#38 Florida State Football 2019 Preview

Florida State Seminoles
Overall Rank: #38
#5 ACC
 Florida State Logo
Florida State had their first losing season since 1976. That was not the debut season Coach Willie Taggart was hoping for. The question now is whether or not the new system is going to pay off in 2019 and down the line. The Seminoles need to make some progress, but that should not be a problem with an offense that is being built to score a ton of points.
2018 Record: 5-7, 3-5
2018 Bowl: None
Coach: Willie Taggart (5-7 at Florida State, 52-57 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kendal Briles
Defensive Coordinator: Harlon Barnett
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Cam Akers, RB, 706 yards
Passing: James Blackman, QB, 510 yards
Receiving: Tamorrion Terry, WR, 744 yards
Tackles: Hamsah Nasirildeen, LB, 91
Sacks: Marvin Wilson, DT, 3.5
Interceptions: Stanford Samuels, DB, 4
Other Key Returnees: WR Keith Gavin, WR DJ Matthews, TE Tre McKitty, LB Dontavious Jackson, S Jaiden Lars-Woodbey, K Ricky Aguayo
Key Losses: QB Deondre Francois, RB Jacques Patrick, WR Nyquan Murray, OL Alec Eberle, DE Brian Burns, DT Demarcus Christmas, S AJ Westbrook
The lack of depth on the offensive line killed the Seminoles offense last season. There are more options now, but Coach Taggart also brought in a lot of new staff on that side of the ball. Most notable is offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, who will push the tempo and keep the FSU offense moving. James Blackman will step back into the starting role which he occupied in 2017. Last season Blackman started one game and threw for 510 yards and five touchdowns. The wide receiver corps is young, but quite talented. Tamorrion Terry is the best of the bunch after catching 35 passes for 744 yards and eight touchdowns. He will continue to be a big play threat. Cam Akers should benefit greatly from more consistency on the line. He rushed for over a 1,000 yards as a freshman, but took a step back last season.
The defense had some trouble last year too, but most of the key components are back to give FSU hope. Coordinator Harlon Barnett has also shuffled quite a few players around in an effort to get the most out of a very talented group. The most excitement is at linebacker where Dontavious Jackson returns after recording 75 tackles and 7.0 tackles-for-loss. He will be joined by “Star” linebacker Hamsah Nasirildeen who tallied a team high 91 tackles. Those two are a huge reason why FSU should be drastically improved in their run defense. The secondary returns three starters, but will need to get a little luckier when it comes to creating turnovers.
The Bottom Line:
This will be a very interesting Florida State team. After last year the expectations are down, but nobody expects the Seminoles to miss out on a bowl again. However, the FSU faithful will quickly expect the worst should they lose the opener against Boise State. The schedule is not particularly easy after that either with conference play on September 14th against a Virginia squad that has hopes of winning the Coastal Division. A 1-2 start is possible. That may not send Florida State into a tailspin, but it would certainly worry their fans.
Projected Bowl: Sun Bowl
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 91.1 (126th in nation, 14th in conference)
Passing Offense: 270.1 (28, 3)
Total Offense: 361.2 (102, 12)
Scoring Offense: 21.9 (112, 13)
Rushing Defense: 147.7 (48, 5)
Pass Defense: 268.7 (119, 14)
Total Defense: 416.3 (80, 9)
Scoring Defense: 31.5 (90, 11)
Turnover Margin: -0.92 (123, 13)
Sacks: 2.33 (50, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 3.00 (111, 13)
Madness 2020 NFL Draft Rankings:
#64 Stanford Samuels
Madness 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#46 Akeem Dent
#83 Brendan Gant
#139 Dontae Lucas
#170 Jaleel McRae
#193 Travis Jay