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FSU's Pender a potential 'impact newcomer'

Travis Haney's debut piece for ESPN.com this week looks at potential impact newcomersInsider among early enrollees this spring.

Florida State running back Mario Pender makes the five-man list, as his legal hurdle has been cleared and spring ball is underway.

The freshman from Cape Coral, Fla., arrives at a good time, considering the running back position at Florida State is about as unsettled as it could be. The Seminoles rotated about a half-dozen players through last season without finding anyone to seize the primary gig (FSU ranked 105th in the nation in 2011 in yards per carry).

Injuries to veteran Chris Thompson and 2011 leading rusher Devonta Freeman, as well as James Wilder's suspension for a February arrest, have opened the door wider this spring for Pender.

That said, he's still learning. He didn't receive nearly as many carries as expected in a scrimmage this past Saturday. There's ample time for advancement in this wide-open race for Pender, who averaged an eye-popping 11.9 yards a carry during his senior season at Island Coast High School.