Experience on Defensive Line

One of the area's of concern for Florida State the past decade has been the defensive line; after some lean years, there is experience, talent, and depth back on the roster. NoleDigest previews the position as we head into Spring practice.

Defensive Tackle

Coach Haggins will be looking at 5-7 experienced bodies at this position, there is a strong case it is the deepest spot on the team. Everett Dawkins(39 tackles, 6 for loss), Anthony McCloud(35, 3), Jacobbi McDaniel(31, 5.5), and Demonte McAllister(16,7) each had their moments in 2010.

McDaniel is entering his junior year and has played since day one
Steve Chase, NoleDigest.com

That is three juniors and a sophomore so these guys are still developing physically and all should play with more weight in 2011. The surprise of the group was McCloud who stepped right in from JUCO and had a very good sophomore season. He is the biggest of the four and should play a key role next season.

McDaniel arrived with all the accolades and he has logged major minutes in his first two years. He has been forced to learn on the go and we think he is poised for a big year. A number change from 99 to 55 may mark an easy way to remember the "young Jacobbi" and the "old Jacobbi".

Dawkins and McAllister are both slightly smaller than ideal, but have the explosiveness inside that can make plays for losses. Seven of McAllister's 16 tackles were for a loss and he has the potential to be as good as anyone. He needs to stay healthy and add that last little bit of weight. Dawkins is a year older and a warrior inside with some versatility.

The wildcard here is Moses McCray. He missed last season with a knee injury and still is not 100%. He has the type of body and skill that could easily earn a spot in the rotation. It is amazing what a year can do. Last year he has the experience edge, now he is fighting from behind.

Darious Cummings and Cameron Erving will try and fight their way into the rotation. Cummings could be ready to step up while Erving is thought to need a little more time. More help is on the way with Tim Jernigan, Derrick Mitchell, and Nile Lawrence-Stample set to arrive this summer.

When you look at this position, there really is not much more you can ask for. Seven DTs in the Spring with another three on the way. If you were greedy, perhaps everyone being one year older........but that will be next year. It would be a surprise if production was not better in 2011 and that starts this Spring.

Jenkins had 13.5 sacks as a sophomore
Steve Chase, NoleDigest.com

Defensive End

The headliner here is Brandon Jenkins who appears to have recovered well from shoulder surgery. He will be protected in the Spring, but his 13.5 sacks and 63 tackles last year will put him on many pre-season All-American lists. He continues to add weight and should play in the 255-265 range next year.

In a lot of ways FSU has traded Markus White for Cornellius Carradine. One JUCO star is off the NFL and another arrives. Carradine is generally considered to be the more explosive player, he has more upside. He is in for the Spring and we understand he that his raw athleticism has already caught the eye of many.

Bjorn Werner had some impressive moments as a true freshmen, he will get nothing but better. He is just a big athlete that has NFL potential. Dan Hicks was the 4th DE and reportedly he is up over 265 pounds. He was considered a bit of a project when he arrived, he is now a redshirt sophomore. Hicks had two sacks last season.

Toshmon Stevens will try to get himself into the rotation. The redshirt junior has not played much in his time at FSU and it is now or never. He has had trouble adding weight. Giorgio Newberry will arrive in the summer and he comes in with the size to help immediately. There is a chance that we see some players getting a look here in the Spring.

Bottom Line

There is no reason why this unit should not be better in 2011 than 2010. Basically every player returns(Carradine for White) and that year of experience alone should mean something. Several of these players are entering their "money year" for next level aspirations as well.

The only area of concern is the lack of depth at DE, however there are plenty of athletes on the roster who can fill in there if an emergency happened. This should be one of the top units in the country.

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