As part of our 2012 season review, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC this season, from no. 25 to no. 1. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof, obviously — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.
Senior Tank Carradine wasn’t supposed to be a starter this season. That was Brandon Jenkins‘s job. Or it was until he was injured in the Seminoles’ first game, ending his year far too soon. As a result, Carradine, long considered the “best backup defensive end in the country” finally got his chance to show his stuff in a major role, while also benefiting from playing opposite superstar Bjoern Werner. In 11 games (10 starting), the senior wreaked absolute havoc at the line, tallying 80 tackles (high for a D-lineman) along with 11 sacks. It made it virtually impossible to stop the FSU pass-rush with Werner and Carradine coming at teams from both sides, and with two different styles of pursuit. While Werner was utilizing his speed to get to the backfield, Carradine was all about pure force. Though he’s still only projected to be a third-round pick at the Draft (some scouts are concerned about his durability after he was injured in his own season as a starter), there’s a lot of potential for the 6’5″ end to grow his skillset even further at the next level. If there’s a run on D-linemen, he could jump to the second round and serve as a great steal for some lucky team.