In another forum, I was writing out what I projected to be our starting line-up come the start of the 2012 season. What started as a list, turned in a 3 part mini-series that will be airing on AMC this fall. So I thought I would flush it out even more and revive it as a FanPost at TN where I know the awesome fanbase here would (hopefully) accept it.
I am going to list out my thoughts on who I think will be the starters of the 2012 FSU squad. As a disclaimer, I will say that I do not consider myself an "expert", so along with including my opinions on the positions and players I will also ask questions about things that I do not know or that I want to know.
E.J. Manuel - I would have liked to see what our season would have looked like had EJ not gone down with a shoulder injury in the third game of the season. Playing through an injury all season, I thought EJ was very average, although very inconsistent. Hopefully another year in the system, remaining healthy all season, and a more experienced offensive line will allow EJ to get to a higher level. However, I think for this season to be a great success, EJ will not have to become the "ultimate playmaker". The key for EJ next year is to try and not make many critical mistakes.
Devonta Freeman - One of my favorite players on the team, I think Devonta will be able to be the offenses #1 RB (unfortunately I agree with most that CT will not be able to play again) and excel tremendously. With another year, all the holes that he missed he may now be able to find and there will probably be more holes due to a more experienced O-Line.
Delmarick Pender - I suspect this EE will have enough talent to immediately jump to the #2 RB position and will have plenty of chances due to FSU RBBC system. Pender brings us speed at the RB position that we haven't had for a while now, and bring a threat of scoring whenever he touches the ball. However, you always worry about younger backs' ability in pass protection. It is the hardest part of going from HS to college. If he can't get his pass pro together he may limit his touches, specifically on 3rd down.
James Wilder Jr. - I am among the group who is very critical of Wilder. I think he should be playing LB as I don't think he has shown enough at RB. However I think a lack of depth at RB will keep him here. Who else could pass JWJ on the depth chart? I haven't heard anything about Eric Beverly, so I don't think he is an option. Debrale Smiley is more of a FB than a RB. The only other player I could see playing RB for us is Lonnie Pryor and that would be limited to only one back sets. I think that next year when another talent freshmen comes in and once again passes JWJ on the depth chart then his only option will be to move to LB.
Rodney Smith - Now entering his senior season the 6'6" wideout will remain to be EJ's #1 option. Rodney makes a great deep option with his size and speed, and hopefully EJ and him can connect on a few that they missed last year.
Rashad Greene - The freshmen phenom will continue his terror on the ACC next season. The only worry about him is if he can stay healthy the whole year, which I don't see as a major problem.
Kenny Shaw - An excellent route runner with excellent hands makes for a favorite target for the QB. Once again, the only worries you have with Kenny is if he has become concussion prone.
Christian Green - The infamous 1-yard-line-wonder will final defeat his fear of the endzone and really step up his game. Extremely athletic and was perhaps not ready to be a major contributor last year but was forced into starting due to terrible injury luck. However as Bud has noted this was probably for the best as it helped with Christian's development and probably made him into a better player in the long run.
Jarred "Scooter" Haggins - I think Scooter will be the 5th best receiver next year. He is a good route runner and a reliable target for EJ. Once again a common theme is health. Missing most of last season with a broken hand, hopefully he recovers well and stays away from black cats and walking under ladders.
Willie Haulstead - Will Willie play next year? Will he play ever again? If he does play, where is he on the depth chart? I have always like Willie but it seems like there are a lot of question marks surrounding him as of now. I have never seen a player be held out an entire season due to a concussion they received before the season even started. One could only imagine that it was incredibly serious, or, the more likely scenario that Bud pointed out, that it was not his first one. I think if he comes back he has a lot of work to do. Suddenly FSU is filled with talent at the WR position and Willie is on the outside looking in.
Nick O'Leary - TE is not a position that FSU has had success with in the recent past but hopefully this year will be different. Hopefully now that
Volstud NOL has had a full offseason he will have learned the playbook completely. I would also advise spending a little extra time catching ball from EJ, as EJ didn't seem to be looking for NOL very much when he was in on offense.
