Fisher: Edwards' redshirt an obvious choice

September, 3, 2012
9/03/12
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Mario Edwards Jr. might have been the No. 1 recruit in the nation a year ago, but Jimbo Fisher said the freshman is No. 5 on Florida State's defensive end depth chart, which means he won't get any playing time in 2012.

Fisher said the lack of available reps behind incumbents Bjoern Werner, Brandon Jenkins and Cornellius Carradine led the coaching staff to decide to redshirt Edwards despite a strong performance during fall camp.

[+] EnlargeMario Edwards
Kevin Jairaj/US PresswireMario Edwards Jr., a top recruit in the 2012 class, will redshirt as a freshman at Florida State.
"You've got three guys that are possible first- or second-round draft pick guys," Fisher said of his depth chart at the position. "To waste a year on a guy for five, six, seven plays a game makes no sense. We can play him five, six or seven plays, but how much do you gain? There's a lot more to lose in our opinion."

Edwards is one of 10 FSU freshmen expected to redshirt this season, but he was the only one not dressed for Florida State's opener against Murray State on Saturday.

Fisher said it was Edwards' decision not to dress, and that each redshirt player is given the choice before each game. Fisher said players might opt not to dress based on family members attending the game or other issues, but he did not offer any indication as to why Edwards, who along with all FSU freshmen is not made available to the media, chose against dressing for the first game of his college career.

"You don't have to dress. We'll have guys that will and guys that won't," Fisher said. "There was a situation last week, and [Edwards] will probably dress this week. But I give every guy their choice on that."

Edwards is the son of former FSU cornerback Mario Edwards Sr., who currently works for the university as a player development coordinator -- an administrative position that works closely with the coaching staff.

While the redshirt for Edwards comes as somewhat of a surprise given the defensive end's hype on the recruiting circuit, Fisher said the decision isn't indicative of any shortcomings Edwards displayed on the field.

"I'm not one bit disappointed," Fisher said. "What we saw on film and what we thought he was, we think he's exactly that right now. He could be even more. He's actually stronger and more powerful than I even realized."

Still, Edwards checked in at nearly 300 pounds upon arrival this summer, and Fisher said he hopes the redshirt season will provide the freshman with an opportunity to shed a few pounds while getting a better grasp on the playbook.

Fisher said Edwards was not upset by the decision, saying the two "had a good conversation" about the redshirt.

In addition to Edwards, Fisher said fellow defensive end Chris Casher, defensive tackle Justin Shanks, defensive back Colin Blake, linebacker Markuss Eligwe and receiver Marvin Bracy are all expected to redshirt as well.

Bracy has been limited since the spring with a nagging hamstring injury, and Fisher said there's still a chance he could work his way into a smaller role on offense this year, assuming the injury is fully healed now.

"If his hamstring will hold up, we may try to give him four or five things -- the return game and teach him four or five things on offense to get real good at and judge that as we go," Fisher said. "But we've got to do that hopefully this week. I'm anxious to see where he's at -- full, full speed."

Quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Sean Maguire and kicker Roberto Aguayo will also redshirt, along with freshman running back Mario Pender, who will miss the season with a groin injury, and senior defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel, who is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered last season.

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