Florida State is ridiculously talented at virtually every position on the field. Their 2016 class, which is the year their current seniors/redshirt juniors signed was ranked third nationally by 247Sports.
Their star-studded 2017 class, highlighted by five stars Marvin Wilson and Cam Akers was the sixth highest class in the country and the following class was rated as the 11th.
On paper, this Seminoles team *should* be a top ten team in college football but they are just 16-17 in the last three seasons and have had one of the biggest drop offs as a program of any school in the country.
But, again, that doesn't take away from the pure, raw talent that is sprinkled all across this 4-4 football team. Today, we’re going to highlight just a few of the potential game changers that the Florida State Seminoles are armed with that could impact the way this game is played on Saturday.
RB Cam Akers
Coming out of high school Akers was rated as the #3 played in the entire country out of Clinton, Miss and he has lived up to the hype and then some. The 5’11 212 pound running back came out of the gates and ran for over 1000 yards and 7 touchdowns during his freshman campaign, including a 121-yard performance against Miami.
As a sophomore, Akers had a small drop off with just 706 yards behind what was one of the worst offensive lines in all of college football and had just 53 total yards in the Hurricanes second straight win over Florida State.
But it’s been a massive comeback year and the junior has established himself as one of the most dominant backs in the nation. Akers is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and has 917 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground eight games into the season.
He has also come along in the passing game, catching 21 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns. Akers could be in line for a big game with the way the Hurricanes defense has been tackling. A few slip ups against the star back could shift the game in the Seminoles favor.
DT Marvin Wilson
Wilson fell just three spots behind Akers in the 2017 rankings and was the highest rated defensive tackle in the country out of Episcopal High in Bellaire, Texas.
He didn't make the instant impact some may have hoped he would as a freshman — Wilson totaled just 7 tackles in seven games as a in 2017. His sophomore campaign was sort of a coming out party for the 6’5 311 pound defensive lineman. His tackle total shot up to 41 and he had 3.5 sacks and four tackles for loss in 12 games.
Wilson has already matched his tackle total for 2018 through eight games this season and has been violently disruptive in opposing backfields with 7.5 tackles for loss and 5 sacks.
Three of those tackles for loss and two of those sacks came last weekend against Syracuse, so the junior could stay in a groove heading into a heated rivalry game.
For some interesting takes on how Corey Gaynor, who will be matched up with Wilson for a majority of the game, can handle the star defensive lineman, check out Brett Romberg on Out The Huddle.
In last years matchup, Wilson had 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
S Hamsah Nasirildeen
Nasirildeen was another key member of that sixth ranked 2017 class, but he wasn't as highly rated as the two guys before him on this list. The 6’4 junior safety out of Concord, N.C. was the 109th rated player in his class that has played in nearly every game of his three year career at Florida State. As a freshman Nasirildeen played in all 13 games, but, much like Wilson, saw a huge leap in production as a sophomore.
He led the team with 91 tackles and is looking to lead the team again in 2019. He currently has 58 on the year — 17 more than the teams second leading tackler, Marvin Wilson.
Last week against Syracuse, Nasirildeen was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week after a 17 tackle performance which included a sack.
WR Tamorrion Terry
Here you're looking at one of the most explosive wide receivers in the country. Terry emerged as a redshirt freshman in Willie Taggart’s offense with 35 catches 744 yards and eight touchdowns and averaged 21.3 yards per catch a year ago.
Now, Terry leads the team with 29 catches for 606 yards and six touchdowns through the Seminoles first eight. The 6’4 pass catcher out of Ashburn, Ga could easily have much more yardage and a few more touchdowns if his quarterbacks were able to hit him in stride. One specific play that stands out to me is one on the road against Virginia, where quarterback James Blackman completely overthrew him for what would have been a walk-in touchdown and likely would have won them the game.
Against the Hurricanes in 2018, Terry had two catches for 37 yards and a touchdown.
CB Asante Samuel Jr.
This is the son of 11 year NFL veteran Asanate Samuel and is a local product of St. Thomas Aquinas. As a freshman, Samuels appeared in every game and led the team with nine pass breakups.
This season, Samuel has already surpassed his impressive numbers from a year ago. The 5’10 180 pound sophomore is tied for third in the ACC with 10 pass breakups and has doubled his tackling numbers. He also intercepted a pass in the Virginia game in mid-September, which is one and only pick of his career.
In last years Miami game, Samuel deflected a pass and had two tackles.
Which player are you most concerned about on Florida State’s side?
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Asante Samuel Jr.