With under a week left until the National Signing Day, Florida State is gearing up for quite the finish. They are currently topping the totem poll in terms of strength of class, but Alabama and Texas are still lurking. Florida State has a lot of top notch talent coming in with this class, but they need to address some key needs at key positions.
Christian Ponder is gone and now it is time for the E.J. Manuel era to begin, but that will last just two more years. Florida State has depth at the position with Will Secord and Clint Trickett. Jacob Coker is the only quarterback in the 2011 class. Is he the answer for Jimbo Fisher in the future?
9. Wide Receiver
Florida State returns the meat of the talent at wide receiver. Bert Reed, Taiwan Easterling, Rodney Smith and Willie Haulstead are all back and Christian Green, the highly touted recruit from a year ago, will get his shot at being a playmaker after redshirting last season. Kenny Shaw will also look to make his mark. Kelvin Benjamin and Rashad Greene are the only receivers in the 2011 class, but both have that "wow" factor for a receiver prospect.
8. Offensive Guard/Center
All-American guard Rodney Hudson and All-Conference center Ryan McMahon have officially left the building after being the steady rocks of the offensive line. As FSU fans, we watched these two grow into being leaders and key members of the team. They will not be easily replaced. Ruben Carter and Sterling Lovelady look to be the heir apparent.
7. Offensive Tackle
Trey Pettis, Jacob Fegrenkrug, Bobby Hart and Jordan Prestwood all look to provide depth at the position and eventually replace Andrew Datko, Zebree Sanders and Antwane Greenlee.
6. Running Back
While this isn't exactly a "must-need" fix at the moment due to the fact that Jermaine Thomas is back for his Senior season and Ty Jones, Chris Thompson and Debrale Smiley are all back, they are all small scat backs that don't provide the between the tackles type of running game that Florida State has been looking for. James Wilder Jr. is that "ideal" back that Fisher is looking for and is one of the many prizes of this recruiting class.
5. Defensive Tackle
Jacobbi McDaniel and Everett Dawkins played exceptional last season. They will get Moses McCray back in the rotation for the 2011 season after he missed all of last year due to injury. This is a position that will need to gain depth and early experience because that's how McDaniel and Dawkins were brought up.
4. Defensive End
Brandon Jenkins had a massive season last year and Senior Markus White looked like he has finally reaching his potential. With that being said, someone will need to step in and help Jenkins continue providing pressure to opposing quarterbacks. This is a huge position to fill and players such as Toshmon Stevens and Bjoern Werner will need to help fill the gap that White has left behind, but recruits like Cornellius Carradine and Georgio Newberry should be able to step in and play right out of the gate.
3. Tight End
Beau Reliford is a nice player and a hard worker, but he doesn't give quarterbacks that safety valve that they need to stretch the defense. Tank Sessions and Will Tye may be able to provide that kind of playmaking ability, but all signs point to incoming freshman Nick O'Leary taking over the position right away.
Mister Alexander and Kendall Smith are gone, but this position is littered with talent. Nigel Bradham is returning for his senior season and freshman phenoms Jeff Luc and Christian Jones look to have enormous sophomore seasons. Telvin Smith is an up and coming talent that the coaches can't stop raving about. Vince Williams and Nigel Terrell are no slouches either. While this unit looks to be full, someone by the name of Tony Steward is good enough to step in and play right away because of how physically gifted he is.
Terrance Parks and Nick Moody progressed and regressed at the same speed last season and both need some more time in Mark Stoops defense. Lucky for Florida State, five star recruit Karlos Williams, the fifth rated player in the 2011 class, will be on campus next year and will be challenging Parks and Moody for their starting jobs. Williams is freakish in size and speed and is a ball hawk as displayed in the Under Armour All-American game. This is the top position needed for the 'Noles and he will fill the need nicely.