Nick O’Leary

Mackey Award, Rimington Trophy release watch lists

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Yep, more watch lists, although that essentially means we’re all one day closer to the start of a brand-new college football season.

Regardless, the latest to release their preseason watch lists are the Mackey Award and the Rimington Trophy.  The former consists of 33 tight ends, the latter 63 centers.

The only 2014 finalists for either of last year’s awards is Michigan State’s Jack Allen, who was one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy that ultimately went to Auburn’s Reese Dismukes.

Colorado State and Virginia Tech are the only two teams with a pair of tight ends placed on the Mackey watch list.  Last year’s winner was Florida State’s Nick O’Leary.

Among Power Five programs, the Pac-12 and SEC led all conferences with eight apiece on the Rimington watch list.  The ACC is next among the P5 with seven, followed by the Big Ten and Big 12 at six each.

The Group of Five is actually well-represented when compared to the big boys, with seven centers each appearing on the list from both Conference USA and the MAC.

Below is the complete watch list for the Mackey Award.  For the Rimington Trophy, click HERE.

2015 Mackey Award Watch List

Florida State sets new NFL Draft record for total draft picks


Florida State has had 10 players selected in this year’s NFL Draft, putting the Seminoles in a tie for the most players drafted over a three-year period. One more Nole off the board and the record will be Florida State’s.

The record is 28 players drafted over three years. Florida State now shared the record with Miami (2002-2004) and USC (2008-2010). Florida State moved into the now three-way tie when tight end Nick O’Leary was taken by the Buffalo Bills (who have been loading up on ACC players this draft). O’Leary was taken by the Bills in the sixth round and the 194th pick overall. The Bills had already drafted cornerback Ronald Darby in the second round and running back Karlos Williams in the fifth round. Other Noles to be drafted include quarterback Jameis Winston (the number one overall pick), defensive tackles Mario Edwards and Eddie Goldman, center Cameron Erving, offensive guard Tre’ Jackson, receiver Rashad Greene, and cornerback P.J. Williams.

Time is running out for Florida State to set the record, but it is within sight. Offensive guards Josue Matias and Bobby Hart are still on the draft board.

UPDATE (5:30 p.m): The New York Giants drafted offensive lineman Bobby Hart, thus setting the new record.


All signs point to Sean Maguire taking over as Florida State’s QB


While FSU coach Jimbo Fisher won’t quite anoint him as Jameis Winston’s successor, it looks like Sean Maguire is in line to be Florida State’s quarterback when the ‘Noles open the 2015 season against Texas State Sept. 5.

Fisher explained to ESPN’s Andrea Adelson why Maguire has the inside track on winning the job, which largely boils down to the New Jersey native’s experience. Maguire quarterbacked Florida State to an overtime win over Clemson last year while Winston was suspended for yelling something incredibly stupid on campus, with his 74-yard touchdown heave to Rashad Greene midway through the fourth quarter bringing the ‘Noles level.

In that game, Maguire completed 21 of 39 passes for 304 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown. Perhaps with a better grasp and more control of the offense he’ll play a less tentatively than he did against Clemson, though we don’t have much else on which to evaluate him.

Maguire appeared in three other games last year: A pair of blowout wins over The Citadel and Wake Forest, and FSU’s blowout loss to Oregon in the College Football Playoff.

Even if those three cups of coffee were his only in-game experience, though, he’d have more than the other three quarterbacks on Florida State’s depth chart. John Franklin redshirted last year, four-star recruit De’Andre Johnson enrolled early and incoming freshmen JJ Cosentino won’t get to campus until the summer.

Making matters difficult for Maguire will be the amount of turnover around him. Only four 2014 starters return on offense, with guys like Greene, Nick O’Leary and Cameron Erving all done in Tallahassee (though having Dalvin Cook around will be awfully nice). Still, ESPN ranked Florida State No. 15 in a way-too-early top 25, so there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic in Florida’s panhandle this year.

Winston fumble serves as enduring image for the end of a repeat bid


For the record, it was highly unlikely Florida State would have won the Rose Bowl even if they’d converted that fateful 4th-and-5 at the Oregon 30-yard line. The Seminoles had struggled to score in the red zone, and their defense demonstrated no ability to consistently slow down Oregon’s offense.

