This is the seventh article in the series outlining Florida State’s top 50 players for the upcoming 2014 season. The list is a compilation of rankings from Ryan Kelly (V89 Sports), Ariya Massoudi (V89 Sports), and myself.
Ht/Wt: 6 feet 1 inch, 217 pounds
2013 season: 46 tackles, 2 tackles for loss
Northrup will enter fall camp as the favorite to win the starting middle linebacker job. He is undersized at just over 6 feet, but he makes up for it with speed and instincts. Northrup has sideline to sideline speed, making him a perfect fit in Florida State’s 3-4 defense. He has a nose for the ball and always seems to be at the right place at the right time to make the play. For the last two seasons Northrup has asserted himself as a force on FSU’s second-team defense. In year three he looks poised to finally earn a starting job.
Ranking: Brandon (25), Ryan (17), Ariya (26)
Ht/Wt: 6 feet 4 inches, 318 pounds
2013 season: Started all 14 games at right tackle
Hart is a physical blocker and brings a lot of experience to the offensive line. He has 23 career starts at right tackle, but his hold on the positions is tenuous. Hart has been in and out of the doghouse his entire career and will face stiff competition this fall. JUCO transfer Chad Mavety is expected to compete for the right tackle position and Josue Matias worked at tackle during the spring. Hart played well at times last season, but he was dominated in the national championship game. Hart will enter fall camp atop the depth chart. He will need to take the next step in his development to hold onto the job though.
Ranking: Brandon (20), Ryan (26), Ariya (22)
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
Ht/Wt: 6 feet 4 inches, 243 pounds
2013 season: 25 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks
Casher is a versatile player that can contribute to the defense in multiple ways. He has the ability to put his hand in the dirt and play defensive end or move outside and play linebacker. Casher is also one of the best pure pass rushers on the team. He is strong enough to shed blockers and his speed allows him to beat offensive lineman to point of attack. Casher should be a key member of Florida State’s defensive front in 2014.
Ranking: Brandon (22), Ryan (8), Ariya (21)
Year: Redshirt Senior
Ht/Wt: 5 feet 11 inches, 205 pounds
2013 season: 8 tackles, 7 interception (in three games)
Hunter missed the last 11 games in 2013 after suffering a season ending neck injury. There were initially questions about his ability to return from the injury, but Hunter was back on the field in time for spring practice. He looks poised to reclaim the starting job he held before his injury. A physical player, Hunter is also excellent in coverage. If he returns fully healthy Hunter will be a key members of FSU’s dominant secondary.
Ranking: Brandon (15), Ryan (24), Ariya (11)
Ht/Wt: 5 feet 7 inches, 184 pounds
2013 season: 5 catches, 89 yards; 3 carries, 110 yards, 2 TDs; 17 returns, 619 yards (36.4 avg.), 2 TDs
Whitfield may be listed as a wide receiver, but he contributes in multiple ways. One of the fastest players in the country he has a chance to break free every time he touches the ball. Auburn learned the hard way when Whitfield returned a fourth quarter kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. He is very raw as a receiver, but even as a freshman coaches were forced to find ways to get him the ball. He can contribute as a runner out the back field, a slot receiver, and most notably as a kick returner. His game changing ability should earn him a larger role in 2014.
Ranking: Brandon (16), Ryan (13), Ariya (14)
Top 50 Players:
By: Brandon O’Connor