Breaking Down the 2015 FSU Roster: Defense

Florida State has some question marks on defense going into the 2015 season. Find out who will answer them below.

The 2015 Florida State defense has quite a bit more question marks than the offense. While there are no starting seniors on defense, there are at least four players who may jump to the NFL. Here is how the 2015 defense will likely shake out.

Defensive End

Returning:

Redshirt Junior Chris Casher

Junior Demarcus Walker

Sophomore Lorenzo Featherston

Redshirt Freshman Rick Leonard

Current Commits:

5-star Josh Sweat

Still On The Board:

5-star Byron Cowart

4-star Terry Beckner Jr.

4-star Shelton Johnson

Leaving:

Junior Mario Edwards Jr. (Maybe)

Outlook

If Mario Edwards Jr. does decide to leave for the NFL the Seminoles will be extremely thin at this position. Demarcus Walker will slide over to the strong side while Lorenzo Featherston or Chris Casher will most likely be the starter on the weak side. Florida State will need at least one, if not both, of Rick Leonard and Josh Sweat to step up next season. Florida State would like to add another defensive end to this years recruiting class. Strong side defensive ends Beckner Jr. and Cowart are the two the Seminoles would prefer, but they are also the least likely. Weak side defensive end Shelton Johnson is an elite pass rusher, and is the most likely of the three to end up at Florida State.

Defensive Tackles

Returning

Redshirt Senior Giorgio Newberry

Redshirt Senior Nile Lawrence-Stample

Redshirt Senior Derrick Mitchell

Redshirt Junior Justin Shanks

Redshirt Sophomore Keith Bryant

Sophomore Derrick Nnadi

Sophomore DeMarcus Christmas

Redshirt Freshman Arthur Williams

Redshirt Freshman Adam Torres

Redshirt Freshman Fred Jones

Current Commits

4-star Darvin Taylor

Still On The Board

4-star Neville Gallimore

Leaving

Senior Desmond Hollin

Junior Eddie Goldman (Maybe)

Outlook

If Eddie Goldman decides to leave for the NFL the Seminoles don’t have a single player that can replace him. Florida State will have to replace him by committee. Derrick Mitchell, Nile Lawrence-Stample, and Derrick Nnadi have all gained valuable experience this season. The ‘Noles will also look to get production from Demarcus Christmas and Arthur Williams. The younger players have passed Newberry, Shanks, and Bryant. Florida State would have liked to hold on to the commitment of the JUCO defensive tackle D. J. Jones, but he switched his commitment to Ole Miss. The Seminoles will likely end up with just Darvin Taylor in this recruiting class, though he’s not likely to be a major help next season.

Linebackers

Returning

Redshirt Senior Terrance Smith

Senior Reggie Northrup

Junior E.J. Levenberry

Redshirt Sophomore Mathew Thomas

Redshirt Sophomore Ro’Derrick Hoskins

Redshirt Freshman Delvin Purifoy

Redshirt Freshman Kain Daub

Current Commits

4-star Sh’mar Kirby-Lane

3-star Brian Bell

Still On The Board

None

Leaving

None

Outlook

Florida State may return every linebacker on the roster, depending on whether Kain Daub remains on the team. Terrance Smith, Reggie Northrup, Mathew Thomas, and EJ Levenberry will be the main contributors going into the 2015 season. Kirby-Lane and Bell will both likely redshirt.

Secondary

Returning

Redshirt Senior Tyler Hunter

Redshirt Senior Lamarcus Brutus

Redshirt Senior Keelin Smith

Redshirt Junior Colin Blake

Junior Jalen Ramsey

Junior Marquez White

Junior Nate Andrews

Redshirt Sophomore Tyrell Lyons

Sophomore Trey Marshall

Redshirt Freshman Malique Jackson

Current Commits

5-star Derwin James

4-star Tarvarus McFadden

4-star Calvin Brewton

3-star AJ Westbrook

Still On The Board

5-star Iman Marshall

4-star Kris Boyd

4-star Holton Hill

4-star Davante Davis

Leaving

Senior Nick Waisome

Junior Ronald Darby (Maybe)

Junior P.J. Williams (Maybe)

Outlook

The biggest factor for the secondary in 2015 is whether or not Ronald Darby or PJ Williams return. If one or both return the Florida State secondary will be in excellent shape. If either, or both, decide to leave there are some question marks. With the loss of at least one Jalen Ramsey will likely slide into a corner position. That will leave the star position up for grabs between sophomore Trey Marshall and true freshman Derwin James. James is an early enrollee and will be on campus for spring practice. If both corners decide to leave the other spot opposite Ramsey will be up for grabs between Marquez White, Malique Jackson, and true freshman Tarvarus McFadden. The safeties will remain the same with Tyler Hunter and Nate Andrews. Florida State is looking for at least one more defensive back in this class. The two likeliest are Boyd and Davis, but both are far from guaranteed to be in this class.

Special Teams

Returning

Redshirt Junior Roberto Aguayo

Senior Cason Beatty

Junior Kermit Whitfield

Junior Bobo Wilson

Current Commits

None

Still on the Board

None

Leaving

Senior Rashad Greene

Outlook

There is some speculation that Roberto Aguayo may leave after this season, but it is unlikely. Cason Beatty, who has turned his career around this season, also returns. The two starting kick returners, Whitfield and Wilson, both return as well. The only position that is likely up for grabs is the punt returner. Bobo Wilson and Jalen Ramsey have both taken reps at that position during practice this season. Wilson is likely the favorite to win the position, but Travis Rudolph, who has worked as a kick returner, may get a shot at the position as well.

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