2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 3 Florida State Seminoles
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Florida State Seminoles
No. 3: Florida State Seminoles
Florida State Seminoles Prespring Status
Let’s try this again. Last year’s Seminole team was good enough to win the ACC Championship and dive into the College Football Playoff mix, but a few key early injuries, a blowout loss to Louisville, and a stunning meltdown against North Carolina ended all of that. It was still a fantastic team and a terrific year, losing to the Tar Heels by two and Clemson by three, and rolling through the final five games including an Orange Bowl win over Michigan, but now it’s time to be the ACC’s biggest star again.
There are only two early losses to the NFL – Dalvin Cook and OT Roderick Johnson – with seven starters back for an offense that should be dominant as long as QB Deondre Francois doesn’t get crushed on a regular basis. Not only does the defense get back nine starters, but superstar safety Derwin James is back after missing almost all of last year. Throw in the return of both kickers – Ricky Aguayo should be a special placekicker – and the Noles are loaded.
Florida State Seminoles Biggest Issue
Can the FSU O line keep Francois upright? The front five did a nice job for Cook and the ground game – paving the way for over five yards per carry – but Francois was beaten up and battered way too often. The Noles allowed 36 sacks, while Francois had to gut it out several times after taking some massive shots.
Losing Johnson at left tackle to the NFL a year early stings, and Kareem Are is done at left guard. All the key backups return, and there isn’t too much of a problem reloading up front, but this might be the one Achilles heel for the O.
Florida State Seminoles Biggest Positive
If the defense isn’t among the best in the ACC, it’ll be very, very close. Not only does James come back after suffering a knee injury, but fellow safety Nate Andrews returns after getting a medical redshirt after suffering a torn pectoral muscle. DeMarcus Walker is done on the line, but the Noles are loaded on the end around Derrick Nnadi and Demarcus Christmas on the interior. Eight of the top nine tacklers are back – 13 of the top 15 return.
Really, Why Are The Florida State Seminoles Ranked Here?
It’s a stretch to say last year’s team underachieved, but this year’s version should simply achieve at the level it’s supposed to. The only big concern going into last year was the quarterback situation, and that turned out to be fine. This year, there aren’t any problems. FSU is a factory for outstanding running backs – losing Cook isn’t a killer – and there’s NFL skill at position after position for a team with as much talent as anyone in the country.