When Cornelius “Tank” Carradine lines up as the starting defensive end at 6 pm on Saturday night, Savannah State’s offensive line is going to find out very quickly that FSU’s first-team defensive line has endured no dropoff. Tank will be bringing the pain (for maybe a quarter), and the Tigers of Savannah State will be in for a long night.
Mr. Carradine was a consensus 5-star prospect out of junior college that was recruited by nearly every football powerhouse in the country. He chose to become a Seminole and after Brandon Jenkins endured a season-ending injury last Saturday, Seminole Nation can know that there will be no dropoff on the first-team unit.
The difference this makes is at depth.
Florida State had assembled the nation’s finest trio of NFL-caliber defensive ends, but that is no more. The frightening depth—the ability to bring off the bench a senior NFL-bound, All-American caliber defensive end—is gone. Carradine is now Bjoern Werner’s wing man on the first-team line, and it will affect D-line coach Odell Haggins’s ability to rotate great ends.
Behind Carradine is Giorgio Newberry, an unproven but highly recruited player. And behind Werner is Toshmon Stevens, a redshirt senior who has spent most of his career contributing on special teams.
Freshmen Mario Edwards, last year’s No. 1 overall prospect in the country, and Chris Casher, another 5-star defensive end prospect, are listed as the third-string guys, but both are expected to redshirt.
Tank’s former role as a reserve was partly why FSU was being picked to win the BCS National Championship—yes, he’s that good. Great defensive lines have been the recent characteristic of champions, and FSU had—and perhaps still has—the finest.
The coming weeks will showcase how much Jenkins—or Tank as a second-stringer—meant to this team, but it can also be a chance for the younger prospects to step it up.
This Saturday may not be revealing—the Seminoles take on the bottom-dweller of the MEAC—but the Wake Forest and Clemson games, both of which FSU will be picked to win, will give Seminole Nation an idea about whether FSU can still make a BCS Title run in 2012.