Report: FSU's Mario Edwards Jr. intends to enter 2015 draft

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It appears Florida State is about to lose another talented underclassman.

Seminoles defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. is set to forgo his senior season and apply for early entry into the 2015 NFL Draft, according to an ESPN report.

He joins cornerback P.J. Williams among the Seminoles who intend to leave early for the NFL this year, with announcements on decisions still to come from quarterback Jameis Winston and other FSU players before the Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen to declare.

Edwards, a 6-foot-3, 294-pounder, arrived on campus as the No. 1 overall recruit in 2012 and became a key part of Florida State's run to a national title during the 2013 season as one of the nation's toughest players to block. While he has not lived up to the early hype when it comes to rushing the passer, the athletic defensive end is stout against the run and has the size to play just about any spot along the line.

"He can play D-tackle, he can play D-end, he can play a 9-technique, he can play a 7- or a 6-[technique]," Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said prior to the start of the 2014 season. "The guy is 305 pounds and can stand still and do back flips in front of you in full pads? I mean, he's athletic."

The 2014 season was a bit of a struggle for Edwards, though, as he battled injuries and sometimes failed to make a consistent impact. The FSU star was held completely in check against Oregon left tackle Jake Fisher in the Rose Bowl and was not credited with a single statistic in the final box score.

Still, Edwards' rare combination of size, speed, and ability to set the edge makes him an intriguing prospect and one that could follow in the footsteps of Ravens defensive tackle and former FSU lineman Timmy Jernigan in becoming an early round pick.

Edwards finished his 2014 campaign with 23 tackles, three sacks and one pass breakup. He is the son of former Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Mario Edwards Sr., who is currently a staff member at Florida State.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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