Florida State experienced great success in the 2013 NFL draft with a school record 11 Draft picks with 5 players being selected among the top 42 selections. Among the 11 players drafted Florida State had 3 Early Entry’s selected with two of those players being selected in the 1st round (Xavier Rhodes & Bjoern Werner), and the third player selected in the 2nd Round (Menelik Watson)
Churning players into the NFL begins with recruiting and developing those prospects properly within your program. Fisher has revamped recruiting to an elite level where most can agree that Florida State is at the point where we are not rebuilding but reloading blue chip prospects with more blue chip prospects. Since his hire Fisher and staff have produced top 10 classes all 3 years with two of those being Top 5 depending on the recruiting service. In regards to recruiting at the levels of the Upper Tier programs in College Football Schools must not only recruit players that mold well with their systems, but also those prospects who barring injury or any other issues that arise will eventually project to the NFL. In regards to how upper tier programs recruit Its commonplace for coaches to project certain elite level prospects as possible early entry prospects.
Florida State has a number of players on the current roster that project to the NFL. In part II of Forecasting the Future I discuss the RS Sophomore, Sophomore, and notable RS Freshmen on the squad and my take on if they project to the NFL, their chances of leaving early and who I feel compare to as a possible NFL prospect. FYI Florida State will have a loaded 2014 draft barring injuries. (I do not scout for a living, just a fan of the game so please discuss, and add those who I have missed)
-From Seminoles.comTalented third-year linebacker, who continues to get bigger and stronger and displays quickness and great ability to get to the ball. Will challenge for the starting job at strongside linebacker after serving as the backup last season.
Smith Enters his 3rd year in Tallahassee after being a heavy contributor on special teams, known more for his pass rushing skills coming out of H.S. Smith has made a few splash plays in the Spring, and on special teams for the Noles over the past few years, and looks to make an impact by breaking into the LB rotation. I expect Smith to complete his elgibility through 2015.
-From Seminoles.comThird-year cornerback prospect who has great size and athleticism. Gained valuable reps going with the first team defense the majority of last spring. Heads into the fall looking to be a contributor in a deep secondary in FSU's new-look defense.
Smith has been somewhat of an intriguing prospect over the past few years, as he backed up Rhodes at the CB position, Smith has good height, but has a slim build. His build reminds me of Dre Kirkpatrick the former Alabama standout, but due to the immense depth at the position would not be surprised with a move to either safety or a possible transfer. If he stays I expect Smith to complete his eligibility at FSU through 2015.
-From Seminoles.comA four-star defensive end who enjoyed a stellar senior season recording 83 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and eight sacks...ranked the No. 10 strongside defensive end by Rivals.com and No. 18 defensive end by Scout.com...rated a four-star prospect by 247Sports
Newberry arrives into his RS Soph year amid a position change to TE due to the amassed depth at DE, and the depleted depth at TE due to injuries and transfers. Newberry is a big body, with athleticism who will be used mainly as an in-line blocker. With Newberry’s pro prospects I could possibly see him developing into a Michael Williams type (Former Bama TE, Current Lions TE) I do believe Newberry will surprise with his athleticism, and become an integral piece of the offense. Fully expect Newberry to complete his eligibility through 2015.
-From Seminoles.comThird-year defensive lineman, who was hit by the injury bug early on in his FSU career. Displays good hips and a good first-step. Despite missing some of spring practice in 2012 with a knee injury, exited spring in the mix at one of the interior tackle spots on a very deep and talented unit. Returned to that form this spring and spent most of the time as one of the first team defensive tackles. Expected to be a big contributor in 2013.
Mitchell comes into his RS Soph year looking to start fresh amid two injury riddled seasons. Known for a quick first step coming out of H.S. the 3rd year sophomore looks to break into the DL rotation. I fully expect Mitchell to take snaps at DT, and DE due to the scheme versatility instilled by Pruitt, and also from recent comments from DT Demonte McCallister mentioning taking snaps at DE this fall. Fully expect Newberry to complete eligibility through 2015, and to have more meaningful snaps in his RS Jr year.
