Florida State Seminoles: Rick Leonard

FSU room to improve: Defensive line

February, 13, 2014
Feb 13
11:00
AM ET
The celebration of a BCS championship victory is in the rearview mirror for Florida State, and Jimbo Fisher, Jameis Winston and Co. have already turned their attention toward adding another trophy in 2014. So as Florida State preps for spring practice, we’re digging into the biggest questions, position battles and storylines facing the defending national champs.

This week, we’ll look at the five position groups with the biggest question marks looming in advance of spring practice.

Previously, we reviewed the running backs, linebackers and wide receivers.

Next up: Defensive line

Projected starters: Mario Edwards Jr. (Jr.), Eddie Goldman (Jr.), Nile Lawrence-Stample (RSJr.)

[+] EnlargeMario Edwards
Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY SportsFSU's Mario Edwards Jr. has been a solid player, but he needs to take the next step and become a star.
Edwards and Goldman arrived in the Class of 2012 as two of the top-10 recruits in the nation, and they’ve both managed to make their marks already at Florida State. But while both have been solid performers thus far, 2014 marks a turning point when Goldman and Edwards need to take the next step forward and blossom into stars. The loss of Timmy Jernigan on the line is a major blow, and while Lawrence-Stample showed promise in 2013 and figures to be the next man up, a big chunk of Jernigan’s lost production will need to be filled by Edwards and Goldman this season.

Strength in numbers: Desmond Hollin (Sr.), Derrick Mitchell (RSJr.), Chris Casher (RSSo.), DeMarcus Walker (So.), Justin Shanks (RSSo.), Keith Bryant (RSFr.)

Florida State sent five defensive linemen to the NFL in 2013 and projects to add a couple more in this year’s draft, and while that’s an impressive array of talent coming from one place, it’s also sapped some of the depth at the position. But if there’s not a ton of veteran experience here, there’s still ample talent. Casher showed signs of a bright future in a limited role in 2013, finishing with 25 tackles (5 for a loss) and two sacks. Walker started two games as a true freshman. Bryant is well regarded by the coaching staff and could push for regular playing time in the middle of the line, too.

New on the scene: Demarcus Christmas (Fr.), Adam Torres (Fr.), Lorenzo Featherston (Fr.), Fredrick Jones (Fr.), Rick Leonard (Fr.), Derrick Nnadi (Fr.), Arthur Williams (Fr.)

The 2014 signing class was a boon for Florida State on both sides of the line of scrimmage. On the D line, FSU added seven new players, and there’s a legitimate possibility at least three or four could contribute immediately. That group is led by Christmas, who Fisher raved about, saying, “if he would’ve gone to more camps, he would be been the No. 1 or 2 player in the whole country.” Featherston and Nnadi figure to be in the mix when fall camp opens, too.

What to watch: While finding a replacement for Jernigan in the middle remains a top priority, FSU also will be looking to fill the hybrid role Christian Jones played throughout 2013, with Casher perhaps the top lineman in the mix. Edwards struggled with his weight throughout his first two years at Florida State, and now that he’s being looked at as a veteran leader on the D, it will be interesting to see how prepared he is this spring. Goldman and Lawrence-Stample both need to take a big step forward this spring, too, but FSU may benefit the most from the continued development of reserves like Walker, Shanks and Bryant. If they don’t earn the coaches’ attention now, there’s a massive group of freshmen on the way this summer who could steal plenty of playing time.

Top ACC recruiting rivalries 

October, 1, 2013
10/01/13
8:00
AM ET


Rivalries extend past the field in college football. The bad blood and feud seeps into the fans, the coaching staffs and especially in the high schools when it comes to top recruits. Often the teams duking it out on Saturdays were going head-to-head in February for several of the players on the field.

The ACC might not be on the same level as the SEC when it comes to recruiting rivalries, but the conference has its fair share, including one of the nation’s most intense.

ACC recruiting storylines: Aug. 15 

August, 15, 2013
8/15/13
1:00
PM ET
This is the quietest time of a recruiting season that is active for nearly all but a few weeks of the year. Both high school and college programs are in the midst of a preseason practice, so recruiting takes a back seat. That is not to say recruiting still isn’t in the air, as even during the slow periods there is always news going on.

FSU beats division rival for Leonard

The future of the ACC Atlantic Division was not decided Aug. 13, but it is always nice to beat not just a conference rival, but a division rival for a recruit. Three-star Rick Leonard (Middletown, Md./Middletown), the No. 34 defensive end nationally, chose Florida State over Clemson earlier this week. Leonard adds to an impressive defensive line haul for the Seminoles, who also have two ESPN 300 linemen committed. On the other hand, Clemson doesn't have any committed defensive ends.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ACC class rankings analysis 

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
2:00
PM ET
video
Florida State, the ACC's reigning champion, now owns the No. 2-ranked recruiting class in the country for the 2014 cycle, as Alabama has passed up the Seminoles. Miami, too, is in the top five giving the ACC some strong classes to go with the usual dominance of the SEC. There is a noticeable drop off beyond that, though. Clemson is next at No. 11, Virginia at No. 17 and North Carolina at No. 22.

