Tag Archives: Florida State Seminoles

2018 Preview: Florida State Seminoles

Season outlook

First-year head coach Willie Taggart will look to turn around the Florida Seminoles much like he did for the USF Bulls just two seasons ago.  Last season, Taggart led Oregon to a 7-5 record before leaving the Ducks ahead of the team’s bowl game.  Former Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher left behind a team with a talented run game and an elite pass rusher.  Senior center Alec Eberle (6’4, 295) has started 32 consecutive games dating back to the 2015 season and is a candidate for the Rimington Trophy this season after being named second team  All-ACC in 2017.  Eberle will help create running paths for sophomore running back Cam Akers (5’11, 213). Akers rushed for 1,024 yards and seven touchdowns on 194 carries in 2017.
FSU DE Brian Burns (No. 99 pictured) has broken up four passes, forced four fumbles and blocked three kicks over the last two seasons for the Seminoles.
Defensively, junior defensive end Brian Burns (6’5, 235) will be asked to continue to cause havoc off the edge.  The Fort Lauderdale native has totaled 14 sacks and 23 tackles for loss over the past two seasons.  Burns is a bona fide NFL prospect as a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 rush outside linebacker.

Troy’s player to watch

1 Levonta Taylor 5’10 186 CB-Junior
Florida State is no stranger to producing cover corners.  Jalen Ramsey, Deion Sanders and Xavier Rhodes are just a few of the names.  Junior cornerback Levonta Taylor has the ability to join the ranks of those Pro Bowlers.
Last season, he finished the season with two interceptions and three pass deflections. The relatively low interception totals are a result of quarterbacks refusing to throw his way. This year, Taylor will get to work with former Michigan State secondary coach Harlon Barnett, who has helped mold several defensive backs into NFL talents like Trae Waynes and Darqueze Dennard.  Despite seeing minimal action, DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson is projecting another season of the Virginia Beach native blanketing one side of the field.

Game of the season 

October 6th against Miami
Miami broke their seven-game losing streak in the longstanding rivalry by defeating Florida State, 24-20, in Tallahassee last year. You can expect Taggart’s first order of business is for the Seminoles to regain in-state and conference supremacy. It won’t be easy as Miami fields one its best teams since 2000.  Florida State’s and Miami’s October matchup could resemble some of their classic matchups from the 90s.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

90 Demarcus Christmas 6’4 308 DL-Senior

He is one of the toughest interior defensive lineman to latch in the ACC. His tremendous hand-eye coordination is evident when affecting the three-step passing game but just as impressive when it comes to dislodging versus offensive guards.  In a number of ways, he carries some similarities to former Alabama defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson (Detroit Lions).  The big question is whether or not he will become a more disruptive pass rush finisher in 2018.

Prediction: 9-3

Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson is predicting a two-win improvement on last season but a second place finish in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. Jefferson is predicting road losses to Miami and Notre Dame and a home loss to Clemson.

2018 Season Preview: Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes

Season outlook

In his third season as head coach, Mark Richt and the Miami Hurricanes are looking to take the next step forward in 2018.  Miami (Fla.) finished last season 10-3 overall and 7-1 in the ACC.  The Hurricanes return a wealth of experience from last year’s team.  In his first two seasons as Miami’s defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz has reshaped the Hurricanes defense.   Last year, Miami (Fla.) ranked 38th overall in total defense and 28th in points allowed.  The Hurricanes have NFL-caliber talent at each level of the defense, which includes defensive lineman Joe Jackson (6’5, 258, Jr.), linebacker Shaquille Quarterman (6’1, 250, Jr.) and defensive backs Jaquan Johnson (5’11, 190, Sr.) and Michael Jackson (6’2, 195, Sr.).  On offense, quarterback Malik Rosier (6’1, 216, Sr.) will have several weapons at his disposal including wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (6’1, 190, Jr.) and running back Travis Homer (5’11, 195, Jr.).  Miami (Fla.) has the talent to win the ACC and possibly accomplish more. Look for Rosier’s play at quarterback to determine how far the Hurricanes go in 2018.

Troy’s player to watch 

4 Jaquan Johnson 5’11 190 DB-Senior

Johnson (No. 4 pictured) has produced two and a half quarterback sacks, six tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, six interceptions (TD), four pass break-ups and one blocked kick entering his final season for the Hurricanes.
The city of Miami has produced some of the best athletes and receivers (i.e. Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton) to play in the NFL.  Johnson plays on the other side of the ball but is just as gifted. The Hurricanes safety won the ACC Defensive Back of the Week award three straight times last season and led the team with 96 tackles. The senior has a knack for causing turnovers, finishing the 2017 campaign with three forced fumbles and three interceptions. Look for Johnson to have the now infamous Hurricanes “turnover chain” around his neck multiple times in 2018.

Game of the season

November 17th  at Virginia Tech
The Hokies figure to be the Hurricanes stiffest competition in the ACC’s Coastal Division in 2018. Miami bested Virginia Tech 28-10 last season at Hard Rock Stadium. However, things could be more challenging in Blacksburg. This game could decide an ACC Championship appearance and possibly put Miami into the College Football Playoff discussion.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

78 Tyree St. Louis 6’5 305 RT-Senior

St. Louis (No. 78 pictured) -a former four-star prospect from the IMG Academy (Fla.)- has started the last 21 games of his career.

St. Louis heads into his senior season with 21 consecutive starts and he has seen action in each of three years on campus.  His mobility and accuracy getting up to the second level (to block LBs, DBs) has been his best attribute up to this point.  For him to take his game to an All-ACC level, he needs to play with a lower base.  There are too many occasions where he engages in perimeter wrestling matches with a taller disposition.  This has caused him issues with pass rushers attacking the bottom of the pocket.  Overall, he’s been more consistent with his upper body posture.  If the former four-star recruit can connect his upper body with his base, he’ll have a chance to reach another level in his play.

Prediction: 12-0

The Hurricanes make their first appearance in the College Football Playoff after cruising through the regular season, according to DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson. The Hurricanes may have caught LSU on a good year as their program transitions to head coach Ed Orgeron in his second full season. The two will open the season in Arlington, Texas.  Miami (Fla.) will also play their in-state rival Florida State at home.
By: Troy Jefferson, DraftNasty Staff reports