Will FSU's defense remain elite?

Despite significant losses, Seminoles return enough talent to dominate on D

Updated: April 22, 2013, 1:37 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Lamarcus JoynerG Fiume/Getty ImagesLamarcus Joyner, a first-team All-ACC safety last season, will switch to cornerback in the fall.

It's a time of transition in Tallahassee, as the Florida State Seminoles lost six assistant coaches and 14 starters (including kickers and punters) from their 2012 ACC championship squad.

The personnel conversion could be tough at quarterback, but otherwise should be somewhat smooth on the offensive side of the ball as the Noles return four starters on the offensive line in addition to two starters at wide receiver and tight end.

Though the Seminoles lose both starters at running back, they bring back Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr., who combined for 221 carries for 1,295 yards and 19 touchdowns last season.

The defense is a different story in terms of personnel, as the Garnet and Gold have to replace their entire starting defensive line (including Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, both of whom likely will be picked in the first two rounds of the NFL draft) and bring back only one starting linebacker.

Even with the potential drop-off on defense, there are a number of reasons to think that Florida State should be able to get this unit back to its dominant 2012 form.