WR Craphonso Thorpe

2002 Statistics

Coach: Bobby Bowden
27 years, 259-64-4
2002 Record: 9-5
Iowa State WON 38-31
at Maryland WON 37-10
DUKE WON 48-17
at Louisville LOST 20-26 (OT)
at Miami FL LOST 27-28
at Wake Forest WON 34-21
at Georgia Tech WON 21-13
at NC State LOST 7-17
Georgia LOST 13-26

2002 Final Rankings
AP-21, Coaches-23, BCS-14

2003 Outlook

Fans, media, and opponents have already ear marked the decline of Florida State football. That is, if you consider an ACC title and 8-4 type seasons to be devastating. Anyone involved with the program can tell you it is. 2003 will be no different when it comes to standing up to the competition - the Seminoles face possibly the toughest schedule in the nation, bar none. Non-conference opponents Colorado, Notre Dame, Miami, and Florida outline the list. If that wasn't enough, this is possibly the toughest ACC the Noles have yet faced. Quite a daunting task to foresee any team in the Top 5 at the end of the year with that type of situation. If they do make it that high, they'll have earned it. The best recommendation for FSU is to first concentrate on another conference title, as national aspirations will prove too daunting-a-goal at this point without some luck.

Some feel the reasons for FSU's decline still remains with the coaches. Well documented is the fact that coaches such as Mark Richt and Chuck Amato have moved on to successful careers elsewhere, leaving some vacancies that were quietly filled with inexperience from within. Bobby Bowden was the first to state years ago that the reasons for his triumphs were a result of surrounding himself with great coaches. At present, this staff is taking serious heat. Bowden has always proved to be loyal to his understudies, a case that may prove to be his downfall. Take this team back to the 90s and you really cannot see much difference when analyzing and comparing the talent. It all comes down to coaching that talent.

With a (finally) much-improved defense, expect the Seminoles to again be right in the thick of the 2003 ACC crown. They may not be favored this time around in many preseason predictions, but, at the same time, the championship will still go through Doak Campbell Stadium. 2003 marks a very crucial season for the balancing seesaw of Nole success. "The talent is certainly there", remains the same ole adage.

Projected 2003 record: 9-3
LB Michael Boulware
QB Chris Rix
C David Castillo
DE Chauncey Davis
RB Lorenzo Booker
QB - 4 DL - 4.5
RB - 4.5 LB - 4.5
WR - 4 DB - 3.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Chris Rix, 225-118-7, 1684 yds., 13 TD's

Rushing: Greg Jones, 161 att., 938 yds., 8 TD's

Receiving: Craphonso Thorpe, 17 rec., 377 yds., 4 TD's

Scoring: Xavier Beitia, 19-28 FG, 51-51 PAT, 108 pts.

Punting: Chris Hall, 2 punts, 35.0 avg.

Kicking: Xavier Beitia, 19-28 FG, 51-51 PAT, 108 pts.

Tackles: Kendyll Pope, 131 tot., 68 solo

Sacks: Travis Johnson, 4 sacks; Kevin Emanuel, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Stanford Samuels, 3 for 91 yds.

Kickoff returns: Leon Washington, 13 ret., 28.3 avg.

Punt returns: Leon Washington, 34 ret., 11.5 avg.


OFFENSE: Nick Maddox-TB, Robert Morgan-WR, Talman Gardner-WR, Patrick Hughes-TE, Brett Williams-OT, Todd Williams-OG, Antoine Mirambeau-C, Montrae Holland-OG, Adrian McPherson-QB (dismissed), Anquan Boldin-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Alonzo Jackson-DE, Jerel Hudson-MLB, Chance Gwaltney-P

written by Todd Helmick

Who's on first? What's on second? These just may be the questions asked in Tallahassee when discussing the QB situation. The signs point to Chris Rix once again, who had a very promising end to the 2001 season as a redshirt freshman. Hopes mounted for a three-year dynasty from the California native. Then, Rix hit a stretch starting in late September (2002) that culminated in losing three out of four starts, the last being a TO-marred defeat to Notre Dame, costing Chris the job. Replacement Adrian McPherson's off-the-field problems offered Rix another shot. After getting the job done in a victory, he missed a final exam and was ruled ineligible for the Sugar Bowl (enter #3 option Fabian Walker). In summation, there is presently a QB puzzle that needs to be figured out and put together.

Rix will now have to take snaps without the services of his top pass catching seniors (Boldin, Gardner, and Morgan). FSU enjoys operating with multiple receiver sets. This system will be difficult for offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden to employ knowing new, unproven faces will have to step up. This may be the first year in quite some time that FSU doesn't have a large array of proven wideouts from which they can choose. Highly touted recruit Chris Davis sat out 2002 as a true freshman after tearing knee ligaments. His return will be crucial, as will any other emerging names to provide the #3-5 receivers. It is wide open at this point… we will keep you updated on this area. The top WR candidate is Craphonso Thorpe, who has superb ability, but has been slowed with a foot injury. Another name fans will get to know better is Dominic Robinson. The #1 rated CB out of high school has been switched to receiver in hopes of carrying some of this load. Thorpe and Robinson give FSU the two playmakers once again on paper. Experience is short, however, as is time.

