Spring Practice Preview: LB

On paper the linebacking corps for Florida State is one of the strongest units on the team. While they lost Geno Hayes to the NFL, they still have 4 players that started for the Seminoles in 2007. With the addition of Nigel Bradham and a healthy Derek Nicholson and Marcus Ball, this spring could be a positive. Here is a look at what fans can see in the spring from the linebackers.



SLB

36 Dekoda Watson 6-2 222 JR: Dekoda is a true playmaker for FSU at linebacker and is a candidate for a breakout 2008.

41 Kendall Smith 6-1 224 SO: Smith primarily played special teams much of his freshman season, but due to injuries and the suspensions saw his time increase late in the season. He showed flashes of brilliance, but also looked like a freshman at times. Look for him to make progress this spring, becoming a major contributor to this unit.

39 Kenny Ingram 6-6 223 R-SR: Ingram's time at Florida State hasn't been what he and fans expected. The move to linebacker is best for himself and the team. This spring look for him to get a lot of work to get the position down. He has the raw tools and coverage skills to be a sleeper.

What to expect: The strong side is pretty much set for Florida State. Watson and Smith are locked into the top two positions, so look for Ingram to be a guy who'll add quality depth. In the fall, watch out for Nigel Carr here.


MLB

30 Derek Nicholson 6-2 234 SR: Derek is the leader of this unit and is almost two years removed from the knee injury. Look for him to build upon a good junior season. He's without a doubt the leader at middle linebacker.

48 Recardo Wright 6-2 223 JR: Recardo need to take this spring to show what the coaches saw in him coming out of high school. Wright is the primary candidate to be the back-up to Nicholson, and must show this spring he is ready to be a consistent contributor.

92 Aaron Gresham 6-2 230 R-FR: Gresham is a guy who will add depth to special teams and this unit. Look for him to be a scout team guy for at least another year.

46 Vince Williams 6-0 210 FR: Vince enrolled early so he could come in and be able to play right away. In high school he played outside, so look for him to take this spring to learn the middle linebacker position. As a guy just out of high school, Williams is a guy who must adapt to the speed of the college game.

43 Vincent Zann 6-0 210 SO: Zann is a walk-on, so look for him to get reps here, but mainly on special teams. Scout team guy all the way for the Noles.

What to expect: Overall, this is the only position for this unit that doesn't have quality depth. Nicholson is the starter, so the other guys will be fighting for the 2nd team position. Derek must come out of spring healthy.


WLB



7 Marcus Ball 6-0 215 JR: Marcus Ball, when healthy, is a disruptive force. So far he's had a knee and ankle injury at FSU, but is 100% healthy now. Look for him to show this spring that he is ready to be the player FSU saw the fist half of his freshman year.

44 Maurice Harris 6-0 210 SO: Harris has worked very hard since coming to FSU as a 190 pound tweener. He has excellent athletic ability and good range of movement as he played safety in high school. Look for a solid spring from Harris.



13 Nigel Bradham 6-2 227 FR: Don't expect Nigel to stay 3rd on the depth chart for long. He is already the most physically impressive looking linebacker on the roster, and was rated as one of the top players last year in high school. Nigel has the tools to come in and give Marcus a fight for the starting spot. Also, look for him to cross-train some at the middle.

37 Rodney Gallon 6-0 192 R-SR: Rodney has been passed up by two underclassmen, but has game experience. He is a guy who adds depth and is a steady on special teams. If Bradham is as advertised, look for Rodney to battle for the 3rd spot on this unit.

What to expect: After talk of moving to safety, Ball comes into spring as the starting Will. Look for Nigel to show why he was so valued coming out of high school, as he'll be a guy who contends for the starting spot heading into the fall. Look for Toddrick Verdell to contend in the fall once he returns from injury in the fall. The linebacker position is probably the deepest group in the ACC.

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