Spring Stock Report: Linebacker

Now that spring drills are in the rearview mirror for Florida State and the annual Garnet and Gold Game has been played, it's time to analyze the Seminoles position by position. Today? Linebacker.

Projected Starters: Christian Jones, Vince Williams, Nick Moody
Notable Backups: Telvin Smith, Terrance Smith, Nigel Terrell, Markuss Eligwe, Reggie Northrup

The Skinny: Florida State is losing its leading tackler of the past three seasons, as Nigel Bradham was just a fourth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in the NFL Draft, so Jones is making the move from the strong side to Bradham's old spot on the weak side in order to become more of a playmaker. The two-man rotation of Williams and Telvin Smith in the middle returns for a second run, although Williams broke his leg toward the end of spring practice, and Moody seems like a natural fit on the strong side -- Jones' switch left an opening there -- after serving as a safety for his first three years in Tallahassee. But while this looks like a solid starting unit, the recent defection of Jeff Luc means the Seminoles are terribly short on depth at the position.

Stock Up: He's technically not the starter, as he shares his MIKE duties with Williams, but Smith is clearly the better athlete, has more upside and simply makes most of the big plays. The 6-3, 210-pounder led all players in the annual Garnet and Gold Game with eight tackles and three tackles for loss, plus he was credited with a pair of pass breakups in coverage.

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Stock Flat: Nobody doubts the fact that Jones has the ability to me an absolute monster one of these days, as he's quite the physical specimen at 6-4 and 237 pounds, but he was woefully inconsistent in 2011 playing the SAM position. Transitioning to WILL could very well be the best thing to happen to him in his FSU career, although he had an awfully quiet five tackles in the spring game, when even Luc had the 'Noles faithful abuzz with six tackles and an interception.

Stock Down: With Luc on the verge of a transfer, Florida State must find out if Terrance Smith and Terrell are ready to step in and contribute should there be any problems in the starting lineup due to injuries or ineffectiveness. Smith appeared competent in the spring game with four tackles, one of them of the "Wow!" variety, but Terrell's two tackles were utterly forgettable and he didn't do anything noteworthy away from the football, either.

Fall Wish List: Jones blossoms into a star, the Williams-Smith duo continues to get the job done and Moody plays like he should have been a linebacker from the start.

Spring Stock Reports: QB  |  RB  |  WR  |  TE  |  OL  |  DT  |  DE  |  LB  |  CB  |  S

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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