This is the 30th in a series of articles counting down the most important players for Florida State in 2012. There are 28 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.
Terrance Smith | 6'3, 215 | RS-Frosh | Linebacker
Nigel Terrell | 6'1, 235 | RS-Soph | Linebacker
Background (courtesy media guide)
Three-year starter at Southwest DeKalb where he developed his reputation as an outstanding pass rusher...enrolled at Florida State in January of 2011...three-star prospect by Rivals.com rated the No. 18 outside linebacker...has a four-star rating and ranked the No. 21 defensive end by Scout.com...rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports...rated the No. 26 outside linebacker by ESPN...as a senior amassed 60 tackles and 10 sacks in nine games...as a junior, had more than 120 tackles, 15 sacks and 15 tackles for loss...No. 27 on the SuperPrep Georgia 83...No. 34 on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Top 50 Recruits...also enjoyed a standout career in track & field as a sprinter/jumper...chose the Seminoles over the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt...Smith's father, the late Terry Smith, starred as a wide receiver for Clemson in the 1990s...born May 3, 1993.
Alabama native who was given a three-star ranking by both Rivals and Scout.com...Rivals rated him the No. 65 outside linebacker in the nation and No. 26 prospect in Alabama...checked in as No. 46 outside linebacker prospect nationally by Scout...ESPN ranked Terrell the No. 11 outside linebacker and No. 120 prospect overall...moved from safety to linebacker as a junior in 2008 and responded with 101 tackles, including 65 solo stops, 14 tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception...selected as a member of the Birmingham News Senior Pre-Season Second Dozen...stuck with verbal commitment to FSU made in August 2009, despite a strong push from Colorado and Ole Miss...born December 16, 1990.
Career To Date
Meet your Florida State backup outside linebackers. It's OK if you don't know them.
Because Florida State has had good health at the position, there hasn't been much opportunity to get to know them.
So let's focus on what we do know.
Both are very athletic players who were quite raw coming out of high school (Terrell in '10 and Smith in '11). Both redshirted. Terrell added a good bit of weight during his first two seasons, though he didn't play much. If the numbers are to be believed, Smith did not pack on much muscle during his redshirt season. I'm not going to speculate as to the reason, because any number of factors could have conspired against his development, or the numbers could even be incorrect.
Smith as listed as Nick Moody's backup at strong-side linebacker. Terrell is listed as Christian Jones' backup at weak-side linebacker. It's a bit scary knowing that Florida State's outside linebackers have two career tackles to their names. Combined.
I'm not say that Florida State would be in trouble of Smith or Terrell had to play. But there's also no reason to believe they'd perform at a similar level as the starters. Just as offensive line depth was a potential issue last year should the starters go down, so is the depth at linebacker. The difference, of course, is that none of FSU's starters are coming off surgery, as several offensive line starters were a year ago.
2012 will be an important year for both, but particularly Terrell. Think of it as 'moving day' at The Masters. It's his third year in the program. And while he doesn't need to show a lot on the field (because he is a backup), he does need to show a lot on the practice field.
If Terrell gets passed up by one of incoming freshmen Reggie Northrup or Ukeme Eligwe, does he look elsewhere for playing time in 2013?
That is to say, the battle for Terrell (and Smith to a lesser extent) is not looking up, but looking down in holding off the talented freshmen duo. If they're able to, both will be in line to be two-year starters as Moody is leaving after 2012 and Jones is leaving after 2012 (early) or 2013.
The ideal situation is for FSU fans to find out how the pair can play in garbage time, in the six games in which Florida State projects as a favorite of more than two touchdowns.