The Daily Nole

FSU Football: 2016 Preseason All-Opponent Team

Jeremy Esbrandt/FSU athletics

Last week, we took some time and broke down the five best players Florida State would face in 2016 at every position. Now with that finished, we decided to compile a team made of the best players FSU will see this upcoming season. Here’s a look at the 2016 preseason FSU All-Opponent team:


QB: Deshaun Watson, Clemson
2015 Stats: 68% completions, 4,104 yards passing, 35 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions, 1,105 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns.
Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson might be the Heisman Trophy front-runner heading into 2016. Watson can carve up a defense with his arm or his legs and is very accurate, even on the run. Watson passed for 297 yards and a score and rushed for 107 more in last season’s 23-13 win over the Seminoles.

RB: Wayne Gallman, Clemson
2015 Stats: 283 carries, 1,527 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns, 21 receptions, 213 yards receiving, 1 touchdown
Though he was overshadowed largely by his quarterback Deshaun Watson last season, Wayne Gallman was one of the ACC’s best backs, amassing more than 1,500 yards on the ground. At 6-1 and 205 pounds, Gallman carried the workload last season for the Tigers. Gallman rushed for 103 yards and a score in last season’s 23-13 win over FSU.

RB: Elijah Hood, North Carolina
2015 Stats: 219 carries, 1,463 yards rushing, 17 rushing touchdowns
Only Wayne Gallman and Dalvin Cook rushed for more yards last season than North Carolina’s Elijah Hood. At 6-0 and 220 pounds, Hood is a big back, but has good burst. Hood averaged nearly seven yards per carry a season ago and eclipsed the 100-yard mark eight times, including a career-high 220 yards rushing against N.C. State.

WR: Mike Williams, Clemson
2015 Stats: 2 catches, 20 yards receiving, 1 touchdown
Clemson reached the national title game a season ago without the services of its best receiver. Mike Williams suffered a season-ending neck injury catching a touchdown pass in last season’s opener against Wofford. As a sophomore in 2014, Williams eclipsed the 1,000-yard total as a receiver while averaging better than 18 yards per reception. At 6-4, Williams is a big receiver who can stretch the field and out-leap defenders.

WR: Rodney Adams, South Florida
2015 Stats: 45 catches, 822 yards receiving, 9 touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown
After catching just eight passes for 45 yards through the first four games last season, South Florida wide receiver Rodney Adams arrived on the scene and never left. In a run-heavy offense, Adams finished with more than 900 yards of offense and 10 total touchdowns a season ago.

TE: Jaylen Samuels, N.C. State
2015 Stats: 65 catches, 597 yards, 7 touchdowns, 56 carries, 368 yards, 9 touchdowns
One of the most versatile players in the country, there isn’t much that Jaylen Samuels doesn’t do for North Carolina State. Last season, Samuels led the Wolfpack in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches and also ranked third on the team in rushing. Samuels came to N.C. State as a running back and has proceeded to become its top pass-catcher and earned first-team All-ACC honors as a tight end last season. Samuels finished with 51 yards of total offense and a touchdown in last season’s 34-17 loss to FSU in Tallahassee.

T: Jon Heck, North Carolina
At 6-6 and 300 pounds, North Carolina senior Jon Heck is a very good athlete for a man his size. Heck excels as a pass-blocker, but can get to the next level against linebackers as well. Heck was a big reason the Tar Heels had one of the nation’s most explosive offenses a season ago.

G:. Caleb Peterson, North Carolina
It’s hard to call a guy who stands 6-5 and weighs 300 pounds undersized, but that is the case with North Carolina senior Caleb Peterson. Peterson might be smaller than many of the defensive linemen that stand in front of him, but is a solid run-blocker and does a pretty good job when pulling.

C: Jay Guillermo, Clemson
Clemson senior center Jay Guillermo came on strong for the Tigers a season ago and was a big reason for their success in 2015. At 6-2 and 325 pounds, Guillermo not only serves a key pass-protector for Deshaun Watson, but he opens holes for All-ACC running back Wayne Gallman.

