Florida State football checked in at No. 2 in Sports Illustrated’s preseason Top 25 rankings on Wednesday, as the folks at SI are big believers that the Seminoles will make their first College Football Playoff appearance.
But what do other coaches think about the Seminoles going into this season? Well, that came out Thursday, as SI rolled out what opposing coaches are saying about the teams ranked in the Top 25.
When it came to the Seminoles, it started with talk about quarterback Deondre Francois, who is heading into his second year as the staring quarterback.
“Jimbo Fisher does a good job of making sure the quarterback (Deondre Francois, a 6’ 1″, 205‑pound sophomore) makes the right reads and gets the ball to the right guys,” the anonymous coach said. “Francois got beat up pretty good last year and still kept going. It’s tough to replace a guy like Dalvin Cook. He was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. The freshman back (5’ 11″, 213-pound Cam Akers) was a five-star recruit who can give them some of what Cook gave them. The little receiver Nyqwan Murray (a 5’ 11″, 176-pound junior) can fly.”
On the other side of the ball, safety Derwin James is back on the field after missing last season with an injury. The special talent made a huge mark in 2015, leading to big expectations with his return to the field in 2017.
“We have to wait and see what (6’ 3″, 211-pound sophomore safety) Derwin James looks like coming back from the (torn meniscus in his left knee). In the past you always had to know where he was on the field,” the coach said. “You don’t have to change your game plan, but you have to be sure your quarterback knows where he is.”
Sports Illustrated previously ranked James as the No. 1 college football player heading into 2017. James was named All-ACC third team in 2015 after recording 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also earned honorable mention All-American honors from CBSSports.com and was named a freshman All-American by USA Today, Sporting News and more.
Lastly, the anonymous coach touched on the rest of the Florida State defense, particularly the front seven.
“The last couple of years, they’ve recruited some leaner pass rushers. Those ends (Josh Sweat, a 6’ 5″, 250-pound junior, and Brian Burns, a 6’ 5″, 218-pound sophomore) are a little bit quicker off the ball. They’ve been down at linebacker the last couple of years. Not bad but not as good compared to their normal standard. But their secondary and defensive line are as good as ever.”