#5 Florida State Football 2016 Preview

Florida State Seminoles
Overall Rank: #5
#2 ACC
Florida State was in rebuilding mode last season, yet still finished 10-3 with a trip to the Peach Bowl. But other than the season finale at Florida, the Seminoles failed to win their toughest contests. They lost at Georgia Tech 22-16 and lost at Clemson 23-13. FSU also lost the Peach Bowl to Houston 38-24. With a much more experienced team, not to mention both Clemson and Florida have to come to Tallahassee, Florida State will have much more confidence to win those big games this year.
2015 Record: 10-3, 6-2
2015 Bowl: Peach Bowl vs. Houston (L 24-38)
Coach: Jimbo Fisher (68-14 at Florida State, 68-14 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Lawrence Dawsey, Randy Sanders
Defensive Coordinator: Charles Kelly
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Dalvin Cook, RB, 1,691 yards
Passing: Sean Maguire, QB, 1,520 yards
Receiving: Travis Rudolph, WR, 916 yards
Tackles: Derwin James, S, 91
Sacks: DeMarcus Walker, DE, 10.5
Interceptions: DeMarcus Walker, DE, 1; John Sweat, LB, 1; Marquez White, CB, 1
Other Key Returnees: RB Jacques Patrick, WR Kermit Whitfield, WR Jesus Wilson, TE Ryan Izzo, OL Roderick Johnson, LB Ro’Derrick Hoskins, DL Derrick Nnadi
Key Losses: QB Everett Golson, DT Nile Lawrence-Stample, LB Reggie Northrup, LB Terrance Smith, CB Jalen Ramsey, S Lamarcus Brutus, K Roberto Aguayo
There may not be a better pass rushing duo in the entire country than DeMarcus Walker and Josh Sweat. Walker, who flirted with entering the NFL before returning for his senior season, recorded 10.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles-for-loss last season. Sweat tallied just 2.0 sacks, but he was just a freshman in 2015 and is poised for a huge year. Linebacker may be a bit of a problem spot for the defense. Reggie Northrup and Terrance Smith are gone. Ro’Derrick Hoskins will step into a leadership role after starting six games last season. There is talent around, most notably juniors Jacob Pugh and Matthew Thomas. The secondary needs to replace cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who was an All-American, but there are not too many concerns since Florida State has so much talent waiting to step up. Marquez White will be the new top cornerback and sophomores Tarvarus McFadden and Marcus Lewis are competing for the other spot. Nate Andrews, Trey Marshall and Derwin James will start at the rest of the secondary spots. James had an absolutely amazing freshman campaign, tallying 91 tackles including 4.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles-for-loss.
In order to reach the national championship, Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois must be ready to lead the way. The Seminoles do return Sean Maguire, who threw for 1,520 yards and 11 touchdowns in eight games last season, but they want to hand Francois the reigns to the offense and see what he can do. The pressure is not particularly high on Francois since he has so much talent around him. Receivers Travis Rudolph, Jacques Patrick, Kermit Whitfield and Jesus Wilson are all back. More importantly, Florida State will not even have to go to the air all that much thanks to Dalvin Cook. Cook rushed for 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns during his sophomore season and the Seminoles can ride Cook as much as they need to in 2016. Jacques Patrick, who rushed for 314 yards on just 63 carries, should be able to shoulder more of the load this year in an effort to keep Cook fresh and healthy.
The Bottom Line:
The Seminoles have some tough games this year, starting with a game against Ole Miss in Orlando. That will be a tough debut for Francois. Two weeks later, the Seminoles head to Louisville for a very tough road opener for Francois and company. If FSU can manage that early schedule, which includes a trip to Miami, the season will come down to the home game against Clemson on October 29th. The possibility is there for a perfect regular season, but the defense has to live up to their potential again and the offense, including the passing game, will have to make some big plays and big moments for that to happen.
Projected Bowl: Orange Bowl
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 168.2 (69th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 255.8 (38, 4)
Total Offense: 424.0 (51, 4)
Scoring Offense: 31.7 (47, 4)
Rushing Defense: 145.3 (37, 4)
Pass Defense: 191.6 (21, 5)
Total Defense: 336.9 (19, 4)
Scoring Defense: 17.5 (9, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (66, 7)
Sacks: 2.46 (35, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (58, 8)
Madness 2017 NFL Draft Rankings:
#3 Roderick Johnson
#16 Dalvin Cook
#45 DeMarcus Walker
Madness 2016 Recruit Rankings:
#6 Levonta Taylor
#31 Malik Henry
#43 Baveon Johnsom
#56 Landon Dickerson
#61 Brian Burns
#87 Shavar Manuel