- 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. 11 Terrence Brooks
What he's done: After two years as a role player, Brooks finally stepped into a starting job in 2012, and his season was largely an overwhelming success. Brooks led all Florida State defensive backs with 52 tackles, and he and Tyler Hunter are the only two returning DBs to record multiple interceptions last season. There were a few blips on the radar, most notably against Clemson, when Brooks was burned by DeAndre Hopkins for a long TD and whiffed on a potential interception late in the game that also ended with a Tigers touchdown. But rather than lament the mistakes, Brooks clearly learned from them, with his game -- and FSU's secondary -- improving as the season progressed.
Where he's at: The biggest change from a year ago for Brooks is his stature on the D. Last season, he was just one year into his new role at safety after switching from corner, and while he'd logged some experience in dime sets, the starting role was a massive expansion of responsibility. This season, those jobs are all old hat, and Florida State is counting on Brooks to be able to be a rock at safety following Lamarcus Joyner's move back to corner. With Karlos Williams stepping in to replace Joyner, Brooks figures to be freed up to work more in coverage in 2013, but his biggest job is simply to ensure FSU's secondary, which ranked as the top unit in the nation a year ago, doesn't miss a beat in spite of the shake-up in personnel.
What's to come: Because FSU's secondary is littered with big names, from veterans like Joyner and the departed Xavier Rhodes to highly touted younger players like Williams and Ronald Darby, Brooks often gets overlooked, but 2013 sets up nicely for him to blossom into one of the top safeties in the conference. He's a hard hitter, a hard worker and a versatile athlete -- and now he'll have a bigger share of the spotlight. While the experience of 2012 should be something he builds on, his success this season will be as much about the confidence he built as it is an understanding of his role. Add in the more aggressive scheme implemented by new DC Jeremy Pruitt -- a scheme Brooks has raved about all offseason -- and there's a strong possibility Brooks posts career highs across the board and finishes the year as an All-ACC defender.