Manuel: Freshmen on D-line impress

August, 7, 2012
8/07/12
2:13
PM ET
The rain washed out Florida State's first practice of the fall, but EJ Manuel didn't need to see the Seminoles' freshmen defensive linemen in action to be impressed.

"They're huge," Manuel said.

Five-star recruits Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards Jr., along with 340-pound tackle Justin Shanks and 6-foot-4 end Chris Casher, hardly look the part of freshmen.

Manuel said Casher looks like a senior already, while Goldman stunned his teammates with his skill set during seven-on-seven drills this summer.

"I've heard Goldman probably has the quickest step out of all the D-linemen we have," Manuel said.

The senior quarterback isn't revealing his sources, but he assures they're reliable, noting that the evaluation came from another defensive lineman.

It's an impressive amount of advanced billing for a group that still figures to have to fight for playing time, given Florida State's veteran line that includes at least six potential NFL draft picks already.

Still, Manuel has seen enough of the freshmen already to predict they'll find their niche this season, rotating regularly with the likes of Everett Dawkins, Anthony McCloud and Timmy Jernigan.

"Every ranking they got, they're definitely worthy of that," Manuel said. "Obviously here is a different ballgame but they'll be just fine here."

Kicking compliments around: Manuel wasn't the only senior doling out compliments to his freshman teammates.

Kicker Dustin Hopkins raved about how well Roberto Aguayo has transitioned to the college game during his first few days as a member of the Seminoles.

"He's better than I was coming in my freshman year," Hopkins said.

Hopkins said adjusting to kicking off flat ground was a major hurdle for him moving from high school to college, but Aguayo already appears perfectly at ease.

Of course, those skills still have plenty of time to be refined. Aguayo figured to grayshirt this season, but he was given a scholarship after Greg Reid was dismissed last week and now will spend the season as Hopkins' backup.

"We've got a whole camp to go through, and I'm sure he's going to grow even more," Hopkins said. "But he's impressed me thus far. He's really good."

Familiar voice gone: There was a healthy dose of jawing during the handful of minutes the Seminoles were able to spend on the practice field Monday, but one voice noticeably absent was Reid's.

The senior cornerback, who was dismissed following a violation of team rules last week, had long been a vocal leader during practice, but the Seminoles managed to find an suitable replacement quickly.

Linebacker Telvin Smith, who, like Reid, played high school at Lowndes Co. (Ga.), has already taken up the mantle of the high-energy voice of the defense, according to Manuel.

"He's pretty much cut from the same cloth (as Reid)," Manuel said. "Telvin pretty much picked up right where Greg would take up. They're both no-nonsense, big practice guys. They love the game of football and they respect it. All those guys from Lowndes love football, but Telvin pretty much took that weight up from Day 1, that first meeting Sunday."

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