I cycled through and didn't see a post like this (sorry if I glanced over one). This doesn't have to be what the experts think, or even what general consensus thinks. Give me who YOU want to see as starters and 1st backups for FSU in 2009, and give some reasoning behind your choices.
Here's who I would like to see (starters listed first)...
QB: Christian Ponder, E.J. Manuel: I'm anxious to see how Ponder has improved in his decision-making. I think he will keep the starting job all season as long as he doesn't struggle badly- if he does, Manuel should get a shot. Jimbo has stated that he believes Ponder can be an NFL QB, so he won't be quick to pull him unless things go south in a hurry. I do expect EJ to get meaningful reps this season though.
RB: Jermaine Thomas, Ty Jones: I think Pressley will overcome Jones by the end of the season for primary backup, but he will still be recovering in the beginning of the year. Frankly though, it doesn't matter. I think Jimbo will have the luxury of rotating backs if he wants to. This is a good thing, as all three guys have a history of being banged up (some moreso than others obviously). It may or may not happen this season but I firmly believe that Jermaine Thomas will be FSU's next 1000 yard rusher.
FB/HB: Marcus Sims, Matt Dunham: I think Marcus will come around and stick with the team. Everyone gives him crap for fumbles but Marcus is a good blocker and is a decent safety-valve weapon coming out of the backfield. I do believe we have seen the last of Sed Holloway. Dunham will slide into a backup role here. Should Marcus not return, look for Jabaris Little to slide into this role. One of two things would happen: you'd either see Dunham back there (assuming he is in shape and can compete) or you'd see some two-back sets with Pressley. My guess would hinge on the latter.
WR: Bert Reed, Jarmon Fortson: Bert is a playmaker and is super dangerous in space. As long as he keeps his head on straight and stays healthy, he'll start every game this year. Fortson will be the 3rd WR in the 3-WR sets. Watch the two freshmen, Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead, both of whom have gained praise and are both physically okay to play. They could get some reps.
WR: Taiwan Easterling, Avis Commack: Easterling's speedy recovery is huge, absolutely huge for this unit. He has the best hands on the team and is Mr. Clutch when it comes to third down and pressure situations. If he stays healthy, he starts all year. Have heard many positive things about Commack as well. He can be what we all hoped Surrency would be- big target, great athlete, fast and agile. Good footwork and route-running.**Goodman and Owens weren't included, as they are suspended indefinitely.***Also- those of you who think Louis Givens will start next year can wake up now. He has outstanding heart and is one of the fastest guys on the team, but he's also 5-8 (at the tallest) and 165 pounds (soaking wet) and has questionable hands. Just too small to be a DI starter. He'll be a situational guy and continue to raise hell on special teams.
TE: Caz Piurowski, Beau Reliford: According to Fisher, TE is supposedly going to be used more in the passing game this year. Caz will start because of his year as an OT and will help Datko and the other tackles block against the outstanding opponent DEs FSU will face this year (shout-out to FSUn on that story). His hands are pretty good and he's nothing special after the catch. Reliford is the guy I'd like to see used in the passing game. He is every bit of 6'6" and can run and jump. He could be what many of us saw in Brandon Warren- a legitimate weapon at the TE spot.
LT: Andrew Datko, Rhonne Sanderson: Datko is a man. Look to the recent story posted about him. Has All-American potential written all over him. Any OL recruits (and FSU fans) questioning Trickett's impact need look no further than Datko and Hudson. ***Backup OL are seemingly interchangeable as far as skill level but a lot depends on upper body strength and arm length at tackle. Trickett likes to cross-train them so they know each position. Sanderson looks to be a solid option at LT.
LG: Zebrie Sanders, Aubrey Phillips: This is where I deviate from some people. I think FSU's OL would be even better if Sanders and Hudson both slid inside one spot. Sanders could stay on the left side to help Datko since he has experience at tackle. He has the footwork to move inside IMO and would do well at guard (and fill in at tackle if he is needed). Phillips is the lone incoming OL that I think is ready to play. Trickett had a lot of positives to say about Phillips and was extremely happy to get him. He could probably wind up at guard or tackle, but for inclusive purposes I put him here.
C: Rodney Hudson, Ryan McMahon. Hudson's NFL future is at center, and Trickett has spent this offseason crosstraining him at the position. I say let him slide in and play the next two years at center. This is not a slight against McMahon in the least but Hudson would be more effective in the middle IMO. If he needed to slide over to guard, McMahon would obviously be very capable of filling in.
RG: David Spurlock, Blake Snider: I love Spurlock's copperhead snake disposition and his willingness to get better. I think he'll be healthy in time for the season's start and will hold down the RG spot. He has very good footwork and leverage and should continue focusing on strength. I give Snider the upper hand over Brandon Davis because frankly I'm surprised Davis is still here- he hasn't done a thing. Snider is a "Trickett guy" and Davis is not.
