To gear up for signing day, and beyond, NoleNation takes a look at each Seminoles commitment in the Class of 2013.
Vitals: Linebacker Freddie Stevenson, Bartow, Fla./Bartow, 6-foot-1, 230 pounds
Committed: July 4, 2012
ESPN.com grade: 82, four-star prospect
ESPN.com rankings: No. 243 in the ESPN 300, No. 15 outside linebacker, No. 117 in the Southeast region and No. 44 in the state of Florida.
Picked Florida State over: West Virginia, N.C. State, Texas A&M and USF.
State of the position: Florida State's biggest recruit at the linebacker position wasn't actually a recruit at all. Christian Jones, a junior draft-eligible linebacker, announced he will be returning to FSU for his senior season, giving Stevenson and Co. an extra season to learn from a veteran. But with the departures of Vince Williams and Nick Moody, there is plenty of playing time to be earned. Telvin Smith likely has a leg up at the middle linebacker spot (unless moved back outside), but the strong-side position will be up for grabs. Nigel Terrell, Terrance Smith, Reggie Northrup and Ukeme Eligwe have all been in the system for at least a year, so they should figure to have an advantage in terms of familiarity.
ESPN.com scouting report: Stevenson runs very well and is a playmaker capable of changing the momentum of a game. He has the size and athleticism for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition and his frame appears capable of adding some bulk over time. He is a tough prospect with punishing, knock 'em back tackling ability. He comes to balance in space, demonstrating the ability to finish off ball carriers with excellent leverage and explosion and doesn't allow leaky yardage after contact. Stevenson runs well, showing the catch-up speed needed to chase down ball carriers from behind. His initial quickness gets him off the mark and to the football. He does a very good job with key and diagnosis reaction skills against the run and pass, moves through traffic and is capable of taking on and defeating blockers at the point of attack. We see a downhill run stopper with sideline to sideline range. He can turn and change direction and demonstrates excellent range. He is very effective rushing the passer off the edge with a burst to the quarterback. Although his coverage scheme features zone principles, we see the athleticism needed to lock up with inside receivers. He does a good job disrupting receivers releasing off the line with his hands and is able to come off the initial receiver and pick up the drag/underneath route. He displays the athleticism to play a variety of special teams positions. He is very productive as a running back from the tailback and fullback alignment and is quick to the hole with the one step lateral quickness needed to avoid defenders in traffic. He flashes straight line speed along with a powerful over the pads finishing effort. He is effective running screen and release routes. Still, he's a linebacker capable of creating havoc in the opponent's backfield. Stevenson has the strength and playing speed needed to earn early playing time at the BCS level of play.
Expected impact: The biggest thing playing in Stevenson's favor to play early is the fact he's already on campus. He's been enrolled since the beginning of January and will have a few months head start on the rest of the incoming freshmen when they report in the summer. A full spring practice to prove he is healthy will only help his confidence. The conservative outlook would be to project him as a special teams contributor and playing in mop-up duty or redshirt.