Five assistant coaches and three juniors all left Florida State for greener pastures in the past six weeks, and a bevy of senior talent from the 2012 ACC champions departs as well. While the spring always brings hope for players to work their way up the depth chart, this year will offer a wealth of opportunities for some younger Seminoles to impress new coaches and win some vacant jobs.
That's good news for a handful of once promising talent on the Florida State roster, but it's hardly a guarantee that much will change. While last week, we looked at five rising stars for FSU, these six players have a much steeper hill to climb after seeing their stars dim during 2012.
Mario Pender (RFr./RB)
Background: Highly regarded on the recruiting trail, Pender's freshman season at Florida State never got started. A groin injury over the summer lingered into fall camp, and it was quickly determined he'd need season-ending surgery to repair it. He never ran a rep during practice but is expected to be ready to go this spring.
Possible 2013 status: On the one hand, Pender can still step in to a relatively uncertain running back situation and find a niche. James Wilder Jr.'s continued legal problems are a cause for concern, and Devonta Freeman was inconsistent down the stretch after Chris Thompson's injury. On the other hand, Florida State could be adding more talent with this year's recruiting class, and thanks to the injury, Pender won't be dramatically ahead of them in terms of preparation.
Jacobbi McDaniel (Sr./DT)
Background: McDaniel had developed into a solid, reliable option at tackle by 2011 before a gruesome ankle injury ended his season after just six games. He hasn't played since, opting to take a medical redshirt in 2012 as he continued to rehab the injury with his hopes set on playing a full, healthy final season at FSU.
Possible 2013 status: It's still possible that McDaniel will get the curtain call he was hoping for, and he practiced without limitations throughout most of the 2012 season. Jobs are available, too, with the departures of starters Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud. Despite his veteran status though, McDaniel is far from guaranteed much playing time, as Demonte McAllister and Eddie Goldman both impressed last season, and Timmy Jernigan is a budding superstar. Yes, McDaniel will be healthy at last, but it's still been nearly two years since he played in a game.
Background: After FSU's bowl win over Notre Dame to close out the 2011 season, Hart (RT) and Barron (C) appeared to be fixtures on the line. By the start of fall camp last season, they'd both been passed on the depth chart, earning only limited playing time. In particular, Hart found himself in line coach Rick Trickett's dog house.
Possible 2013 status: The good news for Barron and Hart is that a job is open for the taking. The bad news is, only one of them can win it -- and it's certainly possible that neither will. When Menelik Watson announced he was entering the NFL draft, the right tackle job opened up, and Hart, who was Watson's primary backup by season's end, figures to have the inside shot. Still, plenty of questions remain about his work ethic, and Trickett could decide to move Bryan Stork to tackle and give Barron a shot to reclaim his job at center. Or, of course, another horse could jump to the head of the pack and leave both in the dust.
Christian Green (Jr./WR)
Background: As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Green finished third on the team in receiving yards (450) and showed immense promise. He virtually disappeared in 2012 though, catching just three passes for 33 yards all season. He didn't record a single catch after Week 3.
Possible 2013 status: It's hard to explain what exactly happened to Green last season. Part of it was a numbers game, as a group of reliable targets emerged quickly in the passing game. Part of it was his own doing, as his practices were far from crisp and he didn't always look like a third-year player. Neither of those issues is guaranteed to change in 2013, which makes Green's future in FSU's offense particularly difficult to discern.
Giorgio Newberry (So./DE)
Background: At 6-6, 280 pounds with good speed, Newberry looks like he should dominate. A solid fall camp last season had him in the mix for regular reps, too, despite a lot of depth at the end position. By season's end, however, he'd mustered just 13 tackles, no sacks and was clearly the low man on the pecking order at the position.
Possible 2013 status: With two starting jobs up for grabs, Newberry will again have his shot to impress, but the fact that he was passed on the depth chart by Mario Edwards Jr. after Cornellius Carradine's late-season injury offers some perspective on where he stands. A new position coach and coordinator could open some doors, but he'll be pushed by talented freshman Chris Casher, and Newberry will need to make some serious strides if he wants to lock down a significant job in 2013.