Christo Kourtzidis - I expect Christo to be one of the only freshmen who makes a significant impact for the Seminoles this year. A big physical TE who can block and is surprisingly athletic is a good match for what the Seminoles already have at TE in NOL.
Probably the place with the most question marks heading into next season. I have no idea who will start so I will only project who I think SHOULD start at the offensive line this coming season.
Bobby Hart - The freshmen starter at RT for most of this season I think should start next season as well. Although if Menelik Watson beats out Hart I would not be opposed to that as well.
Josue Matias - Huge, monstrous man and is the only player that I think HAS to be starting come next season.
Austin Barron - The 2 star C out of STA gets the vote from me simply because my least favorite player last year was Bryan Stork. I understood people's problems with Krug being bad but I though Stork was significantly worse. Not sure if that is true or not but it is true enough for me.
Tre Jackson - I like Tre Jackson because of his potential and youth. However I could see Garrett Faircloth beating out Jackson for the spot. I thought Faircloth was one of the bright spots on an otherwise terrible line.
Daniel Glauser - I give the Swiss Cheese (bad nickname?) the edge in starting of Dr. Watson (good nickname?) just because he is a EE and should have more time to gel and learn the playbook.
This is a hard category just because there are so many player who contribute. I think most people know a lot about our defensive line and I feel like I don't have very much to say that hasn't already been said.
Also something that I have always had trouble with is distinguishing the difference in the two DT positions. If someone could explain it to me or point me to an article that explains it, it would be very much appreciated.
Christian Jones - I think we all know what a great player and freak athlete CJ is and unfortunately will probably only be here for one more year. We all knew that he was a 3 and gone type player and if he stays it would be shocking to me.
Jeff Luc - I would like Luc to finally crack the line-up and show us all why he was so highly rated coming in. Unfortunately this is only a wish as I could see Vince Williams taking over Nigel Bradham's spot as well.
Telvin Smith - I would like to see Telvin become the full-time starter at MLB, but unless he adds more weight in the offseason I see a similar situation as last season occuring.
Xavier Rhodes - One of the most talented players on our defense (and that is saying something) and I think most of our fans know that. Unfortunately, like CJ, I can only see Rhodes at FSU for one more year. One thing I would like to see is for ESPN to realize that Rhodes is our best corner. It seems like whenever they bring up players on our defense it is always Greg Reid and Brandon Jenkins. I just wish he got the national love he deserves.
Greg Reid - I am a fan of Greg Reid. I think some people underrate his skills as a corner. The focus is all on what he doesn't do than what he does do. However I think everyone knows his skills as an excellent punt returner.
Nickel and DIme - Who will be the nickel and dime cornerbacks? With the loss of Mike Harris there is now a big void at those positions. I am pretty sure that Nick Waisome will take one of those spots but the other I am not sure. I have heard a lot about Tyler Hunter possibly filling that role which is fine with me.
Lamarcus Joyner - As many on TN know, the MOST important player on defense and also one of the best. Joyner's range is incredible, he hits like a freight train, and he covers like a corner. I expect him to be great in 2012, and probably come back for the next year as well. Although it is possible he does leave for the NFL, I feel the most comfortable with him staying due to the NFL not liking his height,
Terrence Brooks - I really like this safety combination. Two rangy safeties who tackle well and can even play corner if needed. Terrence will fill the hole at safety by the departure of Terrance Parks. There is only a hole at that safety because Parks was out of position and left it wide open.
Dustin Hopkins - Lou Groza finalist who will kick far and paint his shoes gold.
Cason Beatty - It will be hard to replace an consensus All-American in Shawn Powell, but Cason has EE'd so that helps a bit in the transition.
Things I would like to know people's opinion of:
A) What you think the O-Line should look like.
2) What do you think the depth chart at WR should look like
D) Who do you think will step in at the nickel and dime spots
Thanks for reading!