Many question how Florida State can possibly keep pace with the incredible run that they have had the previous three seasons, winning an impressive 39 games, claiming the 2013 national championship title, and making it to the first ever college football playoffs last season. It will be difficult at best to repeat that performance, particularly given the numerous players that have left of the NFL after last season, so do look for some drop off, but not much.
The battle will begin at the quarterback position with the departure of Jameis Winston. The favorite to win that spot is junior Sean Maguire. He did make one start in 2014, and was quite impressive in complete 21 of 39 passes for a total of 304 yards. This came against the no. 1 defense of the Clemson Tigers, so the hope is that he can put up those kinds of numbers week in and week out. There will be some competition to be had with redshirt freshman J. J. Cosentino and sophomore John Franklin III competing as well, but this should be good enough to push Maguire up another notch and give him the starting nod come September.
Florida State lost a great crop of receivers, but they just reloaded them. Is it possible they could be even better? Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane are quality recruits that were ranked in the top six of all receivers in last years prep football class. The team was also able to sign George Campbell, Da’Vante Phillips, and Auden Tate, so it looks like at least of one will be well positioned to replace the production that will be noticeably absent from Rashad Greene. Tight end Nick O’Leary is also gone, but two redshirt freshmen in Ryan Izzo and Mavin Saunders are both ready and eager to take his spot.
There will be four new starters on the Seminoles offensive line this season. That was one weak spot last season, but the recent addition of tackle Roderick Johnson should spark its resurgence. Florida State also struggled on the defensive line last season, allowing 5.5 yards per play in 2014, up from 4.1 the previous season. This continues to be a worrying sign for the Seminoles and looks to have the most question marks entering the start of the season. At cornerback, Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams has gone on to the NFL, but there is quite a bit of talent at the position ready to take their spot. Jalen Ramsey is touted to move into the cornerback position. In addition, Ryan Green and Marquez White will be back and ready to compete, as will new freshmen Tarvarus McFadden, Marcus Lewis, Calvin Brewton, and A.J. Westbrook.
In short, the talent is there for Florida State, and they have arguably the top coach in the nation in Jimbo Fisher. It will be tough to say they are not going to compete for the national title once again, but the reality is that the rebuilding process is not quite complete. Look for them to be in the top 10 this year, and to be back on top next season.
Courtesy of Florida State Athletics