Florida State Football: Top 50 Players for 2014 (#30-26)
This is the fifth 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 4 inches, 193 pounds
2013 Season: 2 catches, 31 yards
Entering 2014 Jones is as close as Florida State has to a player that can replace Kelvin Benjamin. Jones is a tall athletic receiver and he consistently worked with the first team throughout spring practice. Jones lacks the physical build that made Benjamin a match-up nightmare, but his height will still cause problems for opposing defenses. If he can turn his size and raw athleticism into consistent play on the field Jones will be among the favorites to start alongside Rashad Green.
Ranking: Brandon (31), Ryan (32), Ariya (29)
Ht/Wt: 6 feet 1 inch, 230 pounds
2013 season: 8 carries, 34 yards, 1 touchdown
Originally recruited as a linebacker, Stevenson made the switch to offense early last season. He is the only scholarship full back on the roster and will replace Chad Abram at the position. In Jimbo Fisher’s offense the full back serves mainly as a check down on passing plays and a lead blocker on running plays. This does not allow for many carries, but still makes full back valuable position in the offense. Stevenson has the ability to make plays a runner and receiver and carries over the physical attitude of a linebacker to the offense.
Ranking: Brandon (33), Ryan (27), Ariya (28)
Ht/Wt: 6 feet 3 inches, 273 pounds
2013 season: 18 tackles, 2 tackles for loss,1 sack, 3 quarterback hurries
Walker’s career at FSU began with a bang when he started week one at Pittsburgh in place of the injured Mario Edwards Jr. Walker also earned the starting nod against Bethune-Cookman and Boston College before seeing his role minimized following the near loss at Boston College. Walker is a pass rushing specialist and he uses his speed to beat opposing lineman. He spent time working as an outside linebacker during spring which allows him to pin his ears back rush the quarterback. In FSU’s defensive system the ends are charged with holding gaps instead of rushing the quarterback limiting the value of a pass-rush specialist like Walker.
Ranking: Brandon (25), Ryan (29), Ariya (24)
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
Ht/Wt: 5 feet 10 inches, 194 pounds
2013 season: Academically ineligible
Injuries and academics have kept Pender off the field for the last two seasons, but he looks poised to finally contribute in year three. A former 4-star recruit Pender is a dynamic player out of the backfield due to his speed. During spring practice he worked as the number two back behind Karlos Williams and he should have a major impact in 2014. Pender’s biggest asset is his speed, but he also possesses the size and strength to run through would be tacklers.
Ranking: Brandon (24), Ryan (34), Ariya (30)
Year: Redshirt Junior
Ht/Ht: 6 feet 1 inch, 319 pounds
2013 season: 15 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss
Lawrence-Stample is FSU’s top returning defensive tackle. He served as the primary back-up for all-American Timmy Jernigan last season and is the favorite to replace Jernigan as the starting nose tackle in 2014. Lawrence-Stample’s size allows him to take on multiple blockers in the middle of the line, the main duty of the nose tackle in Florida State’s system. Lawrence-Stample will be pushed by young players Keith Bryant and Demarcus Christmas, but he will enter fall camp number one on the depth chart.
Ranking: Brandon (21), Ryan (14), Ariya (49)
Top 50 Players:
By: Brandon O’Connor