The most potent unit for the Seminoles on either side of the ball will be at RB. Monster Greg Jones (6-1, 248) returns after bowling over opponents until a knee injury ended his ten-game 2002 season. Had it not been for the knee, Jones most likely would have chosen early entry into the NFL. Two other young athletes that should make life easier in the depth department will be TB Leon Washington (Mr. Florida Football) and Lorenzo Booker (nation's top RB out of California). But who will pave the way for this trio?

The biggest losses exist on the OL as four out of five starters were seniors. This will put FSU in a serious pickle if a competent front wall cannot be reformed. FSU has had problems in the past living up to expectations with top rated groups. Now one must be developed with new faces in new places. The leadership has to start with tackle Ray Willis, who may be the most underrated OT in America. The Noles cannot afford to have him outshine the other linemen by large margins.

Why FSU continually fails to utilize its FB and TE is anyone's guess - both are basically wasted positions (as offensive weapons) and have been for years. Don't look for that to alter much as the roster is void of playmakers for these slots.

Overall depth will be an issue. If the recent injury bug has its way, FSU could struggle offensively. The Noles are no strangers to athleticism on this side of the ball. Claims that talent does not remain are false. The biggest question - can this coaching staff get the offense playing together with so much inexperience? This answer will be the critical difference between a Top 10 finish and another 4-5-loss disappointment.


TB Greg Jones


Returning Starters in bold
QB Chris Rix-Jr (6-4, 205) Fabian Walker-Jr (6-2, 216) / Wyatt Sexton-Fr
FB B.J. Dean-So (5-11, 256) Torrance Washington-So (6-1, 245)
TB Greg Jones-Sr (6-1, 248) Leon Washington-So (5-9, 190) / Lo. Booker-Fr
WR P.K. Sam-Jr (6-3, 195) Chauncey Stovall-Jr (6-2, 215)
WR Craphonso Thorpe-Jr (6-2, 175) Dominic Robinson-Jr (6-1, 200)
TE Paul Irons-Jr (6-2, 250) Matt Henshaw-So (6-4, 209)
OT Alex Barron-Jr (6-6, 316) Corey Niblock-Fr (6-4, 300)
OG Matt Meinrod-Fr (6-4, 297) Matt Heinz-So (6-4, 273)
C David Castillo-Jr (6-2, 300) Andrew Henry-Kennon-So (6-4, 308)
OG Bobby Meeks-Jr (6-3, 295) Eric Broe-So (6-6, 327)
OT Ray Willis-Jr (6-6, 295) Ron Lunford-So (6-5, 345)
K Xavier Beitia-Jr (5-10, 210) ..



written by Todd Helmick

The DL is bolstered by the return of Darnell Dockett on the inside. FSU has shown solid ability to stop the run and that trend looks to continue with heavy playmakers Travis Johnson and Jeff Womble in the rotation. On the outside, FSU is blessed with depth at DE. Why this group has not been able to bring pressure is a mystery with guys like Eric Moore and Kevin Emmanuel. But a name that should emerge on that list is Kansas native Kamerion Wimbley. Look for bigger and better situations in the rush department. After the three above inside men, depth is limited and could prove fatal unless some new names emerge. This is FSU's biggest weakness, knowing the lack of depth here can start a domino affect if a team can easily run up the middle.

The LB's may be one of the best units in the south. Leading tackler Kendyll Pope teams with senior Michael Boulware (second leading tackler) to give the Noles a great one-two outside-punch. There have been rumors that Boulware wanted to return for his senior year to play strong safety, which could get very interesting. A wealth of young talent exists at LB, which could possibly pave the way for such a switch (Nicholson, McGrew, Davis, and Hardage). On the other hand, FSU has also failed to locate a dominating MLB.

For two years (running), the defense has been the main reason for the unfamiliar won/loss standings. At times, any opposing QB could have had their way passing the ball all day. No pass rush and no pass coverage equaled a very un-Nole-like 85th ranked pass defense. Need we say more? Before you write this group off for 2003, 10 of 11 starters return to a defense that displayed some positive signs with defensive success(es) at year's end, paving the way for brighter hopes. The entire secondary is a concern until they solidify.

Everyone in Seminole Country will hold their breath once again with the same DB's that have dotted the depth charts for three straight seasons. Though a veteran group, most of the college football world is still living in a "Show Me State" concerning their play, meaning results have proven little worth of this secondary. Most folks are still scratching their heads considering this group is coached by one of the all-time bests in Mickey Andrews. FSU has not possessed a lock down corner for some time. This is the year Bryant McFadden must step up and prove his highly rated recruiting status was not a joke. Returning starters Samuels and Brown still hold the starting roles for now. At the safety spots, two heralded youngsters who appear to be improving with each play are Jerome Carter and Pat Watkins. How far they keep developing will be the bone of contention.

