Florida State Seminoles: tyrell lyons

FSU depth chart breakdown: Defense

January, 31, 2014
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Last week, we previewed Florida State’s offensive depth chart for the spring. This week, we’ll dig into the defense.

The biggest question might be how similar the 2014 defensive scheme will look to 2013. Yes, promoting Charles Kelly certainly offers stability, but he’s also likely to want to put his own stamp on the unit rather than offering a shot-for-shot remake of Jeremy Pruitt’s system. With some significant transition in personnel and some major losses of talent, there’s room to tinker this spring. Here’s what we’ll be watching:

Defensive line

[+] EnlargeNick Marshall
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsExpect Mario Edwards to have a bigger hand in things this fall on the Florida State defensive line.
Projected starters: Mario Edwards Jr. (Jr.), Nile Lawrence-Stample (RSJr.), Eddie Goldman (Jr.)
Backups: Desmond Hollin (Sr.), Chris Casher (RSSo.), DeMarcus Walker (So.), Derrick Mitchell (RSJr.), Keith Bryant (RSFr.), Justin Shanks (RSSo.)

Storylines: Replacing Timmy Jernigan is an impossible task, but expect plenty of hype for Lawrence-Stample this spring. He was one of Jimbo Fisher’s favorites last spring, and he’ll be counted on to step up even more this time around. The loss of Christian Jones as a hybrid rusher impacts the D line, too, and how Kelly plans to handle that role now should be interesting to watch. Edwards and Goldman are both five-star players with two years of experience under their belt, but now they’ll be looked to as leaders -- both on and off the field.

Status: B
If you want to include Jones as a defensive lineman, FSU is set to lose seven DLs to the NFL in a two-year span -- including two first-rounders in Bjoern Werner and, likely, Jernigan. That’s sapped some depth from the position, but Goldman and Edwards are as good as any D-linemen in the ACC and there’s plenty of talent behind them, too.

Linebacker

Projected starters: Reggie Northrup (Jr.), Terrance Smith (RSJr.), Matthew Thomas (So.)
Backups: E.J. Levenberry (So.), Ro'Derrick Hoskins (RSFr.), Nigel Terrell (RSSr.), Ukeme Eligwe (RSSo.), Kain Daub (Fr.)

Storylines: Smith is the only lock for a starting job here -- and even that might depend on your definition of “lock.” But while the unit is short on experience, it’s high on talent. The battle to replace Jones in the hybrid LB/DE position should be an interesting one, with Thomas offering perhaps the most upside, but Casher and Eligwe certainly in the mix, too. Northrup is the most experienced option to replace Telvin Smith, and he’s certainly capable of blossoming into a disruptive force, but Fisher raved about Levenberry throughout 2013, and that figures to be one of the more intriguing battles of spring camp. Add Daub to the mix as an early enrollee, and Kelly’s biggest problem here might be figuring out how to get enough snaps for all his talented linebackers.

Status: B
There’s plenty of talent here, but it’s impossible to replace the veteran savvy of Smith and Jones. By year’s end, this should be a terrific group, but there’s lots to be learned this spring.

Safety

[+] EnlargeJalen Ramsey
Jeremy McKnight/Icon SMISafety Jalen Ramsey will play a big role in the Seminoles secondary, which will be among the best in the nation.
Projected starters: Jalen Ramsey (So.), Nate Andrews (So.), Tyler Hunter (RSJr.)
Backups: Lamarcus Brutus (RSJr.), Keelin Smith (RSJr.), Tyrell Lyons (RSFr.)

Storylines: Ramsey and Andrews were exceptional as true freshmen, but the job now is to build on that progress under a new position coach. There’s little reason to believe that won’t happen. The bigger question mark at the moment is the health of Hunter, who is recovering from a neck injury that nearly ended his career. He was the leader of the secondary last spring and summer, and his impact on a young group could be huge again in 2014.

Status: A
Terrence Brooks was always undervalued, and he’ll be missed, but Hunter, Ramsey and Andrews projects as potentially the best trio of safeties in the nation.

Cornerback

Projected starters: P.J. Williams (Jr.), Ronald Darby (Jr.)
Backups: Marquez White (So.), Nick Waisome (Sr.), Colin Blake (RSSo.)

