- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
During the final 10 weeks before the season kicks off, NoleNation will march through the depth chart to analyze Florida State's top 50 contributors for the 2012 season. From Austin Barron to Vince Williams, we'll review each player's career, evaluate his role in 2012 and project what might be in store down the road.
Left Tackle, Sophomore, 6-foot-5, 304 pounds
Looking back: Cameron Erving boasted size and strength coming out of high school that probably should have earned him a little more attention. The 98 tackles he recorded as a senior at Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.) might have encouraged some hype, too. Instead, Erving signed with Florida State as a relatively unheralded prospect, the No. 81 overall defensive tackle according to ESPN's rankings. It's safe to say he's earning a bit more attention these days. A back injury cut short Erving's true freshman season, but as a redshirt in 2011 he managed 20 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss, in a backup role on the defensive line. But the real hype started this spring, when Erving moved over to offense and immediately earned the starting left tackle job.
Right now: A case can be made that no player will be more crucial to Florida State's success this season than Erving. After a year of struggles on the offensive line and the loss of left tackle Zebrie Sanders to the NFL, line coach Rick Trickett decided to pluck Erving from the defensive depth chart and insert him as the starting left tackle during spring practice. It didn't take long for people to wonder why the move hadn't happened sooner. Erving wowed coaches with his athleticism and brute strength, hanging on to the starting job throughout the spring, and he'll enter camp as the odds-on favorite to win the job. Spring success isn't always a good indicator of a big season to come, but Erving was tested against one of the best pass rushers in the ACC in Brandon Jenkins, and he passed the test with flying colors. His long arms, impressive strength and innate understanding of how pass rushers operate could pave the way for a big season for Erving -- which in turn could pave the way for a big season from the Florida State offense.
Looking ahead: How do you predict the future for a player who has never played a game on the offensive line, but is already being discussed as a potential NFL prospect at left tackle? The spring could have been a fluke, and Erving could be quickly overmatched in ACC competition. Or the spring might have simply hinted at what's to come -- and as the sophomore becomes more comfortable in his new role, he could eventually evolve into a dominant force. At this point, the best bet may be cautious optimism, assuming that Erving can at least help to provide one answer on a line still riddled with question marks. Of course, if he looks good in his first few weeks of the season, it might become tough to stifle all that enthusiasm.
During the final 10 weeks before the season kicks off, NoleNation will march through the depth chart to analyze Florida State's top 50 contributors for the 2012 season.