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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Seminoles restocking linebacker corps

By Corey Dowlar

After consecutive finishes inside the top five in total defense, it's hard to really point out major weaknesses on Florida State's defense the last two seasons. In 2011 and 2012, the Seminoles held opponents to 15 points or less.

But upon closer examination, if there were some gripes, they probably revolved around the linebacker position.

Well, Jimbo Fisher and Co. are on a mission to change that. And it looks like they're on the right track.

For the 2013 recruiting class, new linebackers coach Charles Kelly was afforded the opportunity to coach a slew of new, talented players headlined by five-star outside backer Matthew Thomas. At 6-foot-3, his combination of length, speed and athleticism speaks for itself.

So too does his No. 6-prospect ranking in the entire country, according to ESPN. But, again, there's more to the group than "Big Six."

Also on the outside, Tyrell Lyons, Ro'Derrick Hoskins and Freddie Stevenson, all four-star prospects, signed with Florida State. Stevenson, of course, is already on campus as an early enrollee going through spring practice.

But what about on the inside?

The 2013 haul also filled a need there, too. ESPN 300 linebacker E.J. Levenberry signed his national letter of intent to Florida State despite a late charge by Tennessee and their new staff led by Butch Jones.

However, 2014's answer to that might be the best yet.

ESPN Watch List member Kain Daub gave Florida State his verbal commitment on Saturday. And he's got the potential to be one of the top players in the country regardless of position when the rankings come out.

Assuming most of the signees live up to their billing and Daub makes it to campus along with some other targets FSU is pursuing, defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and Kelly will have themselves some options and talent at linebacker.

And then, maybe the criticism of the position from fans and analysts will migrate elsewhere.