In 2016, the Florida State Seminoles (10-3) finished third in the ACC Atlantic with a record of 5-3. The Seminoles played Michigan in the Orange Bowl, beating the Wolverines 33-32. Our 2017 Florida State Seminoles college football preview considers this team to be more competitive than they were in 2016 when they scored an average of 35.1 PPG and allowed 25.0 PPG. With nine players returning on defense and a quality quarterback with a full year’s experience under his belt running the offense, the Seminoles could be the best team in the ACC.
Deondre Francois tossed 20 TD passes in his freshman season last year and ran for five more scores while laying out seven interceptions. But for Francois to excel, the Seminoles will have to patch some major holes in their offensive line. Three starters are gone from that group, which last season had its ups and downs.
Other big issues include the need to replace the Florida State’s two most productive receivers and their top running back Dalvin Cook. Last season, Cook rushed 1,700-plus yards and scored 19 TDs. He was also the team’s second-most productive receiver. Freshman TB Cameron Akers, the Seminole’s top recruit, will attempt to fill the void left by Cook. Expect Nyqwan Murray and Auden Tate to step up and take over primary receiver duties. In 2016, Murray made 27 catches and averaged 16.3 YPC while scoring five times. Tate was good for 25 receptions and six scores, while averaging 16.4 YPC.
The defensive line and line backing group are deep and solid. Senior WLB Matthew Thomas returns after leading the team in tackles last season with 77. He also had 10 TFL, one sack, and four QBH. Senior NG Derrick Nnadi (49 TCKLs, 6 Sacks, 4.5 TFL, 2 QBH) is a relentless rusher, while MLB Ro’Derrick Hoskins and senior BUCK Jack Pugh tax runner and QBs. In his freshman year, DE Brian Burns posted a team-best 9.5 sacks. Sweat, now a junior, had seven sacks, 4.5 TFL, and six QBH. However, it’s expected that the team will still miss their leading sacker DeMarcus Walker, who made 16 QB tackles.
This Seminole team has a top-notch secondary that includes junior corner Tavarus McFadden who took in eight picks while knocking away six passes last season. FS Derwin James, who made All-American in his first season, is back after missing most of last year with a knee injury. Various other defensive backs will contribute this year.
Kermit Whitfield did a fine job last season on kick returns, but he’s gone and has to be replaced. The punt return game was anemic and really needs a major shot in the arm. Sophomores Ricky Aguayo and Logan Tyler return as placekicker and punter respectively. Both were off-and-on last season and neither met expectations. Aguayo needs to be more consistent and Tyler has to get more power and distance into his punts.
2017 Florida State Seminoles College Football Preview: Final Word
Coach Jimbo Fisher (78-17 Overall, 5-2 Bowls) has been solid in his seven years at the helm for Florida State. Although he has a lot of talent on this team, there are definitely a few problem areas with the O-line being exceptionally worrisome. Our 2017 Florida State Seminoles college football preview acknowledges that this team will be competitive, but that it will also be vulnerable until it can find consistency in all areas.
Top Three Takeaways
- Francois is key to success
- O-line is scary
- Cook has to be replaced