With linebacker Nigel Bradham fresh out of eligibility and currently knocking heads alongside his fellow all-stars at the Senior Bowl, Florida State needs a replacement for its three-time leading tackler on the weak side.
While Bradham got off to somewhat of a slow start this past season, highlighted by a handful of silly personal-foul penalties unbecoming of a senior leader, he really turned it on down the stretch and capped his Seminoles career with a sideline-to-sideline showcase performance in the Champs Sports Bowl victory over Notre Dame. The last FSU defender to lead the team in tackles for three straight years was the legendary Marvin Jones from 1990-92.
The 'Noles are just fine for 2012 at the middle and strong-side linebacker positions, as the depth chart is fully intact. Sturdy Vince Williams and speedy Telvin Smith make for a dependable duo in the middle, while Christian Jones just may develop into a superstar over on the strong side if he ever harnesses his endless supply of natural ability. But with Bradham due to be in the NFL once his name is called in the draft, as he's sure to be selected in Round 2 or 3, the leading candidate to take his place in defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' lineup is rising junior Jeff Luc.
"Jeff is going to be a good player," said Bradham following Wednesday's workout at the Senior Bowl. "He had to come back from an injury last year and battled with that, but he did some good things. I'm very confident he can step into my spot and get some things done. He can play."
Highly recruited out of Port St. Lucie (FL) Treasure Coast High School, Luc hasn't had much of a shot to put his considerable talent on display with Bradham in front of him.
When asked for a below-the-radar player that's ready to blow up big time and be a major factor on what should be a stacked Florida State defense this coming season, Bradham looked to the secondary.
"Terrence Brooks," he said.
Little more than a dime defensive back and special-teams staple in 2011, Brooks has the measurables to play both corner and safety and might even be the successor to the graduated Mike Harris at nickel back.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Bradham knows the next FSU star
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