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Florida State Seminoles

Are 2017 Noles more talented than last year?

Josh Ciganek

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(Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire)
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Typically, when you lose your best running back, defensive end and wide out, you’re usually in for down production out of those spots and possibly a down season. In the case of this season’s Florida State Seminoles though, the talent may just be better than last season’s team.

The defense may have lost 2nd round pick DeMarcus Walker but they do bring back star safety Derwin James who SI voted the best player in college football. Not only that, they also bring back plenty of experience on the defensive side of the ball with one of the top corners in the nation, Tarvarus McFadden and a rising star opposite of him in Levonta Taylor.
To go along with the improved secondary is a more experienced defensive front. Along with the established guys, 5 stars Marvin Wilson and Joshua Kaindoh will look to make a name for themselves in the rotation.
On the offensive side of the ball, they did lose star running back Dalvin Cook and top receiver Travis Rudolph to the NFL, but not all is lost. Quarterback Deandre Francois enters his 2nd season as the head signal caller but also his 3rd year in the system. Entering his first draft eligible year it will be interesting to see if he can make the leap to one of the top guys in the game. The ACC Media believes he’s the best player in the conference not named Lamar Jackson.
Though they lost Cook, they do bring in highly touted freshman Cam Akers, who was ranked 99th in the SI College top 100 players. Akers and Jacques Patrick look to form a 1-2 punch that can equal what cook did for the offense and take some pressure of Francois.
Losing Travis Rudolph, Kermit Whitfield, and “Bobo Wilson” will sting for the team, but the rest of the group has the potential to make their mark this season. Auden Tate and Nyqwan Murray both showed flashes of greatness on limited touches but had six and five touchdowns respectively. Keith Gavin looks to transition his Orange Bowl heroics into constant receptions this season. Former top recruits George Campbell and Da’Vante Phillips look to shake off past injuries and make an impact this season.
The Noles have championship aspirations, and though they’ve lost plenty of talent from last season, they still bring back plenty to challenge for the ACC crown and possibly a National Title. The ACC Media believes in FSU, making them the runaway favorite in the preseason voting.

 

 

We will find out soon enough if that is warranted.

Josh Ciganek is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

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Florida State Seminoles

FSU RB Akers announced Saturday he’s turning pro

Florida Football Insiders

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
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FSU running back Cam Akers has played his final game for the Noles. The talented junior running back announced on social media Saturday afternoon that he will not play in the upcoming Sun Bowl matchup with Arizona State. He will instead prepare starting now for the NFL Draft:

“These last three years have been incredible, and I am so appreciative that the FSU family welcomed a kid from Mississippi with open arms….. I have decided to enter the 2020 NFL draft and will not play in the Sun Bowl,” Akers post stated, in part.

Florida State was back on the practice field Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee after exam week concluded. Interim coach Odell Haggins is still overseeing the practice with newly hired head coach Mike Norvell out recruiting throughout the South.

Back to Akers, he came to the Seminoles of the highly-touted running back out of Clinton, MS, who ran for 8,000 yards in his career. However he suffered behind poor offensive line play each of the last two seasons, but still Acres finished 2019 with just over 1,100 yards rushing 14 TDs. A year ago those numbers were worse at just over 700 yards and six scores.

Originally recruited by Jimbo Fisher staff, Akers endured three offensive coordinators in three seasons, when new coach Willie Taggart took over for 2018 and hired Walt Bell for the 2018 campaign. Then Bell left to be the head coach at UMass after last season and Taggart hired Kendal Briles for this season.

The offense sputtered throughout the early season and Taggart was fired on November 3rd with three games remaining. Had Akers chosen to stay for Norvell, he’s already hired Kenny Dillingham (his former Memphis OC), which would have been a fourth coordinator.

It’s believed that Akers would likely be a possible second round pick, but he may slip to the third round or beyond because of the shaky productivity of FSU’s offense the last couple of years.

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Florida State Seminoles

Taggart’s FAU contract details released

Florida Football Insiders

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Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
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Former FSU head coach Willie Taggart was officially introduced as Florida Atlantic University’s new head coach on Thursday afternoon. Along with the announcement, were the details to his new contract with the Owls.

According to USA Today and the Associated Press, Taggart is receiving $750,000 a year in base pay for five years with a $3 million buyout if Taggart leaves before December of 2022.

The Palm Beach Post broke down his full contract details that includes performance bonuses and perks. 

— Taggart will make $750,000 per year for five years. For comparison, FAU’s last head coach, Lane Kiffin, made a $950,000 base salary per year. Kiffin’s earnings went over $1 million when a home loan, given to him by FAU, was factored in.

— Taggart owes FAU $3 million if he leaves the school or is fired before Dec. 1, 2022. The buyout drops to $1 million if he leaves before Dec. 1, 2023 and $500,000 between Dec. 2, 2023-Dec. 31, 2024.

— Taggart will receive a $25,000 retention bonus every Jan. 15.

— Incentives for Taggart include $100,000 for making a New Year’s Six Bowl or a top-10 finish. Taggart earns $50,000 for a Top 25 finish or for being named the National Coach of the Year.

— Taggart receives $20,000 for making the Conference USA Championship Game and $40,000 for winning it. FAU has won two league titles in the past three years.

— Taggart earns an extra $30,000 for making a bowl game. Winning the national championship nets Taggart $500,000.

— Taggart’s buyout is offset by his base salary at FAU. FSU will save around $3 million on Taggart’s $18 million buyout.

In addition to his salary, the University is offering perks such as a car allowance, a membership at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, and the option for family to travel on team charter.

Taggart, who was fired in November, halfway into his second season at Florida State, will be replacing Lane Kiffin, who departed for Ole Miss after Saturday’s Conference USA championship game win over UAB.

The reason Florida State fans have to be so enthusiastic is the Taggart was reportedly owed over $17 million on his buyout with four years left on his deal. However, that amount has to be lessened some, if not significantly, since he’s going to immediately take another head coaching job. It’s still not clear how much FSU will still be paying Taggart.

Taggart went just 9-12 in his season and a half with the Noles, which included Florida State suffering their first losing season in over forty years in 2018, when they went 5 – 7. When 2019 began with a collapsing loss at home to Boise State and then a near loss-OT victory over UL-Monroe, it seemed the handwriting was on the wall.

The final blow in Tallahassee came when Taggart’s team looked lifeless and undisciplined in their 27-10 loss to ACC instate rival Miami Novemeber 2nd. He was dismissed the next afternoon.

Taggart came to FSU from Oregon, where he spent one year and went 7-5 before jumping, again, in December of 2017 to take the Noles job. He previously was the coach at USF for four seasons, where after starting 2-10 year one, he reversed that number in his final year (2016) to 10 – 2.

Now that his contract is signed, he’ll be fully a go to pick up recruiting in the state where he’s well known in from his previous tenures in state programs.

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