Niles Lawrence Stample
-From Seminoles.comPromising young interior lineman who is coming off a solid first season with the Seminoles. Continues to develop into a disruptive presence especially in short-yardage and goal-line situations which he did well last fall camp and at times during the season. Adds even more depth to an already talented and deep unit.
One of the more popular members of the DL group due to his insane highlight Tape. NLS has had splash moments in the spring, and fully expect him to break into the rotation behind McCallister, and Jernigan. As a pro Jernigan reminds me of recently drafted UF D-Lineman Omar Hunter. They both possess the same low stocky build and center of gravity, with above average strength. Although very physical gifted I expect NLS to complete his eligibility through 2015
-From Seminoles.comStrong-armed, mobile quarterback, who spent his second season with the Seminoles as the third-string quarterback but enters the fall as the lone signal caller to take any snaps in a collegiate game. Will be in a three-way battle for the starting spot vacated by EJ Manuel. Had another solid spring practice in 2013, showing good game management in scrimmages and the annual spring game where he completed 15-of-26 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown playing for both the Gold and Garnet teams
Coker has all the physical tools, from the height, to the big arm, to the mobility. The only thing going against him is that he is in a QB battle with Jameis Winston. Coker would probably start for any ACC team not named Miami, Clemson, or UNC, and a notable of other teams across the country. Coker has next level ability and in order for him to make it the NFL I do not think this will be done at FSU, as I fully expect Coker to transfer sometime in the near future. As a potential pro Coker reminds me of Ryan Tannehill.
-From Seminoles.comRedshirt sophomore safety, who has a great work ethic and enjoyed another good spring practice. Should see more time on special teams after a few departures.
Brutus is a reserve safety who showed a few flashes of his potential in the spring game. Do not expect too much from him this year besides special teams roles. Could possibly emerge into rotation in 2014 or 2015. Fully expect Brutus to complete eligibility through 2015.
-From Seminoles.comThird-year receiver who is coming off a productive first season as a redshirt freshman. Tall, physical receiver who has deceptive speed and great ability in the air. Created significant match-up problems for opposing cornerbacks and looks to fill the void left by the departed Rodney Smith, who was another big speedy receiver for the Seminoles
Benjamin has the build and potential to be an elite receiver, but it all lies on the shoulders of the RS Soph to put it all together, and by all accounts from Fall Camp it looks as if Benjamin is starting to realize his true potential after reports of consistency, and a lower playing weight. This is somewhat of a money year for Benjamin, and it would not surprise me to see the RS soph leave the for the NFL after a strong season. My NFL comparison for Benjamin is Plaxico Burress.
-From Seminoles.comVersatile defensive back that can play either corner or safety. Has good ball skills and instincts which allowed him to excel on special teams, tying for the team-lead with seven special teams tackles. Will push for time in the rotation at corner this fall.
The rising sophomore has had a very productive Spring and Fall Camp, and seems to be geared for a breakout season under new Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Williams is listed at 6-0 193lb’s, but it would not surprise me if he is north of 200lbs. Williams is a very physical specimen, and it would not surprise me to see him as an early entry in the draft. My pro comparison for Williams is recently drafted corner Dee Milliner
-From Seminoles.comSecond-year linebacker who immediately stepped in and made an impact on special teams as well as on the defense late in games. Strong and athletic backer, who showed up on the depth chart last fall as the backup at weakside linebacker and maintains that same spot heading into the fall
Northrup is a rising Sophomore who also looks to break into the rotation after a freshman season that saw the LB used primarily on special teams, and in garbage time. Northrup has shown flashes and looks to play a more integral role in the defense. Northrup is very physical, and was quoted from Jimbo as being the main reason for the injuries to Pender, Wilder, and Freeman before the Spring game. I feel Northrup will use all of his eligibility through 2015, but that could change with a strong Jr. year in 2014. My pro comparison for Northrup is former Florida Gator LB Jelani Jenkins
-From Seminoles.comOne of the top defensive linemen coming out of high school who gained valuable experience in his first season with the Seminoles. Looks to take over one of the vacated starting jobs in the defensive interior. Has good size and the ability to fire off on the snap, get into the backfield and be disruptive
Goldman the rising Sophomore looks to have an expanded role coming into the 2014 season. Although Goldman was mainly used in garbage time, we were able to see flashes of what made him the #1 DT in the nation. Goldman possesses an explosive first step, and just needs to work on technique and consistency. The NFL loves players with Goldman’s upside, and I could definitely see Goldman leaving for the NFL after a strong 2014 campaign. My pro comparisons for Goldman, are Sylvester Williams, and Marcel Dareus
Mario Edward’s Jr.
