NoleDigest Defensive Grades
DL-Markus White, Moses McCray, Everett Dawkins, Toshmon Stevens, Anthony Hill, Anthony McCloud
Mack- Grade B -
Markus White has an excellent chance to win a starting position at defensive end for Florida State. That will not only be due to his talent but also because of the suspensions heading into next season. Dawkins has a great first step around the edge. He will need a redshirt season to become physically stronger but when he does that he will be a force. Toshmon Stevens has a lot of athletic ability. He has a lean frame that can add weight. If he can get to about 230 or 240lbs during his career while maintain his speed he will be a terror. Moses McCray better come to FSU in excellent shape because he will be counted on immediately to help aid the defensive tackle position. Anthony Hill has a great attitude and work ethic but he must continue to develop physically to reach his true potential. McCloud will be placed in junior college but when he gets back to FSU he will be a welcomed addition. FSU really needed to sign one more defensive tackle. If Kyrhi Thornton qualifies then that will help tremendously. FSU really did well at the defensive end position.
Fish- Grade C+
Marcus White was a big time get for the Noles. Add Dawkins, McCray and Stevens to the mix and FSU has added some quality players. FSU needed at least one more DE and DT and they did not get the job done.
Nate- Grade B
FSU needed another defensive tackle in this class, especially with Hill maybe being a greyshirt possibility. That hurts this group a little bit. In my opinion, Markus White is one of the best defensive ends in the nation, and will come in and contribute right away. Moses McCray was one of the top linemen in Florida, and fits the classic tackle Coach Haggins likes. Dawkins is extremely underrated, and brings a speed rusher that will help the defense immensely. Stevens needs to add weight, but with the suspensions he may have to play immediately. I don't know too much about McCloud.
Jason- Grade for DE A, Grade for DT B
FSU did not have an immediate need at defensive end, but still landed a player in Markus White who will immediately contend for a starting role. The days of deep talent at defensive end are not too far off with Everette Brown, Kevin McNeil, Markus White, Neefy Moffett, and company ready to play next year. Stephens will need a year or two to add the necessary bulk, but his frame should be able to carry around 260 lbs without losing speed. All in all, this was an excellent haul at defensive end for a team without an immediate need.
Next Year: Expect the ‘Noles to make defensive end a priority next year as most of the two-deep will be upperclassmen (note: our recruiting will soon become about the expected needs in two years rather than immediate needs as our talentpool gets rebuilt). We will likely sign three or four in next year's class.
McCray should contribute from the day he sets foot on campus (especially given the lack of depth due to suspensions in the first three games). Hill needs to improve his body composition, but he has a lot of upside as a contributor down the line. I anticipate that Dawkins will end up at DT (probably at Nose), and his explosiveness in the middle gives FSU a potentially dominant player and pass rusher on the inside. He's definitely a major sleeper in this class that the staff is very excited about. McCloud was probably the top defensive tackle prospect in south Georgia this year, but is an uphill battle to qualify.
Next Year: The Seminoles' depth at defensive tackle has taken a hit the last couple years; expect this to be a position of emphasis in the class of '09, with us signing at least three here. Jaccobi McDaniel, who will be an early enrollee in '09, is probably the top DT prospect in the nation coming out next year.
LB- Nigel Bradham, Nigel Carr, Vince Williams
Mack- Grade A
FSU landed one of the best linebacker classes in the country if not the best. Bradham is a nationally ranked star who is currently enrolled at FSU. He will be counted on to contribute this year. Nigel Carr is a big, athletic linebacker who will help the Seminoles this season. He can move down to defensive end on passing situations or stay back at linebacker and cover runningbacks out of the backfield. Carr is a special player that Florida State fans will appreciate in the future. Vince Williams enrolled early at FSU along with Bradham. He is a strong player that has to continue to work on his technique, and footwork.
Fish- Grade A
Adding Bradham and Carr were must. These two will make an instant impact. Vince Williams provides depth at the linebacker position. You could see Nick Moody end up here as well.
Nate- Grade A+
FSU wanted to sign 3 linebackers in this class, and they got three of the best in Florida. Both Bradham and Carr are national players with 5-star ability. Williams is versatile and may put his hand down as an end. Bradham is already enrolled and may start from game one. Carr looks like he'll play major minutes from the outset. Great group of players for the Seminoles.
