Athlon Sports continued its positional rankings with its list of the best secondaries in the country on Friday. From the ACC, the Florida State Seminoles held the No. 1 spot on the list.
Health is a concern for the Seminoles secondary, but still, it was enough for Athlon Sports to give them top billing. Here’s what they had to say about the Florida State defensive backfield:
The return of safety Derwin James to full strength after a season-ending knee injury in Week 2 is a huge boost for a Florida State secondary that showed marked improvement over the second half of 2016. In addition to his duties at safety, James is an all-around playmaker on defense for coordinator Charles Kelly. Trey Marshall is expected to flank James at the other safety spot, with converted receiver Ermon Lane and A.J. Westbrook providing depth. Cornerback Tarvarus McFadden had a breakout year in his first season as a starter, sharing the nation’s lead with eight interceptions. He’s a first-team Athlon Sports All-American for 2017. Sophomore Levonta Taylor is likely to start at the other corner spot, with Kyle Meyers filling in as a reserve and also as the team’s starter at the star position. Sophomore Carlos Becker and freshman Stanford Samuels III will provide depth at cornerback.
In addition to James, McFadden is rehabbing from a shoulder issue that kept him out of spring football. But both are reportedly progressing well in training camp. McFadden led the country with 8 interceptions last season.
During the 2015 season, James did everything, recording 91.0 total tackles, including 9.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. He missed most of last year with a torn meniscus.