Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
Losing key players from a top-5 defense that is fresh off of a National Title is inevitable. What might not be expected is a freshman coming in and having an instant impact on such a prestigious unit. Last season it was the combination of Jalen Ramsey and Nate Andrews who immediately contributed to the defensive secondary. Who could be those guys this season?
Trey Marshall- Marshall is a player that jumps out at me not just because of his ability, but because he comes in at a position of need. With Terrance Brooks vacating his safety spot, new Defensive Coordinator is going to be looking for someone to come in and roam the deep parts of the field. While Tyler Hunter and Nate Andrews are the heavy favorites to win the starting spot, Marshall has a chance to show he is ready to get some playing time in relief of the starters. He’ll have a leg up on most freshman as he is already enrolled and learning the playbook. He showcased his unbelievable speed at the Nike Sparq camp earlier in his senior season by running a 4.34 40-yard dash. He plays very similar to the way Terrance Brooks played because he can come up and play in the box. Marshall shows more physicality on film than what Brooks did when he came in his freshman year. What will get Marshall on the field early is the fact that he hits like a linebacker but flies around like a defensive back. Look for him to be on the starting special teams units from day 1.
NFL Comparison: Eric Weddle- Chargers
Demarcus Christmas- Christmas is one bad dude! He has the solid frame you look for in a defensive lineman, measuring in at 6’3 285lbs, and runs his 40 in the 4.6 range. With the physical tools to play right away, he has also shown some loyalty to Florida State throughout his recruitment. After he committed to FSU he did not play the game that most recruits play by flipping back and forth on their decision. In fact, he did not take one visit to any school besides Florida State. Jimbo Fisher loves his ability, and even commented that he would be a 5-star, top recruit if he were to go to any of the camps and showcase his skills. He turned down an opportunity to play in a high school all-star game because he felt like he had nothing to prove. Christmas has the ability to play defensive-end in this 3-4 based scheme because of his incredible burst, and blend of power. I think his emergence will allow Eddie Goldman to play a lot more on the interior than he was able to last season. Look for Christmas to get significant playing time this season on the line, especially with the constant rotation of linemen.
NFL Comparison: Corey Liuget- Chargers
Derrick Nnadi- This was a signing day signee that surely got some Seminole fans jumping for joy. Nnadi is a very good defensive tackle with a quick first step and impressive hand use for a young lineman. He had a good week of practice at the Army All-American game and looks to carry over that momentum to FSU’s camp. With Timmy Jernigan, Demonte Mcallister and Jaccobi McDaniel departing, the Seminole coaching staff will look for depth behind the projected starters. Nose Tackle is still up for grabs, but beating out Nile Lawrence-Stample would be a tall task to ask of Nnadi. However, with the heavy rotation of lineman, we could see a good amount of this freshman in the upcoming season.
NFL Comparison: Marcell Dareus- Bills
Florida State will once again field a defense that will rank in the top-5 nationally; so getting playing time is a real premium with this group. I expect all three linebackers that are being brought in (Kain Daub, Delvin Purifoy, and Jacob Pugh) to contribute in some way, namely special teams. There are a couple of defenders that could be very good after a redshirt year to develop and adjust to the higher level of competition. It should be fun to watch these young guns emerge and develop in to future stars as the season and their careers progress.
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