Storylines: Losing Lamarcus Joyner is a big blow, but there’s little to be concerned with here. Williams and Darby are both exceptional and figure to get even better in 2014. Darby was limited all season with a groin injury, so some downtime may be the priority for him. Waisome saw a ton of action in 2012 but largely disappeared in 2013. How he responds this spring might tell a lot about his future.

Status: A
It says a lot about the work Fisher, Pruitt and Mark Stoops have done over the past few years that FSU can lose a player of Joyner’s caliber and still likely have the best secondary -- and best pair of starting corners -- in the country.

Redshirt watch for FSU's freshmen

August, 28, 2013
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State lost 11 starters to the NFL draft this spring, but that didn't necessarily turn the depth chart into a gold mine for the Seminoles' incoming freshmen. Of Jimbo Fisher's biggest accomplishments during his first four years on the job, none loom larger that the immense influx of talent on the roster -- meaning depth isn't a concern in most areas.

Of the 14 non-specialists Florida State added in 2012, only six saw action last year. Mario Edwards Jr. was the only freshman to start a game, and Ronald Darby and Eddie Goldman were the only others to see regular playing time.

The situation may not be dramatically different this year. Twenty-one freshmen were added to the roster, but aside from a small minority, there doesn't appear to be regular reps awaiting the bulk of the group. FSU's initial depth chart lists nine freshmen on the two-deep, though the playing time for each may be limited, and the roles for a few others may yet develop. As it stands though, here's our projections for early playing time for the Class of 2013.

The likely redshirts (4): QB John Franklin, OT Ira Denson, C Ryan Hoefeld, TE Jeremy Kerr

Fisher is never shy with praise for his players -- even those with virtually no shot at seeing a moment of playing time. That's been the case for Franklin, whom Fisher said has looked very good in practice throughout fall camp. Chalk it up to Fisher's desire to talk about any quarterback other than Jameis Winston, but it's nevertheless encouraging given that so many college coaches wanted Franklin as a receiver, not a QB.

Denson arrived overweight, and Hoefeld is still a touch lighter than line coach Rick Trickett would like, which means both are likely to spend the year prepping for the future. Kerr might have been a lock for early playing time given FSU's utter lack of depth at tight end, but a knee injury has kept him off the practice field for weeks.

The victims of numbers (4): DT Keith Bryant, OG Wilson Bell, DB Marquez White, S Nate Andrews

The reports on these four have been generally positive -- particularly Bell, who was well ahead of the other young linemen, according to Trickett -- but barring injuries, there's probably not much playing time to be had. It's possible one or two will find a role -- Andrews and White could make a special-teams impact -- but none are guaranteed to see action at all.

Matthew Thomas
Courtesy of Florida StateAfter considering transferring to USC before ever playing a snap for FSU, LB Matthew Thomas has settled into the Seminoles' defense.
The linebackers (5): Ro'Derrick Hoskins, Tyrell Lyons, E.J. Levenberry, Matthew Thomas, Freddie Stevenson

Levenberry and Thomas headline the current depth chart, where both are listed as the primary backups at the Mike and Will linebacker spots, respectively. Both offer immense promise. Thomas is the star of the group, and after an on-again, off-again spring in which he considered transferring to USC, the five-star recruit seems to be happy and comfortable in FSU's defense. Levenberry has also been a big hit with his coaches, and his size -- 6-3, 240 pounds -- has had Fisher drooling.

Both Thomas and Levenberry figure to play, but they may not be alone. Freddie Stevenson was an early enrollee and has drawn praise from teammates. Lyons and Hoskins could figure in the special-teams mix, too.

Florida State has just two established veteran linebackers, and both will be gone at year's end. The Seminoles need to start developing some depth there, which is good news for the entire group.

