College Football: Bold Predictions for Mario Edwards' Freshman Year at FSU

John PattonContributor IJanuary 30, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 04:  Bjoern Werner #95 of the Florida State Seminoles against the Virginia Tech Hokies during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Opinions may vary slightly, but one could make a fair argument that, counting the class of 2012, the three most recent No. 1-ranked high school football prospects in the country were defensive ends.

In 2010, Urban Meyer and Florida swooped into Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, Calif. and came away with Ronald Powell.

And a year ago, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was able to keep Jadeveon Clowney in-state.

In 2012, the No. 1 player, according to 247sports.com and ESPN, is 6'4", 297-pound Billy Ryan High School (Denton, Tx.) product Mario Edwards (Rivals and Scout rank Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham first).

Barring an unexpected change of plans, Edwards will follow in his father's cleat steps and will sign a National Letter of Intent with Florida State on Wednesday.

What kind of impact should be expected?

In his first season on campus, Powell played in all 13 of UF's games and started once (at strongside linebacker). A selection to the Southeastern Conference's All-Freshmen Team, Powell recorded 25 tackles, 2.5 of which were for-loss (one was a sack).

Clowney stayed at end and had a huge initial campaign.

He played in 13 games, finishing with 36 tackles, 12 of which were for-loss and eight of those were sacks. He also had six quarterback hurries and forced a team-high five fumbles.

Edwards comes into a different situation than either Powell or Clowney, each of whom arrived not having to overtake veteran star talents ahead of them on the depth chart.

Florida State's two brilliant starting ends, Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner, are set to return next year, as are backups Dan Hicks, Cornelius Carradine and Toshmon Stevens. So, Edwards doesn't necessarily even have to play.

However, if Edwards proves to be talented enough, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher is bright enough to know his prized prospect should find his way onto the field.

What type of impact will he have?

Providing he doesn't redshirt, look for Edwards to have a freshman year somewhere in between what Powell and Clowney produced.

Powell didn't put up huge statistics, but that can be excused because he was learning a new position. Meanwhile, Clowney joined a loaded defensive front and was allowed to get after the quarterback, using his athleticism and pure talent more so than reading and reacting.

Look for Edwards to compile something in the neighborhood of 22 tackles (seven for-loss) with five sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

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