Freshman hardly, if ever, get significant playing time at college football powerhouses like Florida State.
Mario Edwards, though, is hardly your run of the mill blue-chip high school recruit. The 6'4", 291-pound defensive end out of Billy Ryan High School in Denton, Texas is the consensus No. 1 prospect at his position in the class of 2012, sporting a rare blend of size, speed and athleticism for a player his age.
For a bit of perspective, consider that Jadeveon Clowney—the top-ranked player in the class of 2011—arrived at South Carolina as a 6'6", 240-pound freshman defensive end. Clowney was able to pack on a Freshman 15 by the end of his first season in Columbia, during which he piled up 38 tackles and eight sacks.
Phenomenal numbers, to be sure, and ones that are well within reach for Edwards, assuming that his tremendous talent translates to the college level right off the bat.
And that he forces his way onto the field as a prominent member of Mark Stoops' defense from the moment he sets foot in Tallahassee.
That will be no easy task, not even for a kid as precocious as Edwards. The Seminoles' depth chart is already pretty well stacked along the defensive line. At one end is senior-to-be Brandon Jenkins, who opted not jump into the 2012 NFL Draft after racking up 41 tackles and eight tackles in 2011. At the other is junior-to-be Bjoern Werner, a German import who blew up this past season with 37 tackles and seven sacks of his own.
Not to mention sophomore-to-be Timmy Jernigan and senior-to-be Everett Dawkins, who ably anchored the interior of FSU's defensive line this season.
Then again, if Edwards proves to be as unstoppable in college as most scouts and recruiting services expect him to be, Jimbo Fisher and his staff will be hard-pressed to keep him on the sidelines for too long.