Florida State will head into the upcoming season with a lot of uncertainty on both sides of the ball. Here are five non-starters that will have a big impact on the 2015 season.
Freshman Running Back Jacques Patrick:
Dalvin Cook will be the starting running back in 2015 and for good reason. That doesn’t mean that he will receive all the carries. As head coach Jimbo Fisher has proven he will spread the carries around. That means that both Patrick and Mario Pender will see plenty of playing time. Patrick early enrolled and made a push for major playing time with his physical running style and size. At 6-foot-1, 230-pounds Patrick is a load and will see plenty of carries in the short yardage and goalline situations.
Redshirt Junior Running Back Mario Pender:
As mentioned in the Patrick segment Dalvin Cook cannot handle every carry this season and that will lead to plenty of carries for Pender if he can stay healthy. Pender only had 41 carries last season, but found the endzone four times before he was hurt. Something always seems to go wrong for Pender, but he’s still one of the best athletes on the team.
Redshirt Freshman Offensive Tackle Brock Ruble:
It’s not often that you would include an offensive lineman on this type of list, but Ruble is the back up at both left and right tackle. He spent most of the spring in the starting right tackle role when Chad Mavety went down with concussions. Ruble played extremely well when he was with the first team and there is a lot of confidence in him if he were forced into playing time this season. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s always a major help to have someone who can step right in at the tackle positions.
Redshirt Freshman Defensive Tackle DeMarcus Christmas:
Christmas played sparingly last season, but should help improve the depth at the nose tackle position behind Nile Lawrence-Stample this season. Christmas was highly thought of coming out of high school and received high praise for his play this spring. He will get plenty of snaps when Lawrence-Stample comes out of the game and could make a very big impact.
Sophomore Defensive End Rick Leonard:
Leonard was arguably the most improved player this spring. During the 2014 season Leonard was out of shape, but in the offseason he put in the work to reshape his body. During spring practice Leonard was forced into action with the first team due to injuries and made the most of his opportunity. At 6-foot-7, 273-pounds Leonard is a load to put up with, but he’s also very athletic from his lacrosse days. He will be squarely in the rotation this fall, and could earn himself a place in the starting lineup with a good performance during the season.