Monday, September 3, 2012
Injury could open door for Edwards
By David M. Hale
On Monday afternoon, Jimbo Fisher praised the depth of talent he had at defensive end, suggesting there simply wouldn't be playing time for freshmen Mario Edwards Jr. and Chris Casher, two of the nation's top recruits.
By Monday night, however, things had changed.
All-ACC defensive end Brandon Jenkins will miss the season with a foot injury, and while the Seminoles are well stocked at the position to overcome the loss, Fisher might now need to reconsider whether he'll redshirt both of his freshmen.
With Jenkins sidelined, senior Cornellius Carradine will step into the starting job. Carradine led all FSU defenders with nine tackles against Murray State, including two for a loss. Carradine recorded 5.5 sacks last season, his first at Florida State after transferring from Butler Community College.
Redshirt freshman Giorgio Newberry and senior Toshmon Stevens both saw extensive playing time against Murray State on Saturday, and Fisher could consider that enough depth to move forward.
But while the decision to redshirt Edwards seemed clear-cut just a day earlier, Jenkins' injury clearly complicates matters.
Edwards, the son of former FSU cornerback and current director of player development Mario Edwards Sr., was a consensus five-star recruit and the No. 1 player in the ESPN 150 last year.
At nearly 300 pounds, however, he's heavy for the defensive end position, and Fisher said he hoped a redshirt season would allow Edwards time to "mature and get his weight down a little bit."
Edwards was noticeably absent from Florida State's sideline for Saturday's opener, with Fisher saying the freshman chose not to dress for the game. Fisher said players being redshirted have that option, but Edwards was the only member of FSU's freshman class not on the sideline against Murray State.
While there are questions surrounding Edwards' development and concerns about his weight, Fisher said the decision to redshirt him was not an indictment of his ability.
"What we saw on film and what we thought he was, we think he's exactly that right now," Fisher said. "He could be even more. He's actually stronger and more powerful than I even realized."
But with Jenkins, Carradine and Bjoern Werner ahead of him on the depth chart, Fisher said there simply wouldn't be playing time for Edwards. Now with Jenkins out for the year, the situation is drastically different.