- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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Throughout the summer, Nole Nation will be counting down the 40 players we're projecting to make the biggest impact on the Seminoles' 2013 season, taking into consideration everything from experience to potential to their spot on the current depth chart.
Next up: No. 28 Chris Casher
What he's done: It's been two years since Casher took a meaningful snap on the football field. His senior season in high school was derailed by eligibility issues after transferring schools, and a knee injury ended his 2012 campaign at FSU after just a few reps. That's meant a good deal of rust for the talented defensive end, but he was healthy throughout spring practice and managed to show some flashes of potential under new position coach Sal Sunseri.
Where he's at: There's no doubting Casher's talent, and at 6-foot-4, 248 pounds, he's got a good blend of speed and strength. But corralling all that talent into a productive season is going to be a challenge thanks to all the downtime the past two years. Casher was solid this spring, and he benefitted from new DC Jeremy Pruitt's system that asked him to drop into coverage more and occasionally work as a stand-up rusher in a 3-4 set. Those are all things that complement Casher's skill set and allowed him to make a strong enough impression that playing time seems likely this fall. Still, he's behind Mario Edwards Jr., Dan Hicks and Giorgio Newberry at defensive end, and he'll face a challenge from two new freshmen this fall.
What's to come: Pruitt's scheme fits Casher perfectly, and that should work to his advantage this fall. Edwards appears secure in a job on one side of the line, and Hicks had a strong enough spring to vault to the top of the class on the other. But Casher's athleticism might make him a slightly better fit long-term, and the slow development of Newberry opens the door to an expanded role. Still, simply getting back on the field and contributing in any way in 2013 would be a big step forward for Casher. At a minimum, he'll see action as a reserve end and on special teams, and his future remains bright.
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