Florida State football is back. As Coach Jimbo Fisher begins his second year at the helm, the Seminoles return 18 starters, possess the nation's top incoming class and have high hopes for new quarterback EJ Manuel. Needless to say the Noles are already in the BCS Championship discussion.
Manuel must control the offense and have a standout year in order for the Seminoles to dominate. On the other side of the ball is a player who is poised to have a breakout year and be the difference maker Florida State needs, linebacker Christian Jones.
At 6'4", 236 (look for his playing weight to eventually be 240) many describe him as a physical freak. As the "Sam" (strong side) linebacker, his size, strength and athletic ability will come in handy going up against opposing tight ends.
A Florida State legacy, his dad and brother both played football for the Seminoles, Jones has elite natural pass rushing abilities and above average coverage skills at this stage in his career that will only get better with experience. That is what linebacker coach Greg Hudson and defensive coordinator Mark Stoops are counting on.
Last season, playing sporadically behind senior Mister Alexander, Jones racked up 18 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery.
A likely starter in 2011, Coach Fisher has high expectations for Jones. "Somebody blessed him in the body with ability. He has a lot of size, potential, range, instincts and toughness. He's a big body that can play in space. That's rare. I think he has the potential to be a very good player."
According to Tomahawk Nation, Jones looked good in coverage in Florida State's annual Gold and Garnet spring game. That's good news for Seminole fans, as Jones defensive play will be crucial for a successful season.
Even teammate Nigel Bradham is excited to see how Jones will fare this upcoming year. "I'm really interested in seeing how Christian is going to do. I know he's going to do well."
At the end of the regular season Coach Fisher and the Seminoles hope to be in BCS contention. Christian Jones may very well be a catalyst that helps propel them into the national spotlight.