-From Seminoles.comBig, powerful defensive end, who was the No. 1 overall player in the class of 2012. Ended up earning valuable playing time in the second half of the 2012 season including starting the final two games.
Edwards Jr. enters his sophomore season after an up and down Freshman campaign. Edwards Jr. was able to show flashes of what made him the #1 overall recruit in the nation after filling in for the injured Tank Carradine. From all reports from camp Edwards has slimmed down, and looks due for a breakout sophomore season, in which he will be occupy one of the starting DE positions. As stated with Goldman the NFL covets players with Edwards’ size and explosion, and he will most definitely be on the NFL’s radar come 2014. My NFL comparison for Edwards Jr is former #1 overall recruit Da’Quan Bowers
-From Seminoles.comExperienced corner who has great speed and a knack for finding the ball when in coverage. Missed spring practice while recovering from offseason surgery, but still a top candidate to start at one of the corner positions in 2013. Coming off a productive freshman campaign which saw him earn Freshman All-America honors and receive ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors
The reigning ACC Defensive Rookie of the year returns for a sophomore campaign in the new more aggressive system under Jeremy Pruitt. Darby possesses elite speed, and elite quickness, but not elite hands, as he probably lead the team in almost int’s. Darby is a willing tackler and has impressive range. Fully expect Darby to leave for the NFL after his JR season in 2014. My pro comparisons for the rising sophomore are DeAngelo Hall & Stephon Gillmore.
-From Seminoles.comNation's top high school quarterback prospect in the class of 2012 who redshirted last fall but served as a relief pitcher and outfielder on the 2013 FSU baseball team. Enters fall in a three-way battle for the starting spot vacated by EJ Manuel. Spent his first season at FSU as one of the scout team quarterbacks doing a really nice job in helping one of the nation's top defenses prepare for opposing quarterbacks. Dual-threat quarterback who played in the shotgun spread where he excelled as a passer in the pocket and on the move in high school. Can make all the throws and does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield when plays break down. Enjoyed a good spring practice, which was highlighted by his performance in the annual Garnet & Gold game when he completed 12-of-15 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
Winston enters his RS Freshman season after a strong showing in the Spring game, and has continued that with a strong Fall, as he enters camp as the presumed Starter. Winston seems to have "It" but games are won on the field, and not on paper. Winston may have the most potential of any QB to come to FSU in the past 20 years. An ideal comparison for Winston would be UCLA QB Brett Hundley. With all of the ability Winston possesses it would not surprise most to see Winston declare for the NFL early after the 2014 or 2015 seasons.
-From Seminoles.comRun-stopping tackle who was one of the top 10 players out of high school in Alabama. Explodes off the ball and displays great strength in engaging blockers and defending a gap well. Has done a nice job transforming his body to get ready to contribute to one of the deepest units on the defense. Enjoyed a good spring ball picking up the new defensive scheme put in place by defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
Shanks enters his RS Freshman season after shedding upwards of 40 lb’s, and getting into shape to try and break into the DT rotation. Shanks has the ability to be anchor the D-Line at NT, but will more than likely be used in more of a reserve role, as he acclimates back into playing shape. I would expect Shanks to complete his eligibility but as stated before the NFL covets D-Lineman, and Shanks could definitely leave early for the NFL following his RS JR season in 2015.
