Florida State sets new NFL Draft record for total draft picks

12 Comments

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

5 Comments

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.

CFT Previews: Three X-factors for the National Championship

4 Comments

You know about Marcus Mariota and Cardale Jones. You know about Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner and Ezekiel Elliott. You know about Urban Meyer and Mark Helfrich. You even know about Brutus and Puddles.

But here are three things you may not have considered that could paint the national championship trophy in scarlet and gray or apple green and electric yellow. We in the business like to call them X-factors.

1: Arik Armstead and Joey Bosa (and their friends). In a game that boils down to quarterback vs. quarterback, the team that makes the other guy’s signal caller most uncomfortable will likely win. Oregon pass rusher Armstead will look to get to Jones before he can get ahead of steam in the run game (or fire a 60-yard bomb to his plethora of speedsters on the outside). On the other side, constant pressure is the only proven antidote to beating Mariota in his three years as a starter.

2: Tyler JohnstoneIfo Ekpre-OlomuBralon AddisonDarren CarringtonDevon Allen and Pharoah Brown. Oregon obviously has fantastic depth to make it this far without the four listed above, but could there be a moment late in the game, with Ohio State fans joyous, Meyer cracking a smile and Puddles showing a longer face than normal, that you start to think, “Man, it’d be nice the Ducks had their top left tackle, top cornerback, top three wide receivers and/or top tight end, wouldn’t it?”

Chris Seisay did a fine job filling in for Ekpre-Olomu, and the Ducks limited Florida State’s Rashad Greene to six grabs for just 59 yards, but Ohio State’s receiving corps is better than the ‘Noles. The Oregon offensive line has charged along well without Johnstone this season, but they haven’t faced a defensive front as multi-faceted as Ohio State’s. Evan Baylis set career highs in the Rose Bowl with six receptions for 73 yards in the Rose Bowl, proving a capable replacement to Brown. But without Carrington, Allen and Addison (who hasn’t played at all this season), Oregon’s top remaining receiver is Dwayne Stanford, a sophomore who averaged 4.5 receptions for 44 yards in 13 games this season.

3: Sean Nuemberger and Aidan Schneider or Matt Wogan. These three anonymous gentlemen are your title game kickers. Ohio State has ridden with Nuemberger all year, to mixed results. The freshman has knocked in 13-of-20 field goals this year; he hit both of his tries in the Sugar Bowl but is just 5-of-10 from beyond 40 yards this season. Oregon has alternated between Schneider and Wogan this season, leaning on the former in the Rose Bowl. Schneider is 9-of-10 on the year, while Wogan is 7-of-9. Neither has been used a lot this season, and each squad’s dominance throughout the season means none of the three has been asked to make a game-on-the-line kick. Now there’s a greater than zero chance one of them will face that situation for the first time with a national championship on the line.

CFT Previews: The Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual

19 Comments

WHO: No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 Florida State
WHAT: The College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual (say that five times fast)
WHEN: 5 p.m. ET
WHERE: The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. (televised by ESPN)
THE SKINNY: Let’s see, other than Heisman winner vs. Heisman winner, college football’s most polarizing program vs. college football’s least polarizing program and a 29-game winning streak on the line, there really isn’t much interesting about this game.

With all due respect to Oregon, this game is about Florida State and a referendum on whether or not the least impressive 13-0 run in recent memory really matters. Are these Seminoles really the team that was lucky to beat Notre Dame and Clemson, needed major comebacks to beat N.C. State, Louisville and Miami, and squeaked by Boston College, Florida and Georgia Tech? Or are they the team with either the first or second-most talented roster in this tournament? Or are they both at the same time, a group that hasn’t found a way to get the most out of its talent?

Unlike Oregon, Florida State is as healthy as its been all season. Without Ifo Ekpre-Olomu to blanket him, Rashad Greene figures to get his yards. So will Marcus Mariota and Royce Freeman. So will Dalvin Cook, for that matter. This game should be close, so, like so many other games this season, it will boil down to whether or not Florida State can play perfect football when the situation requires it.

I believe they will

THE PREDICTION: Florida State 38, Oregon 35

Mariota, Gordon headline Phil Steele All-America team

8 Comments

Everyone has an All-America team these days. Heck, now that they’ve got some free time I hear the folks at Serial are going to pump out their own 2014 All-America team next week.

However, in crunching out their own list of 25-odd players, no one crunches more data than Phil Steele. The man is already a quarter of the way through his initial work for the 2015 season.

Anyway, on to current matters, the 2014 Phil Steele All-Americans can be found below. Second through 27th-team All-Americans can be found here.

Offense
QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
WR Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
WR Rashad Greene, Florida State
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
C Reese Dismukes, Auburn
OL Spencer Drango, Baylor
OL Jake Fisher, Oregon
OL Tre’ Jackson, Florida State
OL Brandon Scherff, Iowa

Defense
LB Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington
LB Scooby Wright, Arizona
LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
LB Bernardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
DB Landon Collins, Alabama
DB Gerod Holliman, Louisville
DB Senquez Golson, Ole Miss
DB Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State
DL Malcom Brown, Texas
DL Nate Orchard, Utah
DL Shane Ray, Missouri

Specialists
K Brad Craddock, Maryland
P Tom Hackett, Utah
KR Mario Alford, West Virginia
PR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State