USA Today/Brett Davis

Projecting FSU's Defensive Depth Chart For The Spring

Projecting the Florida State defensive depth chart heading into the spring.

Defensive Line

Position Starter 2nd Team 3rd Team 4th Team
Defensive End Demarcus Walker Rick Leonard Chris Casher Janarius Robinson
Defensive Tackle Demarcus Christmas Walvenski Aime Keith Bryant Cedric Wood
Nose Guard Derrick Nnadi Fred Jones Arthur Williams Darvin Taylor

Demarcus Walker returning for his senior year was a huge boost for the Florida State defensive line. Walker was one of the best defensive linemen in the ACC last season, and another year under defensive ends coach Brad Lawing will only help him. Rick Leonard came on strong late in the season, and played very well against Florida and Houston. He is ready to take over a starting role this year, but will still see plenty of time behind Walker. Chris Casher has been a disappointment during his Florida State career, and there is uncertainty if he will be back for his redshirt senior year. Casher didn't travel with the team to the Peach Bowl. Robinson is a highly touted early enrollee, but will need time to develop. 

Demarcus Christmas will be taking over the starting defensive tackle role for Nile Lawrence-Stample. Christmas had a very good season last year as a backup and looks ready to make the jump as a starter. Aime is a JUCO transfer with 3 years to play 3. He has great size and athleticism, and should be able to immediately contribute. Keith Bryant hasn't made much noise in his career so far, and with talented young guys pushing him this may be his last opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation. Wood is an early enrollee that will need time to develop, but he has the skill to be an impact player in the future. 

Derrick Nnadi will return as the starting nose guard for the Seminoles, and after two stellar seasons as a freshman and sophomore, Nnadi has become one of the best defensive tackles in the ACC. Jones has been a surprise for the Seminoles, and was a part of the rotation at defensive tackle last year. Williams has the size and athleticism to be a force in the middle, but hasn't been able to put it all together yet. Darvin Taylor redshirted his freshman year, but expectations are high for him. Expect him to be in the rotation next year. 


Position Starter 2nd Team 3rd Team
Buck Josh Sweat Jacob Pugh Josh Brown
Will Matthew Thomas Tyrell Lyons Josh Brown
Mike Ro'Derrick Hoskins Sh'Mar Kilby-Lane Delvin Purifoy
Sam Jacob Pugh Lorenzo Featherston

Josh Sweat will return as starter at the Buck position, and with more time in the strength and conditioning program will be a force to be reckoned with next season. Pugh will continue to get better as a pass rusher, and will see plenty of time with Florida State rotating at the position. Josh Brown is an early enrollee that could make an impact at any of the linebacker positions, but he might be best suited for the Buck. It will be interesting to see where he ends up playing. 

Matthew Thomas will be back for the spring, and he will have one more chance at Florida State after missing a year and a half due to suspension in the last two years. He is supremely talented, but will have to keep it together off the field. Phillips played last season, but he struggled at times.  Tyrell Lyons suffered and ACL injury at the beginning of the season in 2015, and likely won't be able to practice much during the spring.

Ro'Derrick Hoskins burst onto the scene last year and played very will with the number of injuries that the line backers suffered. He will take over the starting role from Reggie Northrup. Sh'Mar Kilby-Lane didn't play much as a freshman, but he will be called upon a lot in 2016. Purifoy suffered a catastrophic ankle injury his freshman year, and hasn't recovered completely yet.

Jacob Pugh will come on the field as the Sam linebacker when Florida State goes to a 3 linebacker set. Lorenzo Featherston has struggled to stay healthy, but has the talent to make an impact. 


Position Starter 2nd Team 3rd Team
BCB Tarvarus McFadden Marcus Lewis
FS AJ Westbrook Calvin Brewton
SS Derwin James Nate Andrews
FCB Marquez White Ryan Green Malique Jackson
Star Trey Marshall Marcus Lewis
Money Nate Andrews

Marcus Lewis and Tarvarus McFadden will battle for the spot left open by Ramsey's departure. McFadden was the first cornerback off the bench last season, and will likely start the spring as the starter. 

AJ Westbrook really stood out to the coaches as a freshman, and looks to be the leading candidate to replace Lamarcus Brutus. Calvin Brewton will be a backup. 

Derwin James had an incredible freshman season, and will continue to get better. Nate Andrews will continue to back him up when James moves into his pass rushing or spy role.

Marquez White will return for his senior year, and will have a chance to improve on a very good junior campaign. Ryan Green will return from a shoulder injury, and will have a chance to make his mark. Malique Jackson has been quiet for the first two years of his career, and is buried on the depth chart. 

Trey Marshall started the season at safety, but suffered a torn bicep during the season and had surgery. He should be healthy by the time spring practice starts and will take back over the role. Marcus Lewis will compete with Marshall for the job in the spring. He has the size and athleticism to play the position. 

Nate Andrews has been a force in the money role for the first three years of his career, and that likely won't change. 

Special Teams

Position Starter Backup
Punter Jonathan Hernandez
Punt Returner Bobo Wilson Nyquan Murray

Hernandez will handle the punting duties in the spring, but will likely hand over that spot to freshman Logan Tyler when he arrives in the summer.

Florida State had one of the worst punt return units in all of college football last season with Bobo Wilson as the returner. Nyquan Murray got a few chances to return punts, and will battle Wilson for his starting spot. Whoever wins the job will have a battle on their hands once Levonta Taylor shows up in the summer.  

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