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Young FSU Defensive Linemen Ready to Step Up

Florida State heads into the 2015 season looking for new names to emerge along the defensive line following the early departures of defensive tackle Eddie Goldman and defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr. to the NFL. First-year defensive line coach Brad Lawing has the blessing of plenty of capable bodies in the mix, but the challenge of figuring out the best way to utilize them.

There’s plenty of talented personnel working into the rotation for the Seminoles in training camp this summer, including senior nose tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample, junior DeMarcus Walker, who can play both tackle and end, sophomore defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, sophomore defensive ends Jacob Pugh and Lorenzo Featherston, senior defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell, sophomore defensive end Rick Leonard, and redshirt freshman nose tackle Demarcus Christmas, among others.

It’s a group that may not have the star power — at least heading into the season — that the Seminole defensive lines of the last two seasons had. But it’s a group filled with some of the more heavily-recruited prospects in the country — a veritable who’s who of 4 and 5-star talent from the 2013, 2014 and 2015 signing classes.

The way head coach Jimbo Fisher sees it, these Florida State defensive linemen are the next wave — the guys who will make their way onto the covers of magazines and onto the stage at the NFL Draft in the coming years.

They just need their opportunity to step up and prove they’re the next in line.[hr]