Spring Review: Linebacker

The Florida State linebackers have improved each year under Jimbo Fisher, two long time contributors have moved on to the NFL in Christian Jones and Telvin Smith, are the horses still in the stable?

Terrance Smith, RS Junior

Skinny: In an incredibly deep group where it is difficult to know just who will start, Smith can be written in pencil. He started 10 games a year ago (at MIKE from week 5 on) and got better every week. He built on that during the Spring and seems to have a real nose for the ball. Smith's versatility makes him an intriguing prospect and he is the oldest member of the linebacker group. He can get after the QB, but is also capable of getting back in coverage.

Reggie Northrup, Junior

Skinny: Northrup would be starting at 95% of D-1 schools across the land, but needs to continue to fight for reps at FSU. A starter on both kickoff coverage and punt coverage, Northrup has a nose for the ball and has had some moments where he flashed next level potential. He will play a bunch the next two years, the question is whether he can earn a starting job.

Markuss Eligwe, RS Sophomore

Skinny: Eligwe's biggest play at FSU thus far came in the National Championship game where he made a solo stop on Auburn's Chris Davis with nine seconds to go. An injury hurt him some in the Spring and he will need a strong Fall Camp to earn the rep's he deserves. Eligwe has shown some ability to get after the QB and his raw athleticism can be special. His role will increase in 2014 the question is how much.

E.J. Levenberry, Sophomore

Skinny: One of FSU's most heavily recruited linebackers, he was the stand-out from the 2013 class as a freshmen. Had a pick six that went 78 yards against Idaho. A valuable member of the special teams unit. He is looking like a starter in 2014 and he will be tough to get off the field once that happens. Long, rangy, and athletic, he has the tools to be special. Had eight tackles against NCSU.

Matthew Thomas, RS Freshmen

Skinny: We do not think the plan was to red-shirt Thomas, but an injury made that the only course of action. Thomas arrived with as much fanfare as any recruit and we started to see why during the Spring. He has added 20 pounds to his frame and there is not a more athletic and explosive linebacker on the roster. He has work to do to earn the starting job (continue doing what he is doing), but the upside is off the charts. Thomas can flat put pressure on quarterbacks and is very under-rated in coverage. Should he earn the starting job in 2014, he probably does not make it to the 2016 season as he has NFL written all over him.

Rodderick Hoskins, RS Freshmen

Skinny: Very much a "forgotten" man among this group of big-time talent, Hoskins put others on notice with a very strong Spring game, including a pick 6. Another long athlete that can run, this writer always liked his potential as a TE. His time may not be in 2014, but we are not betting against him. Should be a major asset on special teams (at least) and his role looks like it will increase moving forward.

Kain Daub, Freshmen

Skinny: Daub enrolled early, but was held out of Spring per NCAA rules. That was a little disappointing, but at the end of the day not a huge deal. Blessed with rare size and speed, his ceiling is in Canton. He will need to work to get there, but that is the type of talent we are dealing with here.

Jacob Pugh, Freshmen

Skinny: At the end of his senior year we feel like Pugh was the best linebacker recruit in the state. At 6-foot-4, he oozes upside and this local product has a world of potential. As you can see above the sledding will tough given the enormous talent above, but this kid has some special tools.

Delvin Purifoy, Freshmen

Skinny: Purifoy has a body made for contact and should enter FSU north of 230. We do not expect him to play much in year one, but that year with Vic Viloria should help him re-shape his body while adding strength. We like him in the middle where he reminds us of the mid-90s Noles that ran and hit sideline to sideline.

RECRUITING

Skinny: FSU is loaded at this position and may have nine starting caliber players at this position already. None are set to leave after 2014 which makes this a very low priority on the recruiting trail. FSU went out and kept the Lowndes pipeline going by securing an early verbal from Brian Bell. We could see him being the only LB in the class although there are several talents that FSU may not be able to turn away.


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