FSU Beat: Loss of Jenkins is Critical

After riding high from the excitement of a season opening victory, the Florida State Seminoles were served with disheartening news last night, when it was reported that senior All-American DE Brandon Jenkins would miss the 2012 season with an injury to his left foot. This is especially bothersome news for Jenkins, as he had the opportunity to leave school following the 2011 season to enter the NFL draft. He elected to return to Florida State for his senior season and was primed to have another huge year in what could be a special campaign for the Noles overall.

This leaves Florida State in an interesting position at defensive end for the remainder of the season. Junior Bjoern Werner, who is week one’s ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week, is the other pillar on the edge of the Seminoles’ front four, and now senior JUCO transfer Tank Carradine will step into a starting role. Carradine is often regarded by his teammates and coaches as the third starter, as opposed to a second string defensive lineman. He is a trusted contributor with a full season of experience under his belt and an NFL future, but ultimately it goes without saying that Florida State will suffer a significant drop off in production out of the DE position from here on out. Carradine had a team high in tackles on Saturday with 9 total, including two for loss and one sack. The big questions that need to be answered now are surrounding the effectiveness of the now second-and third-string options at defensive end.

Redshirt freshman Georgio Newberry is a former 4-star recruit who stands at 6-6, 280 lbs. and played well during the spring, fall and week one. He has talent, but experience is something he will be gaining as he goes. Expect to see him make some plays and do some things well, but consistency will surely be an issue. RS Senior Toshmon Stevens may be another player who sees increased playing time, which has been rare for his career to date. Stevens has struggled to put on weight since arriving at Florida State in 2008, but now weighs just north of 240 lbs. and did receive snaps in the Noles’ week one victory over Murray State. Stevens is a career special teams demon who has worked hard and done everything right since arriving at Florida State. If there is a shred of good to come from an unfortunate situation such as this, it is that Toshmon Stevens may have an opportunity to prove his worth lined up at defensive end.

One of the major storylines coming away from week one dealt with the news that true freshmen DE’s Chris Casher and Mario Edwards Jr. would be taking redshirts, due to the tremendous depth on the FSU roster. Edwards Jr. was widely considered the best player in the country coming out of high school, so the thought of him redshirting caused a major splash. With the injury to Jenkins, it is now unclear whether or not that will still be the plan for these talented freshmen. One of Casher or Edwards may be placed in a position to contribute, now that circumstances have changed remarkably. Starters Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner have the ability to play either defensive end position. Based on body types and skill sets, Casher would be more ideal for Jenkins position, but he sat out his senior year of high school and has not played in a real football game in nearly two years. Mario Edwards Jr. is better suited to play coming off the left side as an anchor to keep containment on run plays and collapse the pocket. Currently, there are concerns surrounding Edwards’ conditioning and weight. He is reportedly over 300 lbs. and a much more ideal weight range would be 280-285 lbs. Jimbo Fisher may shed more light on this situation later in the week.

The interesting angle regarding Brandon Jenkins’ injury is that he has one year of eligibility remaining, because he has not used up a redshirt season. At first glance, it would not make much sense for Jenkins to exercise this option and risk further injury after having already passed up the opportunity at the NFL. Interestingly enough, because of the nature of his injury, that fifth year may actually be necessary. The lisfranc foot injury often requires as many as 8-10 months recovery before rehab can even occur, meaning Jenkins could miss the NFL Combine and opportunities to work out for scouts leading up the draft in April or the supplemental draft. This is a very tricky injury to deal with because of the amount of small bones and nerves connected in the middle of the human foot, where this injury is concentrated.

If you are a fan of the Florida State Seminoles or of hardworking student athletes that have done their part to excel on and off the field, I’m sure Brandon Jenkins and a speedy, clean recovery will be in your prayers.

Adam Tolliver, @primediscussion on TwitterAdam Tolliver is an Atlanta, GA native and college football enthusiast who has been covering Florida State Seminole sports for three years. He is currently a contributor at Tomahawknation.com and XOFan.com, where he consistently delivers honest and accurate commentary and reporting regarding Florida State Seminole Football and Men’s Basketball. You can find Adam’s personal twitter account @primediscussion, where he spouts out about all things under the sun, or you can follow @Unconquered_FSU, which is exclusively dedicated to FSU Sports.

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