Jason- Grade A
Bradham was the top ranked linebacker by many recruiting services, but I think Carr is actually the best long-term linebacker prospect in this class. Both Nigels should contend for immediate playing time and will be absolute terrors on special teams as freshmen (special teams is one reason it's never bad to have too many linebackers). I anticipate Bradham will end up in the middle, where he will push Derek Nicholson for the starting job as a true freshman. Carr is an ideal weakside linebacker and offers a lot more size (already 225) than FSU has been used to out of that position; I see him as a similar prospect to Lawrence Timmons at this stage, though a bit bigger and not quite as fast. Vince Williams is a hard-working life-long FSU fan who should be a solid contributor on special teams; he'll have to improve his instincts and hips to contribute at linebacker, but that is never out of the question for a kid with his work ethic. That Bradham and Williams were early enrollees is a major plus for both of them.
Next Year: As mentioned above, too many linebackers is not a problem (witness UM taking eight this year) because they can always contribute on special teams. Expect FSU to look to land three or four again next year. With the new staff, expect more balanced classes as a rule; three linebackers will probably be the average year-to-year.
DB- Terrance Parks, Nick Moody, Ed Imeokparia, A.J. Alexander, Travis Arnold
Mack- Grade B-
Terrance Parks will be playing right away next season. He has EXCELLENT size and very good speed. He will be FSU's most physical cornerback on the roster. Parks enrolled early at FSU this year. Nick Moody is a hard working, great kid. Moody is a bigger safety that could also play linebacker as well for depth. Travis Arnold will be enrolling at Butler Community College. Alexander is a player that could play a number of positions. He will start out playing corner. He has great speed and is a natural athlete. Ed Imeokparia is a football player that the coaches really like. He has good size at 6' 188lbs and decent speed. Athletically he will be an upgrade at the free safety position. FSU missed out on a ton of guys that would have improved this grade.
Fish- Grade C+
Not landing TJ Bryant brings this grade down to a C+. AJ Alexander and Terrance Parks bring some size to FSU cornerback situation. Both are over 5'11. Look for Nick Moody is another very nice looking SS prospect. Not hitting on the need for a FS prospect hurt FSU as well. The Jersey Safety should bring some much needed athletic ability to FSU safety position.
Nate- Grade C+
If Arnold were to qualify, this group is a B. Moody will start out as a rover for the Seminoles, but he had the frame to end up as an outside linebacker. Terrance Parks showed at the ESPN All-American game that he's one of the most physical corners in the nation. Imeokparia got offered late, but the coaches have been on him for some time. He has the hips to play free safety, but it comes down to just getting more work at the position. FSU needed to sign 3 safeties, but didn't meet those numbers.
Jason- Grade B+
Parks might be the best immediate-impact freshman prospect in the entire class; he has rare size for a corner (similar to Chris McCalister of the Ravens) and matched up well with Julio Jones in the Under Armor All-American Game. He has every tool to be a great corner: size, quick hips, excellent "suddenness," deep speed, and ball skills. Expect him to push for a starting role immediately and contribute as a nickel corner as a freshman. Moody is another underrated prospect who will immediately remind Seminole fans of Myron Rolle at rover—linebacker size but safety speed and ball skills. A.J. Alexander is probably the fastest straight-line player in this year's class, but is extremely raw and will likely either be a return specialist or a redshirt as a freshman. He has the physical tools to be a very good player at several positions (especially FS or CB) in a year or two. Ed Imeokparia gives the ‘Noles another excellent athlete who will be a very effective special teams player and contribute as a backup early in his career.
Next Year: Contrary to popular opinion, free safety was not a top priority this year in part because the FS talent in the '09 class is exceptional. Expect FSU to sign two top free safety prospects next year. The corner situation still needs a major upgrade; after Tony Carter, Jamie Robinson, and Parks, FSU's corners are unproven, and we will be losing Carter and Michael Ray Garvin in ‘09. Look for FSU to make corner a point of emphasis in next year's class as well, signing at least two. The ‘Noles will take between four and six total defensive backs next year.
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