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.