Throughout the summer, Nole Nation will be counting down the 40 players we're projecting to make the biggest impact on the Seminoles' 2013 season, taking into consideration everything from experience to potential to their spot on the current depth chart.
Next up: No. 25 Giorgio Newberry
Position/Class: DE/Redshirt sophomore.
What he's done: After sitting out the 2011 season as a redshirt, Newberry figured to be a central player in Florida State's rotation at defensive end in 2012. When the season started, he appeared well on his way to securing that job, too. He opened as the primary backup for Bjoern Werner, and in his debut against Murray State, Newberry forced a fumble and recovered another. But it was mostly downhill from there. He finished the season with just 13 tackles, saw playing time diminish as the season went along, and by the time Cornellius Carradine went down with an ACL injury in December, it was Mario Edwards Jr., not Newberry, who was the clear choice to replace him.
Where he's at: If Newberry's progress in 2012 proved to be a bit disappointing, he earned a significant reprieve this year when Werner departed early for the NFL, leaving both starting defensive ends spots vacant. Edwards again appears to have a firm grip on one, but Newberry entered the spring as the leading contender for the other job. It was clear from the outset that new ends coach Sal Sunseri saw promise in Newberry, and he rode the sophomore hard throughout spring practice. Whether the added motivation worked, however, remains to be seen. By spring's end, it was Dan Hicks who had turned in the more impressive performance, but plenty of hope remains that Newberry can step up this fall.
What's to come: Newberry has plenty of natural talent, and his combination of size (6-foot-6, 275 pounds) means coaches will always be intrigued with what he might be capable of doing. This spring, he got a chance to test his skills in coverage, too, and that appears to be a role he could excel in. But the promise of Newberry's future has never been in doubt. What's troubling is how few steps he's taken toward achieving it. Sunseri praised Newberry's work ethic this spring, and with more time to study under the new defensive coaching staff, perhaps things click for him when fall camp begins. Regardless, he won't have the luxury of learning on the sideline in 2013. Ready or not, Newberry will be asked to play a significant role on a unit thin on experienced pass rushers.