Three candidates for a position switch

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hinted after the regular season and before the bowl game that he may order a handful of position switches in 2012. Who are the possible contenders to flip sides?

Giorgio Newberry

Currently a 6-6, 255-pound defensive end from Fort Pierce (FL) Central High School, Newberry could be a candidate to play offensive tackle.

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Florida State has been in good shape at both tackles positions the last few seasons, as Andrew Datko and Zebrie Sanders were four-year starters for the most part, but Datko's career is probably over following more shoulder trouble -- whether he gets that medical redshirt or not -- and Sanders is on his way to the NFL Draft. Bobby Hart started one game at left tackle and eight on the right side as a 17-year-old true freshman in 2011, and while his future may indeed be bright, he is far from a finished product and got whistled for way too many penalties. Josue Matias took a lot of reps inside at guard out of pure necessity, and incoming junior-college transfer Daniel Glauser, if he pans out better than fellow JUCO alumnus Jacob Fahrenkrug, only has two years of eligibility left.

Newberry came to Tallahassee as a defensive end but seemed like a quality player at offensive tackle once upon a time at the Under Armour game, plus a trio of blue-chip D-ends are committed to FSU for the class of 2012: Chris Casher, Mario Edwards and Dante Fowler. He might still be a shade on the lean side for a bookend blocker, but Newberry has plenty of room on his frame to add the necessary weight and yet keep most of his athleticism.

Nile Lawrence-Stample

Now a 6-2, 305-pound defensive tackle from Davie (FL) Nova High School, Lawrence-Stample may be of better service in garnet and gold lining up at guard.

FSU's struggles along the offensive line this past season, both in the interior and out wide, were well documented, as quarterback E.J. Manuel got subjected to way too much punishment in the pocket and the running game was a week-to-week headache. At the two guards, while Tre' Jackson got the nod as a true freshman in the Champs Sports Bowl and would have been in the mix much sooner if not for a bothersome knee injury, Matias was the second starter against Notre Dame even though he was recruited to play tackle. Among the other returning players given a shot to start in 2011, Bryan Stork was the best of the bunch -- Fahrenkrug and Garrett Faircloth were average at best -- and most deserving of another chance.

Fresh off a redshirt, Lawrence-Stample isn't going to crack the rotation at D-tackle any time soon, not with everybody back in 2012, four-star recruit Justin Shanks already committed and five-star stud Eddie Goldman possibly faxing in some good news on National Signing Day. Unlike the 6-5 Derrick Mitchell, who has also been rumored as a potential switchee to O-line, Lawrence-Stample might not fit the mold of what the 'Noles have been looking for lately on defense, which is taller tackles.

Karlos Williams

At the moment a 6-2, 220-pound safety from Davenport (FL) Ridge Community High School, Williams might end up being a tailback when it's all said and done.

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While the Seminoles featured five scholarship tailbacks at the start of preseason camp this past July, it was true freshman Devonta Freeman who emerged as the team's leading rusher since seniors Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jones disappointed, junior Chris Thompson sustained another crippling back injury and fellow freshman James Wilder didn't pick up the details of the playbook as quickly. Thomas and Jones are both done and Thompson is a question mark at best going forward, but FSU can still feature a three-pronged running attack of Freeman, Wilder and 2012 commitment Mario Pender that has a chance to be downright special. Not to mention the fact that coach Jimbo Fisher doesn't necessarily believe in situational backs and prefers every ball carrier being able to handle the entirety of the offense -- that's why the bigger and stronger Wilder wasn't simply labeled a short-yardage and goal-line option.

Just re-watch the second-half kick of the Miami game to get an idea of how explosive he can be with the pigskin in his hands, even if what would have been an untouched-all-the-way-to-the-end-zone touchdown was negated due to a penalty. However, if Williams is destined to score TDs instead of prevent them, somebody is going to have to emerge at the other safety spot opposite Lamarcus Joyner.


John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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