Spring practice is here, and today we’ll examine one of FSU’s deepest position groups: defensive tackle. The Seminoles have a star and plenty of high expectations on the interior defensive line. There are only so many snaps to go around, though, and FSU fans should be looking forward to a spirited competition this spring as Odell Haggins’ contenders seek to garner them. Let’s take a look. And yes, there will be shameless puns.
Christmas in January
The Seminoles got quite a gift when Demarcus Christmas decided to come back for his 2018 season. Florida State’s No. 90 was downright unblockable in several big games in 2017, and that tape combined with his physical skills would have made him an intriguing draft prospect this spring.
Instead, Christmas decided to pursue his degree and play his senior season in Tallahassee, where he’ll be one of the ACC’s premier tackles outside of upstate South Carolina. FSU fans hope he’ll continue to improve his consistency, bringing the intensity that made him a headache for Alabama, Miami, and Clemson, to all of the contests on the 2018 schedule.
Florida State also has plenty of talented guys competing to spell No. 90 at the exterior tackle position. The versatile Wally Aime has played both three and five-technique spots during his time at FSU, and he may be called on to continue to do so situationally, if FSU’s lackluster depth on the edges becomes an issue. Aime will be looking to make himself some professional money in his last season of eligibility.
Up next are two redshirt freshmen: Ja’len Parks and Cory Durden. Both were great pulls for the Seminoles in a 2017 class that lacked elite defensive tackle prospects in Florida, and both are primed to compete for snaps in 2018. Both Parks and Durden may have the ability to slide outside at times, as each showed plenty of athleticism as recruits.
The tackle spot opposite Christmas also features plenty of talent and depth. Fred Jones has been something of a revelation over his career after being one of the lowest-rated prospects Florida State has taken in recent memory. Both he and Odell Haggins deserve a lot of credit for the high-quality snaps he has given the ’Noles, and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to progress as a fifth-year senior. Likewise, another fifth-year senior, Arthur Williams, has provided depth for FSU over the course of his career and will round out his eligibility in Tallahassee this season.
Marvin Wilson is one of the more exciting players on the roster, and 2018 may well be his breakout campaign. Wilson saw snaps as a true freshman, but the slimmed-down 323-pound tackle will be expected to shoulder a much larger load as a sophomore. He was the top defensive tackle recruit in his class for a reason, and FSU fans hope he becomes the difference-maker he was billed to be.
Finally, Cedric Wood presents an interesting case as a redshirt sophomore. A former four-star recruit, Wood has an opportunity to earn snaps in 2018 and to position himself as a contender for a starter spot down the road if he makes significant strides. As a third-year player, 2018 is a critical season for Wood.
Overall, the Seminoles have plenty of talent and depth at defensive tackle, which is great news considering the pace at which Taggart’s FSU squad will seek to play.