RT: Antwane Greenlee, Garrett Faircloth: Here's a trouble spot for me. Greenlee certainly can become a very solid starter, but will he? If he is fully healthy, both physically and mentally, I think he will be fine here. If not, Zebrie Sanders would be in this slot instead. Since I have Sanders at LG, I'll put Faircloth as the backup. Have heard good things about him as well, and you know he will be hungry to play after taking a GS last season. Again, backups are interchangable including other starters.
DE: Marcus White, Toshmon Stevens: White has a great opportunity to pick up where Everette Brown left off. He has all the tools and has an amazing work ethic. He has put in a ton of time to improve this offseason, so let's hope it translates to the field. Stevens has drawn a good amount of praise from Jody Allen and Todd Stroud but needs to continue adding weight. His athleticism will get him on the field, especially in speed-rush situations when White is taking a blow.
DE: Kevin McNeil, Jamar Jackson: McNeil will fly under the radar this season as people focus on White's hype. He has good technique and rush skills but needs to get stronger and play with consistency. McNeil hasn't been able to stay healthy so far and neither has Jackson, which is worrisome. Ding Ding Ding- that's the bell of opportunity and it tolls for you, Brandon Jenkins. Look for Demonte McAllister to be on the field every so often in speed-rushing situations, especially if injuries occur.
DT: Justin Mincey, Budd Thacker: Mincey is in better shape than he has been since he arrived. He's gained good weight and looks ready to embrace a starting role. He has good experience. Thacker will see the field quite a bit too, but no longer as a starter. Needs to add bulk/strength and learn to back up his talk. Everette Dawkins will be in the mix as well, assuming he isn't needed to flip back to DE.
DT: Kendrick Stewart, Moses McCray: Stewart got some very valuable experience last season and in the prior bowl game against Kentucky. He's very athletic and agile (he's the one who can do the standing backflip) and has added good weight and strength. McCray will be a presence as well and may overtake Stewart or Mincey by the end of the year. I also believe Jacobbi McDaniel will see the field this season but not a whole lot.
OLB: Nigel Bradham, Mister Alexander: Just unleash Bradham. It doesn't matter where he lines up, just unleash the beast. Mister Alexander can hit like a mack truck but can he stay healthy and make the transition to LB effectively? Recardo Wright will also be in the mix.
OLB: Dekoda Watson, Nigel Carr: Watson is the best player and best leader on this defense. He should perform very well and become a first-day NFL draft pick, assuming he stays healthy and that elbow doesn't give him more trouble. I love Carr's game as well, if Watson weren't in the picture he'd be the starter.
MLB: Kendall Smith, Vince Williams: Smith is underrated and overshadowed by the other two, but he can become a force in the middle. He just needs to be consistent and keep to his assignments. Williams will make an impact as well, whether in relief on defense or on special teams.
CB: Patrick Robinson, AJ Alexander: Robinson had a disappointing season in 2008 and will hopefully rebound in 09. He's the best CB on the roster but he will still be tested this season. Hopefully his INT stats resemble 2007 and not 2008. Alexander can flat out fly but can he cover effectively? Will he turn into another Michael Ray Garvin and be a liability? Hopefully not but if so, Greg Reid will overtake him by the end of the year.
CB: Ochuko Jenije, Dionte Allen: This one's shaky. I like the progress Jenije has made and he deserves his shot. He has good instincts but can he keep the big play mistakes to a minimum? I just want to see what a healthy Dionte Allen can do. Is that too much to ask? Again, keep an eye on Greg Reid. He's working hard.
SS: Nick Moody, Korey Mangum: Moody should be interesting to watch. Fans are high on him but he hasn't done a thing just yet. This will be a learning year regardless. I don't like thinking about Mangum being back there, he just doesn't fit well IMO. Depth is a little scary here. Dammit Willie Downs.
FS: Jamie Robinson, Terrance Parks: Robinson was very encouraging this spring, hopefully it will translate into the fall. He has good instincts and speed but again, can he limit the mistakes and big plays? We'll find out early and often, as the secondary will be tested frequently. I'm not sold on Parks at FS, I'd rather see him at CB personally. Maybe one of the freshman can help out, it would either be Harley (since he's had a leg-up working out) or Demps (in great shape, drew praise from Stroud), but hopefully it doesn't get that bad. Demps is a guy I'm keeping my eye on- he could be something special down the line.
K: Dustin Hopkins, James Esco: I think Hopkins wins the job and is a 4 year starter at K for the Noles. The other guys worry the hell out of me so thank goodness for Hopkins coming in.
PR: Greg Reid, Bert Reed: Yep, I think Greg Reid wins the PR job. Read recently where a member of the FSU staffing crew stated that Reid could win a couple of games on his returns alone. That's pretty lofty praise, but based on what I've seen on film and at the all-star game, I think he'll win it over Bert Reed.
KR: Greg Reid, Bert Reed, Jermaine Thomas, AJ Alexander: Reed is super fast and Reid has the best chance of any freshman skill player to make a large impact- I think it will be on special teams. Also watch for Jermaine Thomas, AJ Alexander (lightning in a bottle but questionable hands) and maybe even Patrick Robinson (more speed).
Let the debating begin- who would you have starting and why? Post your depth charts!