- 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. 8 Cameron Erving
What he's done: After two years at defensive tackle, Erving jumped to the other side of the line in 2012, and it was a fortuitous move for Florida State. While the 6-foot-6, 310-pound tackle adjusted to some growing pains, he made consistent progress throughout the season. After wowing coaching and players in spring practice, he upped his game each week throughout the season -- going from inconsistent newcomer early on to stalwart blocker by season's end. Erving graded out at 73.6 percent over his final six games of the regular season. His impact on the overall success of the line is hard to overstate. FSU trimmed nearly 1.5 sacks per game from 2011 and upped its rushing total by 94 yards per game. Most importantly, Erving helped keep QB EJ Manuel healthy and in the lineup all season.
Where he's at: A year ago, there were high hopes for Erving, but he was clearly a wild card. FSU sent out a starting offensive line that had just 16 starts among them -- 14 of which belonged to one player, Bryan Stork. This year, things are completely different. FSU has among the most experienced groups in the country, and Erving is clearly at the forefront -- both in terms of talent and responsibility. He'll be protecting the blind side of a freshman QB, and given the hopes pinned on Jameis Winston's future, that's as significant a task as any player on the roster will be undertake in 2013.
What's to come: Erving's consistent progress throughout the season last year helped create even loftier expectations for 2013. He now has a year of experience under his belt, a veteran group around him, and many are projecting he could blossom into a potential NFL first-round pick by year's end. That may still be a bit of optimistic thinking given Erving's limited workload thus far, but it's certainly not a point out of reach. He's grown by leaps and bounds, and he's eager to continue that trajectory. With a first-year starter at QB and a new starter on the opposite end of the line, the pressure will be on Erving from the outset this season, but if he lives up to expectations, the rewards should be great.