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The Early Read: Mario Edwards Jr. Coming on Strong Down the Stretch

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Last spring the Earth shook for a moment in Tallahassee when the number one recruit in the country announced on the morning of national signing day that he would be a Florida State Seminole. Mario's father had played at FSU in the 1990's as a defensive back, and now the 18 year-old defensive end would be following in his footsteps.

Then earlier this year came the news he would redshirt.

Behind a trio of Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine, and with Giorgio Newberry and Toshmon Stevens sandwiched between Edwards Jr. and fellow freshman Chris Casher, there was little reason to waste a year of eligiblity for either of the two. 

Funny what can change over a season.

With Brandon Jenkins' injury, the redshirt quickly came off for both Edwards and Casher. Casher was lost for the season a couple weeks later. And now Edwards has begun to play himself into the rotation at End.

"He's ready, he's playing very well, his weight's down. He's been playing much better in practice, more physical in the run," said Jimbo Fisher yesterday morning. "We've got to keep getting those reps up."

"He's starting to get in that rotation and we've got to keep that rotation going because as [the year goes on] and you start those guys the bodies break down. And he's really starting to emerge out, do some very nice things in practice."

Edwards saw increased reps in Saturday's win over BC and played well.

"Sometimes those young guys need to understand draws," joked Jimbo Fisher. "They all want to get up the field, but you've got to read it."

"But he played solid, did a nice job."

Edwards will become more savvy with experience, but once again playing into the age old coach's adage that it's a long year, where some fans were beginning to fear Edwards could transfer out of FSU for lack of early playing time at the outset of the season, at the midway point he's beginning to break out and have an impact for the Seminoles. 

Freshmen like Edwards and DT Eddie Goldman seem to be getting acclimated and are coming on down the stretch. That's a good sign for an already deep unit and should give Florida State plenty of confidence, even as they are likely to lose both starting ends after the season.

Check back later today, I'm going to have lots more coming on the blog as I finish player interviews. Besides it's Miami week, where else would you go for coverage of the 'Noles and 'Canes?

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