Freshman Forecast: Part I

All this week, NoleDigest.com takes a look at the incoming freshmen for Florida State and predicts what to expect from each member of the class of 2012. Today, is Marvin Bracy really that fast?

Roberto Aguayo

The Skinny: A 6-foot, 185-pound kicker arriving from Groveland (FL) South Lake High School, Aguayo is the heir apparent to Dustin Hopkins, who will be a senior and has a chance to depart as the best specialist in the history of the program.

The Competition: With Hopkins already one of the premier kickers in the country and also a deadly weapon with his ability to boom kickoffs out of the end zone, there isn't any need for Aguayo to compete for playing time right away. Additionally, the 'Noles have a handful of walk-ons in the mix, including Maxx Moore and Andrew Zloch.

The Projection: Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher extended a grayshirt opportunity to Aguayo and he accepted it, meaning he will spend a year away from the Al Dunlap Practice Fields and won't officially begin his career in Garnet and Gold until 2013. By then, Hopkins will be well on his way to pro football and Aguayo should be the leading candidate to earn the kicking duties. Fisher believes in giving scholarships to talented specialists instead of simply hoping to find a walk-on that can get the job done, which is why Aguayo was indeed an important member of this recruiting class.

Cason Beatty

The Skinny: A 6-3, 215-pound punter out of Charlotte (NC) Olympic High School, Beatty should take over for Shawn Powell immediately, as the former All-American is out of eligibility and currently trying to win a spot with the Buffalo Bills organization.

The Competition: Unlike Aguayo, who has a season to get adjusted to collegiate life before needing to become an integral member of the football team, Beatty is expected to pay immediate dividends in a phase of the game that had been a team strength for FSU with Powell. Although he will be given all the rope he needs to secure the post right out of the gate, Beatty is sharing the practice field with walk-ons Parker Conley, Dillon Kidd and Derek Williams.

The Projection: Following in Powell's footsteps won't be easy, as his booming leg got the Seminoles out of a lot of jams this past season and was largely responsible for keeping rival Miami at bay in the second half of what was shaping up to be an upset of the comeback variety for the Hurricanes. Like Powell, Beatty is awfully big for a punter and can simply launch the ball into orbit when he really gets into one. Nevertheless, he was a bit inconsistent in spring practice as an early enrollee and needs to speed things up a notch once he receives the long snap.

Colin Blake

The Skinny: A 6-3, 170-pound cornerback out of San Antonio (TX) Brandeis High School, Blake is another hybrid DB that could end up playing safety at the next level depending on where he fits best.

The Competition: Until we find out of Blake is destined to be a corner or a safety, it's difficult to forecast just who he'll be battling with for playing time one of these days. He's unquestionably the second-best corner in the class if that's where he winds up, as Ronald Darby is a five-star stud, plus fellow defensive back P.J. Williams could end up being a better safety since he's put together a little sturdier than Blake.

The Projection: Blake didn't finally pop up on Fisher's radar until relatively late in the recruiting process, as opposed to some of the other members of the 2012 class that committed a season or so in advance of signing day. Unless he proves to be amazing as a special teamer on punt and kick coverage, this seems like a redshirt situation so he can spend a year getting bigger and stronger under the supervision of strength and conditioning coach Vic Viloria. His story could end up similar to that of Keelin Smith, who was relegated to the scout team upon his arrival but may end up being the No. 3 corner for FSU this campaign.

Marvin Bracy

The Skinny: A 5-9, 166-pound wide receiver from Orlando (FL) Boone High School, Bracy is also a potential Olympian in track when it's all said and done and might be the fastest prep recruit the sport has ever seen.

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The Competition: He isn't expected to catch a single pass this year, as quarterback E.J. Manuel has an embarrassment of riches at the skill positions already, although Bracy will get a chance as a return man because of his game-breaking speed. With Greg Reid likely only returning punts now, Bracy must prove to be a better option with the ball in his hands than the savvy Lamarcus Joyner, the gifted Rashad Greene and the explosive Karlos Williams.

The Projection: It will be a surprise to see Bracy redshirt as a freshman, especially since he looked quite polished as a pass catcher in the Under Armour All-America Game this past January. A convincing case can be made that Joyner should focus on defense and Greene is much too valuable on offense, plus a kick-return combination of Bracy and Williams would inch fans to the edges of their seats every time the ball was in the air. And even if he's no better than eighth or ninth on the depth chart at wideout, there's no harm in having him run a fly pattern or two every game just to watch him blow by enemy corners.


John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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