Brandon Jenkins (junior)
Cornellius Carradine (junior)
Toshmon Stevens (junior)
Bjoern Werner (sophomore)
Dan Hicks (sophomore)
Giorgio Newberry (freshman)
Florida State entered this season with just six defensive ends, which is one or two players short of what would be considered ideal depth. The good news is that there are no seniors on the depth chart, and the top four are considered one of the best groups in the country at the position.
Jenkins had a brilliant sophomore campaign but is off to a somewhat slow start this year. However, Werner is clearly taking a step forward in 2011. Carradine has not made the impact that was expected, but the season is still young. Hicks has remained a very solid option. Stevens has never played a meaningful down at FSU, and it appears that he won't ever. Newberry will be part of the next group and has a high ceiling.
On paper, this looks like a home run that was hit out of the stadium, not just into the cheap seats. Edwards is widely considered a top-10 player in the nation. He brings elite size to the table and should be able to make an early impact. Casher and Fowler are considered top-10 defensive ends in the country, and each brings elite athleticism to the table. In fact, both have the tools to play linebacker.
There are some minor issues here. Casher is not playing his senior season due to being ruled ineligible in a transfer. Fowler is currently suspended from his high school team, and there is certainly a chance he does not play another snap this year. If you want to look for good news, we guess it would be that there is no injury risk, but you would certainly like to see the players on the field their senior season. Oklahoma has come after Edwards, but we feel he is a very solid commitment.
Williams has played his recruitment close to the vest. He appears headed to either FSU, Alabama, Florida, or Clemson. 'Bama is considered the leader.
The "Future" Future
Assuming the three commits actually sign and enroll in school, disaster seems to have been adverted. These players are studs, and each can could contribute early at FSU. Throw in Newberry, Werner, and Hicks, and the foundation is set for the future.
This would also allow FSU to get back to signing two defensive ends a year, which is an ideal situation. The prospects are out there for 2013, as it appears to be a deep year both in-state and nationally.
It is early in the 2011 season, but as of today, it does not look like Jenkins or Carradine will be going to the NFL Draft. Should that happen, it is safe to say that FSU will enter the 2012 season with the deepest, most talented group of defensive ends in the country.
The bases have been covered with this recruiting class if either -- or both -- do decide to enter the draft. There would almost certainly be a loss of production in that scenario, but the bodies will be on the roster.
An interesting situation would be if both players return AND the three commits sign. That could allow Newberry to move to offensive tackle, a position he shined at during the UnderArmour game. It also appears to be a position of need for the 2012 season, with senior starters Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders graduating.