Carrying the Spear: C Austin Barron

During the final 10 weeks before the season kicks off, NoleNation will march through the depth chart to analyze Florida State's top 50 contributors for the 2012 season. From Austin Barron to Vince Williams, we'll review each player's career, evaluate his role in 2012 and project what might be in store down the road.

Austin Barron

Center, Sophomore, 6-foot-3, 295 pounds

Looking back: Of all the fresh faces on last season's beleaguered offensive line, it may have been Barron who proved to be the biggest surprise. A two-star recruit (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), little was expected of the true freshman in his first year on campus. But when Bryan Stork went down with an injury prior to the Boston College game last season, Barron stepped in and ended up starting three of the Seminoles' final five games.

Right now: If Barron entered 2011 as a long shot for significant playing time, his 2012 spring earned him the title of starter at center when camp opens in August. Barron's marginal pedigree has done little to slow his progress since landing on campus, and the experience he gained down the stretch last season has him poised to be a consistent presence in the middle of the line this year.

Looking ahead: The tribulations of last year's offensive line are well documented, but Barron is the perfect example of the silver lining that came with the rash of injuries that plagued the men in the trenches in 2011. While the young linemen struggled to get up to speed, the experience proved invaluable for diamonds in the rough like Barron, who could end up starting alongside high school teammate Bobby Hart for the next three seasons.