The Daily Nole

FSU Spring Game: Five Positions to Watch

FSU athletics

The 2016 Florida State spring game is just hours away from kicking off. While some of the more prominent Noles like Dalvin Cook will be out of action, this intrasquad scrimmage serves a huge chance for others to make their case for playing time in the fall.

Here are five key positions to keep an eye on in Orlando on Saturday:

The battle for the starting quarterback spot is the most intriguing one of the offseason for the Seminoles. With redshirt senior Sean Maguire nursing a foot injury, redshirt freshman Deondre Francois, redshirt sophomore J.J. Consentino and early enrollee Malik Henry will all have a chance to make their cases for being the man under center for FSU in 2016. Among those three, Francois seems to have the best chance to earn the nod. Consentino will have a chance to put a bad Peach Bowl showing behind him while Henry is aiming to become the first FSU true freshman to start a game under center in more than three decades.

Running Back
With Cook out, Florida State’s backs will each showcase why they deserve to be the No. 2 back. Cook had the second most carries in FSU history a season ago and the Seminoles will need to find a consistent No. 2. Jacques Patrick is a former 5-star recruit and the front-runner while Ryan Green and Mario Pender are each coming off season-ending injuries. Green returns to the backfield after playing cornerback last spring. Johnathan Vickers is another guy who could be in the mix, but won’t play Saturday.

Wide Receiver
The Seminoles are legitimately 11 deep at the wide receiver position, but aside from junior Travis Rudolph, playing time is wide open. Kermit Whitfield and Jesus Wilson, both seniors, were the team’s No. 2 and No. 3 a season ago, but each lack ideal size. Sophomores George Campbell, Da’Vante Phillips, Nyqwan Murray and Auden Tate are expected to be in the mix as are juniors Ermon Lane and Ja’Vonn Harrison. FSU also has a highly-touted freshman coming in in Keith Gavin, but he won’t arrive until fall. Phillips and Harrison will likely be out of action during Saturday’s spring game.

With Terrance Smith and Reggie Northrup having graduated, linebacker is by far FSU’s most vulnerable position. Matthew Thomas, a redshiort junior. has elite talent, but hasn’t been able to stay out of trouble since arriving in Tallahassee. Thomas, fellow redshirt junior Ro’Derrick Hoskins, redshirt sophomore Delvin Purifoy, sophomore Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane and early enrollee Josh Brown are the only five scholarship linebackers on the roster for Saturday’s spring game. Dontavious Jacksonson, Keion Joyner and Emmett Rice will arrive in the fall.

The Florida State secondary is extremely talented, but extremely young. Most are aware of what sophomore safety Derwin James and senior cornerback Marquez White can do, but sophomores like Tarvarus McFadden, Marcus Lewis and A.J. Westbrook will all make their case for playing time during Saturday’s spring game. Calvin Bretwon, a safety, isn’t expected to play. Junior Trey Marshall and senior Nate Andrews are a couple of the key veterans to watch.

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