2012 recap: Once again, Florida State's defense was among the best in the country, and once again the success started with the pass-rushers up front. Even after Brandon Jenkins went down in the opener with a foot injury, FSU's dynamic pass rush exceeded expectations, with Cornellius Carradine stepping up to provide 80 tackles and 11 sacks before a season-ending injury of his own, while Bjoern Werner established himself as one of the country's best players, recording 13 sacks, 18 TFLs and 8 pass breakups. Mario Edwards Jr. came on late to showcase his skill set, too, finishing with 17 tackles and 1.5 sacks despite limited playing time.
Departures: Few teams in the nation will lose more talent at one position that FSU does at defensive end. Had injuries not sidetracked Carradine and Jenkins -- hurting their draft prospects in the process -- it's possible the Seminoles would've produced three first-round picks just from the defensive end spot alone. As it is, Werner could be the school's highest drafted player in history. Werner, Jenkins and Carradine combined for 25 sacks in 2012 and 62.5 in their careers.
Arrivals: The Seminoles lost virtually all their experienced defensive ends, but they'll bring in a fresh crop of talent for 2013. Chris Casher played in just one game last season before an injury ended his season, but his combination of size and speed make him a dangerous weapon. Demarcus Walker was one of FSU's top recruits, and he's enrolled early this spring. Fellow freshman Davarez Bryant and juco transfer Desmond Hollin will also compete for playing time.
Biggest question mark:Giorgio Newberry certainly looks the part of a star in the making. At 6-foot-6 and nearly 280 pounds, he's got the size to match Carradine's performance and the agility to come off the edge with the same ferocity as Jenkins. But given the chance to showcase his skills on game day in 2012, Newberry hardly impressed. He opened the season as the No. 4 defensive end, and despite the two key injuries at the position, he ended the season in the same place. The talent is there for him to take a big step forward in 2013, and given the lack of experience at the position, it would be a boon to FSU if he did. The early returns last season simply weren't that encouraging.
Breakout star: There's no question all eyes will be focused on Edwards in 2013. The nation's No. 1 overall recruit in the 2012 class, Edwards was set to redshirt last year. That changed quickly with Jenkins' injury, and by year's end, Edwards was in the starting lineup. He's still raw, but he showed why scouts and coaches were so excited about his future, with his dynamic combination of size and athleticism making an instant impact. He's got the potential to become one of the nation's top pass-rushers right away -- and given the numbers at defensive end for FSU this year, he'll need to be.