Trending up: Mike London's Cavaliers have put together a tremendous class already. Their top two commitments, Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith) and Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside), are both five-star caliber and in-state talents. Keeping highly rated guys home is important for any program, and London and Co. were able to do that. But last week, they reached across the country and snagged ESPN 300 ATH Jeff Farrar (Upland, Calif./Upland) out of California. That gives Virginia four ESPN 300 commitments, but at only 11 commitments, they'll need to fill out the rest of their class in the coming months. It's also worth noting that North Carolina picked up a verbal from three-star wide receiver Josh Cabrera (Jacksonville, N.C./Northside).

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Tennessee having tremendous success in the junior college ranks is a good thing for the Volunteers, Michigan's attempt to crack Ohio State’s Glenville pipeline, and why Florida State landing a player in Maryland is bad news for the rest of the ACC.

Tennessee rebuilds with juco players


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Leonard adds to FSU's sizable DL class 

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
3:24
PM ET
It took a little longer than expected, but Rick Leonard (Middletown, Md./Middletown) finally decided to commit to Florida State.

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound defensive end had narrowed his list down to Clemson and Florida State following his camp sessions at each school in July. He originally was going to decide a week or two later, but it was a more difficult choice than he anticipated.

Given his size, it again signals a clear preference in Florida State's defensive line recruiting to target bigger prospects on the edge. And with his frame, it won't be hard for Leonard to put on a lot of weight.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Weekend wrap: ACC 

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
9:32
AM ET
As fall camps have begun across the Atlantic Coast Conference, most coaches and teams are focused on getting ready for their season openers.

Recruiting, though slow, is still going on. There are loose ends to tie up seemingly always, so multitasking is essential right now.

The Miami Hurricanes, with their close proximity to their recruiting base in South Florida, had the most going on over the weekend with transfers, commitments and visitors on campus.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ACC class rankings analysis 

August, 7, 2013
8/07/13
1:00
PM ET
The SEC has dominated the recruiting rankings for much of the past decade, but the nation’s top conference is chasing the ACC right now. The ACC, which has received its share of criticism the last few years, has the nation’s top class and another team in the top five of the rankings. Florida State remains No. 1 and Miami is No. 4, which finally might validate each fan base’s claim that the Noles and Canes are “back.”

Trending up: The Hurricanes jumped a spot from No. 5 to No. 4 after flipping south Florida product Brandon Powell, who was previously committed to Tennessee. Powell, an ESPN 300 athlete, inched Miami closer to a top-three ranking as the Vols sit just one spot ahead of Miami. Last week, Miami landed No. 13 defensive end Trent Harris, the third highest-rated recruit in Miami’s class. Harris joins local defensive end product Chad Thomas, another ESPN 300 member who committed to Miami in late July. In all, the Canes now have 11 ESPN 300 commitments and 13 four-star pledges.



To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Summer recruit wrap: Florida State 

July, 23, 2013
7/23/13
10:00
AM ET


NoleNation looks at 10 themes of Florida State's 2014 recruiting class to date:


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

FSU camp notes: All eyes on Leonard 

July, 17, 2013
7/17/13
6:47
PM ET
Florida State began its second summer recruit camp Wednesday. Here are a few items that stood out on the first day.

Leonard works with Sunseri

Rick Leonard (Middletown, Md./Middletown) has emerged as one of the top prospects at defensive end on Florida State's board. At 6-foot-6, his length and wingspan would be a welcome addition.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

FSU recruiting: Positions of need 

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
9:00
AM ET
NoleNation takes a quick look at five positions of need in this 2014 recruiting class.

Offensive tackle

Florida State enters this 2013 with only one certain starter at offensive tackle. Cam Erving, the starting left tackle, is a redshirt junior and could very well jump to the NFL draft after this season, given his high projections. Bobby Hart has played a lot in his first two seasons and could end up being the right tackle. From the Class of 2013, just Wilson Bell is capable of playing tackle, but could just as well end up on the interior depending on how things shake out.

Commitments: Ethan Frith (Summit, Miss./North Pike)

Top targets: Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara), Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central)


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

College Football Minute: Sept. 15
We've got three big questions heading into Week 4, Florida survives at home and doesn't head-to-head mean anything? It's all ahead in your College Football Minute.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video