Biggest shoes to fill: Florida State

Our series continues today with Florida State, which returns nine starters on defense. The Noles won't be missing much on D when it comes to starting experience, but they will be losing the anchor of the defense ...

OUT: LB Nigel Bradham. He was a three-year starter at weakside linebacker and became the first Seminole since consensus All-American Marvin Jones (1990-92) to lead FSU in tackles three consecutive seasons. He finished 2011 with 86 total tackles for a four-year total of 306. He also had 21.5 career tackles for loss. He led the Seminoles with nine tackles in their 18-14 Champs Sports Bowl win over Notre Dame, including his second interception of the season, which led to FSU’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Bradham finished with 39 career starts, including his final 37 games.

IN: Telvin Smith and Christian Jones. They’re both versatile enough to line up in either position, but Jones was a first-year starter at strongside linebacker last year and Smith was a backup in the middle. Jones was third on the team with 56 tackles last year and had six TFLs, three sacks, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles. Over the last six games of the 2011 regular season, Smith emerged as a playmaker. He got his first start of the season against Wake Forest. Smith played in 12 games and 42 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, three sacks, an interception, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Regardless of where they line up, Smith and Jones will be two of the Noles’ three best linebackers in 2012.