- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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Throughout the summer, NoleNation will be counting down the 40 players we're projecting to make the biggest impact on the Seminoles' 2013 season, taking into consideration everything from experience to potential to their spot on the current depth chart.
Next up: No. 34 Reggie Northrup
What he's done: Northrup's freshman season offered only a brief glimpse at his potential, but it nevertheless made an impact. He had just 10 tackles, but in a rare bit of extended playing time in the second half of FSU's win over Boston College, Northrup put on a clinic. In only a handful of series, Northrup tallied six tackles, including four solo tackles and one for a loss. The performance largely came against Boston College's second team, and the Seminoles were well ahead, but Northrup's prolific outing turned heads and moved him to the top of a deep well of inexperienced linebackers.
Where he's at: Northrup saw plenty of action last season on special teams and garnered praise as one of FSU's hardest hitters, but he's in a position in 2013 to expand on that role by refining his skill set. Even during his brilliant outing against Boston College, Northrup was hardly putting on a clinic for well-coached technique. Instead, he's spent this spring developing a better understanding of his role rather than relying on his immense natural ability. He'll open fall camp as the No. 2 weakside linebacker, and he'll get the chance to learn behind a potential NFL first-rounder in Christian Jones.
What's to come: As mentioned in discussions of Terrance Smith, Freddie Stevenson and Markuss Eligwe, there are plenty of young, inexperienced talent at linebacker for FSU, but there are relatively few snaps to be shared by them in 2013. Jones and Telvin Smith are the veterans, and they'll be on the field a lot. The strongside linebacker position faces an increasingly diminished role in FSU's defense. That means as many as nine reserve linebackers will be fighting for what's left. Northrup isn't guaranteed a lion's share of those scraps, but for now he appears to be in the best position to win them. And if he can add some more substantive experience in 2013, he could be amassing games similar to that Boston College performance with regularity in 2014.
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