Junior QB Deondre Francois (57.6 COMP%, 1 TD, 2 INTs) was lost early in the season. Freshman James Blackman (58.2 COMP%, 19 TDs, 11 INTs) did a fine job. We expect that Francois, who is now healthy and a potential Heisman candidate, will have his job back. He is perhaps the best quarterback in the ACC. The receiving group is a bit depleted, as Auden Tate and his 10 TDs are gone, but they do see senior WR Nyquan Murray (40 REC, 15.1 YPC, 4 TDs) return. Other wideouts on board include talented sophomore D.J. Matthews and red-shirted freshman Tamorrion Terry. Look for this unit to excel under Francois.
Our 2018 Florida State Seminoles college football preview observes that junior DE Brian Burns (48 TCKLs, 4.5 SCKs, 9 TFL, 4 PBU, 5 QBHs) and senior DT Demarcus Christmas (36 TKLs, 1 SCk, 3.5 TFL, 4 PBU, 2 QBHs) are the foundation elements of a top-notch line. Although the linebacking group loses its top three performers, there are four players on-hand with who started at least one game last season. Senior SS A.J. Westbrook (40 TKLs, 7 PBU, 0 INT) and sophomore BC Stanford Samuels (27 TKLs, 5vPBU, 2 INTs) are part of an overall young but talented secondary.
Special teams include D.J. Matthews on punts returns. He had a solid 11.1 YPR with his longest being 47 yards. Kick returns are handled by Amir Rasul (22.8 YPR) and Keith Gavin (25.4 YPR). Junior Logan Tyler is fine on punts, as he landed 22 of 66 within the 20 and averaged 43.2 YPP. Junior Ricky Aguayo (42-43 XP, 18-21 FG) was right on target. He was 2-of-3 from 40-plus, including a 51 yarder.
2018 Florida State Seminoles College Football Preview: Final Word
As noted, our 2018 Florida State Seminoles college football preview sees this team’s schedule as daunting. They host Virginia Tech (Sep 3) to start the season. They’ve won their last seven home openers and are 14-2 against VT and 6-0 when at home against them. They’ll play MAC contender Northern Illinois (Sep 22) at home. The Noles are 5-0 versus MAC teams. FSU plays in-state rival Miami (Oct 6). The Hurricanes have a very good team and should be a challenge. Also in October, Florida State hosts Clemson (Oct 27). They last beat the Tigers in 2014. They then travel to meet Notre Dame (Nov 17) and welcome Florida (Nov 24) on the final day of their season. FSU leads the ND series 6-2, and they have a five-game winning streak against the Gators.
Top Three Takeaways
- New coach has a quality offense
- Noles will run, but also watch them pass more
- Defense is still very good, but secondary could be a bit wonky