The off season praise continues for Florida State’s Derwin James. It’s just the rest of the state that is lagging behind in national recognition. He heads the Sports Illustrated recently released list of its top college football players of 2017 and as expected, some of the well known players in the country are listed.
James is followed at the top by Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and returning Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson of Louisville.
But, while the FSU star safety isn’t the only star player from a Florida school to make it onto this Top 100 list, he’s by far the highest ranked.
Ten athletes from four of Florida’s biggest football programs were included, tying the amount from 2016. Florida State led the pack again this year with six players, followed by the University of Florida with two players and one athlete each from each Miami and South Florida.
South Florida star QB Quinton Flowers represented the Bulls, but is the highest ranked non Florida State player coming in at number 53. Flowers looks to continue the success he has had over the past three years at South Florida, breaking USF’s single season rushing and total offense records in 2016.
Ahmmon Richards is the highest ranked from Miami at number 56, a number seemingly too low for a receiver of his caliber. Richards led all freshman in receiving yards nationally and received Freshman All-American honors.
Duke Dawson and Eddy Pineiro are the two Florida Gators who were selected for the list. Pineiro is ranked at number 100 after a season where he made 21 of 25 field goals and not missing a single extra point all year. He also nailed an 81-yard field goal in pads this spring. Dawson, ranked at number 72, is coming into his senior season and will need to step up with the departures of Quincy Wilson, Jalen Tabor, and Marcus Maye from that Gators secondary.
Among the six Noles that were ranked, only James stands out as top tier talent. With James being a major threat in the secondary, number 19 ranked Tarvarus McFadden is the only other state player in the top 40 and will have the opportunity to stand out at the cornerback position.
Number 69 ranked Derrick Nnadi and number 43 Josh Sweat will look to continue the success they had on the defensive line even with All-American defensive end Demarcus Walker leaving for the NFL.
Number 91 QB Deondre Francois will look to lead the Florida State offense back to glory now with number 98 ranked Cam Akers taking over in the backfield for the big shoes to fill of Dalvin Cook.