion last year is now no longer an option even though he is still a member of the team. That player is Lamarcus Joyner and the reason is because he is now the ‘Noles’ starter at strong safety.
Joyner made the switch to safety in the offseason after starring nationally at that position in high school. The transition was seamless enough that the job is now his to lose.
WIth Joyner’s move to the last line of defense, the competition at free safety got that much more interesting. According to the depth chart, Terrance Parks and Nick Moody – 2010’s starters at both safety spots — are listed as being co-No. 1 at free safety entering fall camp.
Something will have to give come two-a-days.
Just like the defense has its cast of stars, the special teams unit for FSU does too.
Dustin Hopkins, Shawn Powell and Reid are the starters at kicker, punter and kick/punt returner, respectively, are the starters for good reason.
As for the freshmen, the defense could see an early influx of young talent in the trenches. Tim Jernigan was one of the nation’s best interior lineman coming out of nearby Lake City and already has the frame to hold down a defensive tackle spot. Derrick Mitchell and Nile Lawrence-Stample also don’t hurt in the size department.
In the secondary, Nick Waisome enrolled early and used the spring practice period to earn the No. 2 spot behind Reid at field cornerback. Karlos Williams was the nation’s No. 1-ranked safety as a prep star and could very well push any of the older guys ahead of him once the pads come on.
In case you missed it, here is the depth chart breakdown for the offensive side of the ball.
Jenkins will be one of two FSU players present at the 2011 ACC Football Kickoff starting this Sunday (quarterback EJ Manuel, who I talked about here in the offensive depth chart breakdown is the other).
Seminoles.com will be in attendance in Pinehurst, NC for these ACC Media Days and will have complete coverage. Fans wishing to follow along as the coaches from each of the ACC schools speaks with the media can access Seminoles.com’s ACC Football Kickoff Central.