Florida State announced Wednesday that two players will no longer be a part of the football team and plan to transfer to other schools in 2012: junior linebacker Jeff Luc and junior defensive tackle Darious Cummings.
Luc, originally a five-star recruit in 2010 from Port St. Lucie (FL) Treasure Coast High School, played sparingly in a reserve role for two seasons and wasn't given much of an opportunity to earn a starting job in Year 3, which is a bit of a surprise since he was so highly regarded upon his arrival in Tallahassee. Cummings, a four-star prospect in the same class from Titusville (FL) Astronaut High School, dealt with his fair share of injuries in Garnet and Gold and simply got left behind on the depth chart by bigger, stronger and faster athletes.
In order to get a better idea just how much the Seminoles will be affected by these two transfers, let's break down the defections position by position:
2011 starters: Nigel Bradham, Vince Williams, Christian Jones
Instead of promoting Luc from backup to starter on the weak side once Bradham ran out of eligibility, the coaching staff moved Jones over from the strong side in order to make him more of a difference maker on defense.
As for the other two positions, there was no reason to make a change in the middle, as Williams and Telvin Smith were a relatively productive pair a season ago. But over on the strong side, Moody has basically been handed the job despite playing safety his first three years at FSU -- Luc was never so much as given a look there.
If Moody does indeed work out at SAM, and there is evidence to suggest he will since the 6-2, 242-pounder has always been a better in-the-box defender, then the 'Noles have a chance to be pretty good at the second level in 2012. Shifting Jones from SAM to WILL gives him more opportunities to be a traditional linebacker and take better advantage of the freakish athleticism he possesses. While Williams is still technically the starter at MIKE, Smith is much more of a playmaker against the run and extra fluid in the hips versus the pass.
Nevertheless, if Jones does not transition well from strong side to weak side, Moody fails at linebacker altogether or the injury bug pops up again, no Luc means Florida State may eventually have to lean on a true freshman like Eligwe. Jenkins, fresh off a redshirt and considered by many to be a future starter, was kicked off the team Jan. 6 due to off-the-field concerns.
Luc could certainly end up being a heckuva linebacker one of these days, but either he was overrated coming out of high school or not a good fit for defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' scheme, or possibly both.
2011 starters: Everett Dawkins, Anthony McCloud
Florida State was nothing short of loaded along the interior of the D-line a season ago, and even with Erving flip-flopping to offensive tackle during the spring, depth will again be a strength in 2012.
The Seminoles were awfully banged up at the position throughout spring workouts, as Cummings, McCloud, Jernigan, McDaniel and Mitchell each missed considerable time with injuries. But all that did was give the likes of McAllister and Lawrence-Stample increased reps with the starters, with both of them putting a lot of quality work on tape and demanding a spot in the rotation this fall.
Not to mention the fact that FSU has Goldman, Shanks and Stuckey coming soon, with Goldman having the potential to be every bit as good as Jernigan was last season. Jernigan was a freshman All-American with this ability to be both a one- and two-gap player, which is key in Stoops' system since he uses four- and three-man fronts. Dawkins and McCloud are reliable vets with NFL futures, with Dawkins playing three technique and McCloud occupying blockers at nose tackle.
Cummings, on the other hand, was sort of stuck between being a big defensive end and a small defensive tackle. Not only could he never compete with Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner at D-end, but the Jernigans and Goldmans of the world made him an afterthought at D-tackle -- to be fair, he wasn't always healthy.
Even if there is a worst-case scenario this year at defensive tackle with injuries and ineffectiveness, it's hard to imagine the absence of Cummings coming back to haunt this unit.
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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