#4 Florida State Football 2017 Preview


Florida State Seminoles


Overall Rank: #4

#1 ACC

Florida State had a challenging start to the 2016 season as they struggled early against Ole Miss before rallying to win in the season opener. Then, the Seminoles followed that up two weeks later by getting destroyed by Lamar Jackson and Louisville 63-20. The loss to the Cardinals was embarrassing for a program like Florida State and they did eventually recover. They recovered well enough to win ten games, including a 33-32 Orange Bowl win over Michigan. A loaded defense will lead the Seminoles into 2017 as fans in Tallahassee are anxiously awaiting the season opener against Alabama on September 2nd.
2016 Record: 10-3, 5-3
2016 Bowl: Orange Bowl vs. Michigan (W 33-32)
Coach: Jimbo Fisher (78-17 at Florida State, 78-17 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Lawrence Dawsey, Randy Sanders
Defensive Coordinator: Charles Kelly
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jacques Patrick, RB, 350 yards
Passing: Deondre Francois, QB, 3,350 yards
Receiving: Nyqwan Murray, WR, 441 yards
Tackles: Matthew Thomas, LB, 77
Sacks: Brian Burns, DE, 9.5
Interceptions: Tarvarus McFadden, CB, 8
Other Key Returnees: C Alec Eberle, RG Landon Dickerson, RT Brock Ruble, DE Josh Sweat, DT Derrick Nnadi, DT Demarcus Christmas, LB Ro’Derrick Hoskins, LB Jacob Pugh, FS Derwin James, K Ricky Aguayo, P Logan Tyler
Key Losses: RB Dalvin Cook, DE, DeMarcus Walker, WR Travis Rudolph, LT Rod Johnson, CB Marquez White, FB Freddie Stevenson, WR James “Bobo” Wilson
Deondre Francois had a very strong redshirt freshman season considering how much he was beaten up by opposing defenses. Francois threw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdown passes in his first season under center. Now the challenge for Francois heading into the 2017 season will be to take an even bigger role in leading the offense as he will be without running back Dalvin Cook and his top wide receiver Travis Rudolph. In addition, Francois is going to have to make quicker decisions with the football in the passing game. The offensive line is going to have to rebuild and could very well be a turnstile in regard to pass protection. Nyqwan Murray should be the next star receiver for the Seminoles as he showed flashes of his potential in the Orange Bowl win over Michigan. Running the football should not be a huge problem for Florida State despite losing Cook. Freshman Cam Akers and junior Jacques Patrick have the potential to be very dangerous in 2017.
There is work to be done as far as replacing the lost sack production and leadership of defensive end DeMarcus Walker, who has moved on to the NFL. Josh Sweat and Brian Burns are back and will need to relentlessly attack off the edge to contain mobile quarterbacks like Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson, especially after letting Jackson run wild last September. Derwin James is back at free safety and, if he is fully healthy and back to his pre knee injury form, this defense for the Seminoles will be salty all year long. Tarvarus McFadden and his eight interceptions from 2016 are back at cornerback in 2017. McFadden will probably see plenty of action against Calvin Ridley in the Alabama game, which will provide college football fans with a great battle between two outstanding players.
The Bottom Line:
After playing the Crimson Tide in the opener in Atlanta, the schedule doesn’t let up too much as Miami and North Carolina State come to Tallahassee in September. These two games won’t be easy as the Hurricanes and Wolfpack have excellent defensive fronts that will challenge the heck out of a rebuilding offensive line. Louisville will visit on October 21st and that game against the Cardinals will be a great opportunity to see how much the defense learned from last years debacle at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. In the month of November, a road trip to Death Valley to play Clemson to decide the ACC Atlantic Division title will be another giant test for the Seminoles. That game will boil down to which defensive line can dominate the line of scrimmage as the Tigers are loaded along the defensive line just like Florida State. In the end, a trip to the College Football Playoff is very likely for the Seminoles as long they win the ACC and only have one close loss on their resume.
Projected Bowl: Sugar Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 202.3 (40th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 264.1 (33, 6)
Total Offense: 466.4 (25, 3)
Scoring Offense: 35.1 (31, 4)
Rushing Defense: 128.0 (21, 5))
Pass Defense: 221.1 (57, 7)
Total Defense: 349.1 (22, 6)
Scoring Defense: 25.0 (44, 9)
Turnover Margin: 0.23 (42, 5)
Sacks: 3.92 (1, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.77 (106, 10)
Madness 2018 NFL Draft Rankings:
#2 Derwin James
#12 Tarvarus McFadden
#36 Josh Sweat
#83 Derrick Nnadi
Madness 2017 Recruit Rankings:
#3        Cam Akers
#4        Marvin Wilson
#7        Josh Kaindoh 
#26      Khalan Laborn
#32      Stanford Samuels
#34      D.J. Matthews
#84      Cyrus Fagan
#109    Hamsah Nasirildeen
#134    Ja'len Parks
#238    Leonard Warner