The Seminoles will undoubtedly field a better defense, but how much is that really saying? The schemes have been some of the worst to date since the great run started in the late-1980s. FSU has gone from a total bump-and-run pressure defense to a sit-back-on-your heels-and-react approach. The results have been a far cry from the days of winning championships. If pressure cannot be found from the DEs and/or better blitzing schemes, opposing QBs will continue to give Mickey Andrews fits. However, do not be surprised if this group turns out to be a vital source of victories…the best it has been in three years. A wide range of possible defensive quality is already sending tremors through Tallahassee.


DT Darnell Dockett


Returning Starters in bold
DE Kevin Emanuel-Sr (6-4, 240) Kamerion Wimbley-So (6-4, 225)
DT Darnell Dockett-Sr (6-4, 280) Broderick Bunkley-So (6-3, 260)
DT Travis Johnson-Jr (6-5, 275) Jeff Womble-Sr (6-3, 290)
DE Eric Moore-Jr (6-4, 245) Willie Jones-Jr (6-1, 234) / Chauncey Davis-Jr
SLB Michael Boulware-Sr (6-3, 220) Ray Piquion-So (6-0, 215)
MLB Allen Augustin-Sr (6-1, 206) Sam McGrew-So (6-3, 230)
WLB Kendyll Pope-Sr (6-2, 220) A.J. Nicholson-So (6-2, 232)
CB Stanford Samuels-Sr (5-10, 190) Leroy Smith-Jr (5-10, 190)
CB Rufus Brown-Sr (5-9, 185) Bryant McFadden-Jr (6-0, 182)
ROV Jerome Carter-Jr (6-0, 216) Kyler Hall-Jr (6-1, 190)
FS B.J. Ward-Jr (6-3, 210) Pat Watkins-So (6-4, 195)
P Chris Hall-So (5-10, 204) ..




Just when most felt the days of "Wide Right" were over with new sensation Xavier Beitia at kicker, in sneaks a "Wide Left". But don't hold that against this promising youngster. Beitia has clearly helped to lessen FSU's recent problems. Look for Xavier to be one of the leagues best before he departs. Punting may be another story as Second Team All-ACC honoree Chance Gwaltney is gone. The job looks to be an open market, although Chris Hall holds the position for now.

Their quality-return-man drought may be over as sophomore Leon Washington led the team in both the punt and kick return departments with some outlandish numbers and breakaway abilities. Keep an eye on this one.

The Noles coverage teams blanketed opponents in 2002. Their 33.3 yards-per-punt net average raises some concern, though. Good field position is NOT something this marginal Nole squad can afford to squander.


Chris Rix has improved this spring and is starting to win back some of Bowden's praise (won Spring MVP). Making a strong case for backup is Wyatt Sexton (son of RB Coach Billy Sexton)… Dominic Robinson's switch to receiver is going better than anybody had expected. His addition will bring back the reliable playmaker the 'Noles desperately need on the outside. Fellow WR Chris Davis has also rippled the waters, noted for consistently getting behind defensive backs and hauling in TD catches… RB talent Lorenzo Booker, who will look to team with Greg Jones and Leon Washington as one of the better 1-2-3 punches in college football, sprained his ankle late in spring practice. Not to worry though - he says he'll be ready to go come August. Bowden says, "he can make a three-yard run look like an All-American highlight." Greg Jones (who led the ACC in rushing before blowing out his knee) is expected to be ready for the opener against UNC. Greg has been working hard through rehab, but still needs to shed some of his current 251 pounds before putting on the pads. A 251-pound tailback? As for the Noles depleted OL, a new leader has been emerging in center David Castillo, who was named most outstanding offensive player this spring.

The 'Noles have some serious depth at LB. Bowden sang the praises of four backups this spring, namely McGrew, Nicholson, Piquion and freshman Buster Davis. These four, teaming with two Butkus candidate starters, make this group one of the stronger units in the nation. Keep a special eye on Davis. Michael Boulware sat out most of spring drills after getting his shoulder scoped… With a great spring, expect Kamerion Wimbley to pose a serious challenge for Eric Moore at the vacated DE spot. He and (spring) defensive MVP Chauncey Davis, combine to give the 'Noles six high-maintenance ends… DT Darnell Dockett appears to have his legal matters cleared up and should now be available for the start of August practice. Whether or not he is suspended for a few games is still up in the air. Darnell already served a one game suspension in last January's Sugar Bowl…The other big gun at DT, Travis Johnson, still has not cleared up his legal problems. Under FSU rules, he cannot participate until the matter is resolved.