Grading the Seminole LB Unit

The heart of the defense and the entire team is our linebackers. Not only are they the top performers, they are also leaders.

Ernie Sims, Buster Davis and A.J. Nicholson set this tone of each practice this spring, when their intensity was up, so was the rest of the team. Even when Sims went down with injury, junior Marcello Church stepped in and didn't miss a step. After the injury, I saw Buster take a more vocal role on the defense. In the beginning of every scrimmage, he personally let everyone on the offense know that it will be a long day if they don't show up ready to play.

Before the injury to Ernie Sims' leg, he was the most dominant player on either side of the ball. The former North Florida Christian standout has the speed of a running back but the power of a wrecking ball. He is a playmaker and can change the momentum of the game with one crushing hit. The Territory has learned he will be ready to go by the end of summer and will be one hundred percent for the Miami game.

Buster Davis was nearly unstoppable this spring. Whether it was rushing the quarterback or stopping the run, Davis had a great spring. He had several sacks this spring mostly by blitzing off the outside. On one in particular, he must have briefly went color blind. While coming on the blitz Davis did not recognize the green jersey on Wyatt Sexton, he lowered his head and drilled him between the numbers. Sexton was not hurt but he definitely was not expecting the hit.

A.J. Nicholson was quiet early in the spring but finished strong. Early on Nicholson was playing solid but not making spectacular plays, however, at the end of spring and in the spring game he made his presence felt. He is excellent when dropping into coverage and stopping the screen plays that the offense often uses.

Other guys that played well this spring are Marcello Church, Lawrence Timmons, and Sam McGrew. Church was an adequate replacement for Sims, while McGrew had two interceptions this spring and returned one 98 yards for a touchdown. Overall this may be one of the best linebacker groups to ever play for FSU. If the linebackers can all stay healthy it will be the key to having one of the top defenses in the country.

Grade- A There isn't a more talented linebacker group in the country and this Seminole unit would give a lot of NFL units a run for their money. Not only is there outstanding talent but amazing depth. Incoming freshman Eugene Hayes and Derek Nicholson were on several high school All-American list.

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