This is the 47th in a series of articles counting down the most important players for Florida State in 2012. There are 10 days until FSU football, and that's how many are left on the list. That means no off days. Oh, and these are not in any specific order
Near consensus top-rated prospect in America in 2012...USA Today defensive player of the year...ESPNU 150 member...2012 Parade All-American...SI.com Second Team All-American ...ESPNHS First Team All-American...247Sports Defensive Player of the Year for 2012 where he garnered a perfect 100 rating...one of just four players with a 100 rating from 247Sports...listed at No. 1 by ESPN, Scout and 247Sports...Rivals lists him at No. 3 nationally...five-stars from Rivals, Scout and 247Sports...unanimously ranked No. 1 at his position whether it be defensive end or defensive tackle...the top player coming out of the state of Texas...Scout said it is hard to find a player as big and explosive as Edwards...ESPN recruiting analyst Craig Haubert said Edwards can contribute almost immediately due to his ability to take advantage of blockers' weaknesses with a pass rush arsenal and a plan of attack when he rushes the quarterback...Haubert also said he is similar to Clemson's DeQuan Bowers at this stage of their careers...of his 72 tackles as a senior 32 were for a loss including 11 sacks...named the state of Texas Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year as a junior by the Associated Press...recorded 127 tackles, 50 tackles for loss and 18 sacks leading Denton Ryan to a state runner-up finish...recorded 69 tackles and three sacks as a freshman on top of catching 17 passes for 361 yards and three TDs...his high school coach raves about his work ethic as he and his father, former FSU star Mario Edwards, work out together at 6:00 a.m. each morning...says Edwards is the best he has coached in his 32-year career...Edwards will wear the same number (15) as his dad did at FSU...chose Florida State over Texas, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, among others.
You read that bio. You see that Edwards Jr. was rated as the top recruit in the country by some services. You heard Jimbo Fisher compare him to Reggie White during the signing day press conference.
But Florida State has three surefire NFL early-round picks on its roster, plus sophomore Giorgio Newberry, who is coming into his own. So what can Florida State fans expect to see from Edwards Jr. this year?Quite a bit, actually.
So far, camp reports have been OK with Edwards. He is a freshman, and has not been dominating like some thought he might. But he does appear to be in better shape (lighter now than the listed 295 pounds, it appears), and is learning the defense. He's certainly not going to have to redshirt or anything like that. I do think camp has been a humbling experience for him.
Earlier in the year, it appeared that Edwards took Florida State's insistence that it would play him at end (and not tackle) as a license to not monitor his intake as closely as needed. He has since slimmed down a bit. Edwards has excellent power. He needs to make sure that if he were to bulk into a tackle, that it was due to muscle, and not fat. But at this time, it looks like he is staying at end and should, in time, be a huge piece of yet another dominant defense in Tallahassee. Still, he need to do about 5-15 more pounds worth of reshaping.
Last year, Florida State's defensive ends played 1718 total snaps. Of those, 1429 were in meaningful game action and 289 were in garbage time.
Florida State returns all but 140 of those meaningful snaps, as Dan Hicks moved to tight end. Tank Carradine is expected to play a larger role in his second year, as is Giorgio Newberry, who has impressed during camp after redshirting as a freshman. That won't leave a ton of room for Edwards Jr. But it will leave some.
For projection purposes, let's put the total number of snaps faced at 1700. Though, since FSU has a more favorable schedule this year, let's set the number of non-garbage snaps at 1370, and the number of garbage-time snaps at 330.
A snap breakdown like this seems reasonable:
Edwards Jr. 110/81
That's close to 200 snaps on what might be the best defense in America. It speaks to the talent on the defense more than it does to Edwards' ability.
But what if a defensive end goes down? That's where Edwards could really prove useful. Knowing that Florida State has a No. 3 defensive end capable of playing ~350 snaps at an acceptable level for an elite defense is a huge luxury. It's something that other teams simply don't have.
Edwards Jr. should be a two-year starter for the 'Noles (three if he doesn't leave early for the NFL). But for 2012, he happens to be on one of the only teams in the country capable of telling him to take a number.