Delmarick "Mario" Pender
-From Seminoles.comExplosive redshirt freshman running back who possesses the quickness, speed and burst to run both inside or outside and also has great power to run through tackles. Excelled last spring in 2012 as an early enrollee, but suffered a sports hernia injury which kept him out much of last fall
Pender enters his RS Freshman campaign looking to fill that explosive playmaker left by the Graduation of Chris Thompson. Pender may have the highest ceiling of all the RB’s on the roster due to his game breaking speed. I expect Pender to have an increasing role as the season goes on as he gets acclimated back to the college game, after suffering a season ending groin injury the previous year. I feel Pender’s Pro Comparison is recent Miami FL RB Lamar Miller, and like Lamar I can see Pender taking his talents to the NFL in 2014 after his RS Soph season if he has a strong campaign.
-From Seminoles.comBig, rangy, physical linebacker who will compete for a starting job at strongside linebacker. Sustained a minor hand injury last fall which kept him out after impressing last fall camp on special teams. Excelled during spring of 2013 earning a spot on the two-deep at the strong side linebacker spot
Eligwe Enters his RS Freshman season looking to break the LB rotation after a shoulder injury cost him his True Freshman season. Eligwe has taken strongly to the strength and conditioning and looks to contribute within the new scheme of Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. I expect Eligwe to contribute mainly on special teams and in reserve duty, and to contend for a starting position in 2014. My pro comparison for Eligwe is Alec Ogletree the former Georgia LB
-From Seminoles.comBig, physical defensive end, who was starting to earn playing time at the start of the 2012 season before suffering a season-ending injury. Displays good pass rushing skills and a good ability to play the run as he will compete for a starting spot this spring.
Casher enters his RS Freshman season looking to knock off the rust of not having played meaningful football in almost two years. Although Raw Casher may carry the highest ceiling of all the Defensive Ends, with his combination of Size/Speed. Look for Casher to play a more reserved role, as he gets back acclimated to the speed of the game. I Look for Casher to be a possible early entry in 2015 following his RS JR season, he has that much potential. My pro comparison for Casher is Green Bay LB Nick Perry.
-From Seminoles.comTall, speedy defensive back who redshirted last season after recovering from a wrist and shoulder injury. Expected to add more depth in a deep secondary as well as contribute on special teams
Blake enters his RS Freshman season looking to break into the DB rotation. Blake is very raw, and has not played football for very long, but does have the potential to be a special player with his combination of Height/Speed. I fully expect Blake to complete his eligibility since he is so raw as a player, but a pro comparison that comes to mind is Sean Smith due to a similar size and build.
-From Seminoles.comOne of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the country coming out of high school who enters the fall in the battle for the starting spot vacated by EJ Manuel. Spent his first season at FSU as one of the scout team quarterbacks doing a really nice job in helping one of the nation's top defenses prepare for opposing quarterbacks. A natural pocket passer who is suited for a multiple pro-style scheme despite running a wing-T offense in high school which didn't allow for many passing opportunities. Displays good arm strength, touch, the ability to change ball speeds and accuracy to all three levels. Peformed well during his first spring practice which ended with him completing 6-of-13 passes for 113 yards and a score in the annual Garnet & Gold game
Maguire Enters his RS Freshman season as the presumed #3 QB behind Coker and Winston. Maguire could very well be the backup QB by season's end depending on the Coker situation. Although Maguire was raw coming out of H.S. he does possess prototypical size and a strong arm. Maguire's future will be dictated upon those ahead of him as I feel Winston will not expend all of his eligibility and also believe Coker will transfer in the near future. Maguire could very well be the starting QB by the time 2015 or 2016 comes around, and I expect him to exhaust all of his eligibility whether it be at Florida State or another school