No. 11. Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
Previous ranking: Not ranked.
Making the case for Jones: At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Jones has above average speed and quickness, and he’s one of the best athletes on Florida State’s roster. He is the Noles’ leading returning tackler and started all 14 games at weakside linebacker last year. This offseason, he moved to middle linebacker under first-year coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. He’s a candidate for the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s top linebacker, and he is also on the watch lists for the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy. Jones finished last season with 95 tackles, which ranked seventh in the ACC. He accounted for FSU’s only defensive touchdown of the season in a road win at South Florida. Jones continues to improve, as he had more tackles last fall (95) than he had in 27 career games in 2009-2010 (74). This should be the highlight season for the senior.
No. 12 James Gayle, DE, Virginia Tech