The special-teams stalwarts (4): DE Davarez Bryant, DE Desmond Hollin, RB Ryan Green, WR Levonte Whitfield

Fisher's history suggests skill-position players who can contribute on special teams will get a chance as freshmen, even if there isn't much of a role beyond that. FSU allowed P.J. Williams, Reggie Northrup and Christo Kourtzidis to do it last year, which means Green, Bryant and others could do the same in 2013, even if a wealth of scrimmage snaps aren't there. Hollin, a juco transfer, probably stands the best shot at a bigger role, and Bryant has actually worked in some at tight end, too. Whitfield figures to be in the mix as a kick returner early, but he is a potential weapon as a slot receiver on offense, too.

The best bets to play (4): CB Jalen Ramsey, DE DeMarcus Walker, WR Jesus Wilson, WR Isaiah Jones

Fisher was impressed with his freshman wideouts from the outset, but now it's a necessity that at least one or two contributes heavily. FSU lost three senior receivers for the season, which means there should be ample playing time to go around. Wilson has wowed teammates since the summer, and he figures to be first up, Jones also turns up on FSU's two-deep, backing up Rashad Greene at the X position.

Walker's progression was hindered a bit during the spring when NCAA compliance issues kept him off the practice field. Still, he spent long hours in the film room and coach's office, and his teammates have raved about his football IQ. Given the relative depth issues at defensive end combined with a depth chart with little or no game experience, Walker has as good a shot as anyone at getting playing time early.

Unlike the rest of this group, the numbers don't exactly favor Ramsey. The FSU secondary is stacked with talent, but that's only more of a testament to how good Ramsey has looked during fall camp. He spent the first few weeks working with the No. 1 defense while Darby nursed an injury, and he appears to have established himself as a legitimate threat to contribute. He opens the season No. 2 on the depth chart behind Lamarcus Joyner, and that's a role that could expand as the season progresses.
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.

Florida State 2013 signee Tyrell Lyons (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) dropped into Tallahassee last week to check out his future coaches and team on the practice fields.

This was a little different than practices he's been to in the past. A lot of that is due to the new man in charge on defense, Jeremy Pruitt.


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Noles 2013 snapshot: Tyrell Lyons 

February, 21, 2013
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With national signing day now beyond us, NoleNation takes a closer look at the next crop of Seminoles.

Vitals: Linebacker Tyrell Lyons (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), 6-foot-2, 220 pounds.

Committed: Feb. 25, 2012.

ESPN.com grade: 81, four-star prospect.

ESPN.com rankings: No. 33 outside linebacker in the country, No. 186 player in the Southeast and the No. 74 player in the state of Florida.


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State of the Noles: Linebackers 

February, 19, 2013
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NoleNation writers David Hale and Corey Dowlar are going position by position, looking at what FSU has on its roster now, and who might provide reinforcements down the line, projecting starters and evaluating the depth through 2015.

Up next, a position where the scheme might be as much in question as the personnel: Linebacker.

Current scholarship linebackers (11): Reggie Northrup (So.), Terrance Smith (RSSo.), Nigel Terrell (RSJr.), Christian Jones (Sr.), Markus Uligwe (RFr.), Telvin Smith (Sr.), Matthew Thomas (Fr.), Freddie Stevenson (Fr.), Tyrell Lyons (Fr.), E.J. Levenberry (Fr.), Ro'Derrick Hoskins (Fr.)

Potential early departures: FSU brings a talented group of five freshmen into the fold this season, and several -- Thomas in particular -- have NFL potential, but at this point, none of the younger players have enough experience to appear likely to leave early.


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Wins and losses for FSU's class of '13 

February, 6, 2013
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As it is virtually every year on national signing day, there were some big hits for Florida State, and there were a few tough misses, too. Overall, Jimbo Fisher and his new-look coaching staff have to consider the Class of 2013 a big win given the immense chaos that has ensued with six assistants leaving since Dec. 1. Most key commitments held strong, and a few late arrivals turned a solid class into one that cracked the top 10 in ESPN's national rankings.

Of course, rankings aren't everything. A lot of the success or failure of a class is based on a team's needs, and on that front, there were also a few highlights and a few noticeable problems. Here's how it breaks down.


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Lyons ready to work for a spot 

January, 13, 2013
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It wasn't so long ago that Tyrell Lyons (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) was on campus at Florida State as a brand new commitment to the Seminoles.


