Carrying the Spear: P Cason Beatty

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.

Cason Beatty

Punter, Freshman, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds

Looking back: Beatty was a quarterback at Olympic High in Charlotte, but picked up kicking later in his career and excelled. As his QB pedigree suggests, he's a good athlete, and his size -- 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds -- matches his potentially prolific leg strength. As a senior, Beatty averaged nearly 42 yards per punt with a long of 64.

Right now: A top student in high school, Beatty enrolled early at Florida State in January -- hoping to gain the inside track on the job of replacing the similarly strong Shawn Powell, who graduated. Beatty immediately showcased his strong leg in spring practice, but struggled some with consistency. His six punts in the spring game averaged fewer than 35 yards. Given that the freshman won't turn 18 until August, it's not surprising that he's still raw. The question now is whether he can show enough improvement in the preseason to lock up the starting job for good.

Looking ahead: Florida State's special teams have been a huge strength, and Powell had been a big part of that success during the past four seasons. In terms of natural ability, Beatty stacks up well to his predecessor, and if he can corral all that strength and talent into consistent production, there's a good chance his career could play out similarly, with four seasons of growing production and an All-America nod before it's all over.