So the AP has come out with their coveted pre-season All American honors, and we at F.F.I. were struck by something glaring. On the offensive list of first and second teamers, there’s not a single player from the Sunshine State. Not one.
After years and years of having names like Tim Tebow, Jameis Winston, Clinton Portis, Percy Harvin and Dalvin Cook don those coveted squads, you would come to expect them to just be there.
Yet, the AP put out the docket Tuesday with names like USC QB Sam Darnold, Penn State RB Saquon Barkley on the first team and Louisville QB Lamar Jackson and Alabama WR Calvin Ridley showing out on the second team.
But, again the list not having names like QB Deondre Francois of Florida State, RB Mark Walton at Miami and WR Antonio Callaway of Florida said more to us. It’s not that those players aren’t talented, but their “street cred” doesn’t rise to the level that it used to, flowing freely earlier this decade, etc.
And, this doesn’t even account for a player like USF’s Quinton Flowers, who while tremendously talented, doesn’t play in a “Power Five” conference and will have to gain attention with stellar play, as the season goes on.
Sure, FSU’s Derwin James is largely regarded as the best defensive player returning for 2017, and he and his secondary teammate Tavarus McFadden are both on the first team preseason. And corner Duke Dawson of the Gators got in, as a second teamer from the AP, also.
Still, defensive backs don’t touch the ball and have constant highlight reel plays like the skill position guys for all of us to salivate over.
And we at F.F.I. understand that preseason polls and lists are there to generate debate and even arguing before the games are actually played. Still, we long for those debates to be about the Tebows and Winstons being greater than their Big Ten or Pac-12 counterparts.
However, with the talent level and notoriety of Florida State, Florida, USF, and Miami for the 2017 season, those days will likely be back next August, too.