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FSU's weekend official visit preview 

January, 11, 2013
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Florida State will host a bunch of top visitors this weekend in what is likely their biggest and busiest of the year. Here is the breakdown of who is visiting and why it is important.


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Lyons gets a visit from Dawsey 

December, 17, 2012
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Four-star linebacker Tyrell Lyons (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), a Florida State commitment for nearly a year, is approaching the home stretch.

In less than two months, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound prospect will sign his letter of intent and fax it in to Florida State. But for now, all he can do is wait -- and entertain his future coaches.

Before the dead period begins, the Seminoles assistants are hitting the recruiting trail hard. Just last week, wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey dropped in on Lyons to see how things were.

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Lyons' transition to linebacker going well 

November, 15, 2012
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All things considered, Tyrell Lyons' (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) transition to linebacker has been a smooth one.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder, who was a safety a year ago, has moved down into the box into a more natural playing position. And even though it isn't a finished product, there has been plenty of progress made.

"I am very versatile," Lyons said. "Anywhere they put me, I am going to go there. But I think I am doing pretty well at linebacker. It is very fun. I am making my reads. I would say that it would be going pretty good."

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FSU commitment performance watch 

November, 5, 2012
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As the prep schedule winds down, NoleNation looks at some of the top performances from players committed to Florida State regardless of class. Here are this week's top five:

Joseph Yearby (Miami/Miami Central): In a week when many of Florida State's top performances from commitments came from juniors, Yearby might have topped them all. He ran for more than 100 yards on the ground and contributed two rushing touchdowns. Yearby also found paydirt through the air to round off a complete performance. The ESPN Watch List tailback committed to Florida State's 2014 class last spring.

JoJo Robinson (Miami/Northwestern): Versatile athlete Jojo Robinson made an impact for his Miami Northwestern team this week. He racked up more than 50 all-purpose yards as a running back and receiver and also caught a touchdown pass. The junior committed to Florida State over the summer and has offers from LSU, Miami and Southern Cal.

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FSU commitment performance watch 

October, 15, 2012
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Florida State's commitments are having big campaigns as the high school season is nearly halfway complete. Here are some prospects who had exceptional weekends.

Tyrell Lyons (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast): The four-star outside linebacker commitment racked up seven tackles in his game this week against Yulee and future Alabama RB commit Derrick Henry, showing a willingness to get to the ball and make a play. First Coast's defense has some playmakers on it, so tackles, by default, are not easy to come by. Both Daniel McMillian and Sherrod Pittman, other starting linebackers, get their fair share as well.

[+] EnlargeE.J. Levenberry Jr.
Courtesy of Eric LevenberryE.J. Levenberry had nine tackles and an interception in his latest game.
E.J. Levenberry (Woodbridge, Va/Hylton): The nation's No. 12 inside linebacker prospect turned in another solid performance on Friday. Levenberry racked up nine tackles, showing his toughness against the run and also recorded an interception. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker is an ESPN 300 prospect.

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Commitment performance watch 

October, 1, 2012
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Florida State's commitments are having big campaigns as the high school season is nearly halfway complete. Here are some prospects who had exceptional weekends.

Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield: The ESPN 150 athlete held true to his ranking on Friday night. Making a big impact as a receiver isn't anything new, and Whitfield reported that he caught at least seven passes for more than 100 yards for Jones High School. He also threw two touchdown passes.

Christian Morgan
Damon Sayles/ESPN.comTE commit Christian Morgan made his fourth touchdown catch of the season on Friday night.
Isaiah Jones: The 6-foot-4, 195-pound wide receiver was a steady target for his Milton squad, hauling in five passes in the win. Jones also rushed for more than 30 yards and scored a touchdown.

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First Coast ATH Tyrell Lyons chooses FSU 

February, 25, 2012
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First Coast (Jacksonville, Fla.) athlete Tyrell Lyons made a verbal commitment to Florida State on Saturday after attending the school's junior day.

The 6-foot-2, 218-pound junior has played both safety and linebacker for First Coast and could play either at the next level.

"Even the coaches aren't really sure what they want me to play because I'm so versatile," Lyons said. "I have the size of linebacker and I hit like a safety but I can also cover the field well."

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