But, man, has there ever been a more symbolic moment to the end of a dynasty?

Looking to find tight end Nick O’Leary, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston evaded pressure, attempted to steady himself, slipped, and then simply lost the ball.

Tony Washington grabbed the loose pigskin and raced 58 yards for a touchdown, pushing the margin to 39-20 – effectively halting Florida State’s 29-game winning streak and pushing Oregon to the inaugural College Football Playoff championship next Monday night.

For good measure, Oregon forced turnovers on the following two Florida State possessions, and what was a 25-20 game was soon 59-20. The 39-point margin is the largest bowl loss ever for a defending national champion.

As for Winston, he completed 29-of-45 passes for 348 yards with a touchdown and an interception (plus the above fumble) before watching what likely is his final college game end from the sideline.

If this is indeed it for Winston, that won’t be the enduring image of his 27 wins in two seasons, but it’ll be the one we remember from his only loss.

Oregon takes 18-13 lead to the break over Florida State


The first half of the Rose Bowl has unfolded exactly to script for both Florida State and Oregon: Marcus Mariota is dazzling, and the Seminoles are trailing. The Ducks lead 18-13 at the break. This is the ninth time – and fifth consecutive game – that Florida State has trailed this season.

Mariota has completed 18-of-26 passes for 157 yards with a late interception and rushed seven times for 39 yards (and evading a number of sacks in the process), while Winston has had a quiet half by comparison, hitting 13-of-21 throws for 136 yards and rushing five times for two yards. Dalvin Cook has been the engine powering the Seminoles’ attack with 12 carries for 90 yards.

Florida State forced a three-and-out on the first possession of the game and then marched 33 yards for a 43-yard Roberto Aguayo field goal, but Oregon linebacker Torrodney Prevot was flagged for a hands-to-the-face personal foul, giving the ‘Noles new life. However, the Oregon defense stiffened, thanks in large part to a Prevot sack-strip that cost Florida State seven yards, and limited only a 28-yard Aguayo field goal.

Oregon immediately responded, moving 73 yards in nine plays over just 2:11, taking the lead with a one-yard Royce Freeman plunge and then pushing the score to 8-3 with a Taylor Alie pass to Christian French. The Ducks had a chance to seize an extra large slice of momentum after forcing a three-and-out and taking over at the Florida State 40 thanks to a Cason Beatty shank, but Mark Helfrich‘s gamble to eschew a field goal while facing a 4th-and-5 at the 22 backfired as Mariota’s pass to Freeman was broken up by Ronald Darby.

The key sequence of the first half – and perhaps each team’s respective season – came at the end of the first quarter and very beginning of the second. Florida State marched from its own 23 to the Oregon one only to see the Ducks string out a 3rd down stretch play to Karlos Williams, but linebacker Tyson Coleman was offside, giving the ‘Noles new life.

But Williams was stuffed on 3rd down from the one and, with a quarter break to think about it, Jimbo Fisher called an option play on 4th-and-goal from the one on the first play of the second quarter. Winston kept and was initially ruled in for a touchdown, but the score was overturned on review. He was half a yard short.Oregon then moved 88 yards in 19 plays – needing just 4:45 – to put Aidan Schneider in position for a 28-yard field goal, turning what could have been a 10-8 Florida State lead into an 11-3 deficit.

Florida State added another field goal – settling, really, after setting up another 1st-and-goal and then committing a false start and delay of game – and Oregon answered with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, this one capped by a one-yard Thomas Tyner run.

As they’ve done all season, Florida State closed the half with a touchdown. Winston marched the ‘Noles 71 yards, and Karlos Williams punched in a 10-yard score to pull Florida State within 18-13 with 36 ticks remaining.

Oregon drove across the water to close the half instead of laying up, and the Ducks paid the price as a Mariota overthrow was intercepted by Nate Andrews. Florida State had a chance to pull even closer before the break, but Aguayo’s 54-yard try on the final play of the half clanked off the left goalpost.

Injuries have been a factor for both teams in the first half. Nick O’Leary tweaked his hamstring in pre-game warm-ups, but started the game and caught a five-yard reception on a 3rd-and-4, extending Florida State’s lone touchdown drive. For Oregon, Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen limped off after a 20-yard opening kickoff and was later wheeled to the locker room.

Florida State will receive the ball to open the second half.