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2016 Fierce 40 Previews: #4 Florida State

by DJ Boyer on Aug. 23, 2016

#4 Florida State Seminoles

2015 Recap:
A 10-3 season after the loss of Jameis Winston is far from a bad season but Florida State did drop their Peach Bowl 38-24 against Houston. Florida State was also not in the ACC Title Game, the first time that has happened since 2011.


Coaching:
In six years leading the Seminoles Jimbo Fisher has amassed an incredible 68-14 record for a .829 winning percentage, only Nick Saban has a higher winning percentage over that span. Randy Sanders leads the Seminole offense while Charles Kelly leads a very physical defense.


Offense

The focus has been on quarterback play for the last few seasons at Florida State and it started with the arrtival of Jameis Winston. After Winston left to be the top pick in the NFL Draft the focus shifted towards Everett Golson leaving Notre Dame for a year with the Seminoles. Golson is now gone and it looks like Deondra Francois is the latest freshman phenom to take over the Seminoles but it's time the focal point on offense shifted. Dalvin Cook posted one of the most incredible seasons ever by a Seminole running back and he was the reason why the Seminoles were 10-3 with some uneven quarterback play along the way. Cook missed a considerable amount of times and still nearly wound up with 1,700 yards on the ground and 19 rushing touchdowns. The line was even a little beat up through injury but there is plenty of beef and talent heading into the seaosn. Roderick Johnson looks like a potential top five overall selection and top offensive tackle off the board if he declares for this Draft. In all four starters return along the line to block for Cook, Jacques Patrick and Freddie Stevenson. Travis Rudolph and Jesus Wilson form a deadly starting wide receiver combo with taleneted Ryan Izzo at tight end. It might take a some time for Francois to get up to speed but this will be one of the better offensive attacks in the stronger ACC.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Roderick Johnson OT 1st Round 2017 (Early Declaration and potential top 10 pick).

                                       Dalvin Cook RB 2nd Round 2017 (Early Declaration).


Defense

Florida State finished a very respectable 9th in the nation in scoring defense (17.5 PPG) and 19th in total defense. Florida State will still be one of the conferences best defensive units even after losing studs like Jalen Ramsay, Reggie Northrup and Terrence Smith. DeMarcus Walker stepped up along the line a year ago and he surprised many by coming back to Tallahassee for his senior season. The big defesive end registered 58 tackles with 15 coming for loss and 10.5 sacks, all near the top of the conference for defensive lineman in the ACC. The next dominant lineman may be sophomore tackle Demarcus Christmas who gets his turn in the starting rotation. The linebacker play is where the most concern lies with this defense as Terrence Smith will prove hard to replace as he was all over the football field. Derwin James should follow ramsay towards the NFL as the sophomore looks like a defenisve star as his 91 tackles from a season ago is top for returning players. Florida State once again will feature athletes in the secondary that are interchangable at safety and cornerback, often causing confusion for opposing offenses.

Best Draft Prospects: DeMarcus Walker DE 1st/2nd Round 2017.

                                      Derwin James S 1st Round 2018 (Early Declaration).


Special Teams:

Aguayo will be kicking field goals for Florida State, jusy not the Aguayo you are expecting. Roberto Aguayo left school early and went in the 2nd Round, selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now younger brother Ricky Aguayo will be kicking for Florida State. Florida State also has a new punter as Logan Tyler will take over for Cason Beatty. Kermit Whitfield and Jesus Wilson will be the respective kickoff and punt returners.


Schedule:

Florida State will play in one of the most intruguing games in the opening week of the NCAA season as they will face #5 Ole Miss in Orlando. Louisville will be the first road game and the Cardinals are a legitimate ACC title threat. The ACC title finalists last season, North Carolina and Clemson will both be teams that have to come to Tallahassee. If the quarterback play is stable this is a team that can win the ACC and qualify for the BCS Playoffs.



Draft and Overall Outlook:

Florida State and their prospects from a draft standpoint is as healthy as ever. Florida State may have more players drafted over the next five years than any other school at the FBS level. The overall outlook this season will depend upon the level of quarterback play and keeping the offensive line healthy, something they could not do as a unit in 2015.

DJ Boyer