G: Tyrone Crowder, Clemson
Another piece to what’s expected to be a good offensive line interior, Clemson redshirt junior Tyrone Crowder returns after a solid 2015 campaign. Crowder was largely overshadowed by guys along the front like Guillermo, Eric Mac Lain and Joe Gore last season, but more than held his own. As one of the veterans up front, he’s expected to have an All-ACC caliber season in 2016.

T: David Sharpe, Florida
At 6-6 and nearly 350 pounds, Florida junior tackle David Sharpe is a mountain of a man who excelled as a run-blocker last season. Sharpe still can stand to improve as a pass-blocker, but has the size and strength to be one of the top players up front in the SEC.


DE: Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss
2015 Stats:
43 tackles, 10 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles
Ole Miss junior defensive end Marquis Haynes might be the best pass-rusher FSU will see all season in 2016 and the Seminoles will see him right away. At 6-3 and only 220 pounds, Haynes is more athletic than some linebackers and the Noles will need to find a way to get him blocked.

DT: Carlos Watkins, Clemson
2015 Stats:
34 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss
Carlos Watkins was surrounded by defensive line talent last season at Clemson, but still managed to make a name for himself, earning first team All-ACC honors. Watkins is a very good athlete at 6-3 and 300 pounds and can stuff the run or get after the passer.

DT: DeAngelo Brown, Louisville
2015 Stats:
40 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss
Like Carlos Watkins, Louisville’s DeAngelo Brown doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves because of all the talent around him. At nearly 320 pounds, Brown is near impossible to block one-on-one.

DE: Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
2015 Stats:
69 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles
A largely unheralded defensive end for North Carolina State, Bradley Chubb does a lot of things well. Despite playing a position not typically known for tackling, Chubb was the Wolfpack’s second leading tackler a season ago. He also finished second on the team in sacks and tackles for loss.

LB: Devonte Fields, Louisville
2015 Stats:
63 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles
Whether its been at TCU or Louisville, Devonte Fields has been a quarterback’s worst nightmare from his linebacker position. Fields can run out in space, but as a pass-rusher, he’s one of the best in the ACC and arguably the country.

LB: Keith Kelsey, Louisville
2015 Stats:
107 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles
Fresh off a 100-tackle campaign, Louisville’s Keith Kelsey tends to always be around the football and is a big part of a Louisville defense that is one of the best in the ACC.

LB: Jarrad Davis, Florida
2015 Stats:
98 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble
Florida is losing a lot on defense, but senior Jarrad Davis is a solid piece to build around. David is a tackling machine out in space and has plenty of speed to run down ball-carriers. Davis and the Gator defense held FSU’s Dalvin Cook in check for three quarters before wearing down in a 27-2 loss last season. The rivals meet on Nov. 26 at Doak Campbell Stadium.

CB: Jalen Tabor, Florida
2015 Stats:
40 tackles, 1 sack, 4 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions
A first team All-SEC performer in 2015, Jalen Tabor looks to become the second Florida cornerback to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in as many years. Tabor locked opposing receivers down a year ago and returned a pair of picks for a touchdown.

S: Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville
2015 Stats:
88 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles
Josh Harvey-Clemons is an imposing figure for Louisville at 6-5 and 230 pounds and frequently lines up around the line of scrimmage. Harvey-Clemons has fit in nicely with the Louisville defense since transferring from Georgia.

S: Marcus Maye, Florida
2015 Stats:
82 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles
Florida safety Marcus Maye is a big-time hitter, who finished with 82 tackles and five forced fumbles a season ago. Maye was an integral part of a very good Florida secondary last season and is expected to take on a leadership role as a senior.

CB: Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson
2015 Stats:
48 tackles, 1 sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions
A big, physical cornerback at 6-1 and 195 pounds, Cordrea Tankersley was largely overshadowed a season ago by fellow cornerback Mackensie Alexander. Tankersley led Clemson and finished tied for second in the ACC in 2015 with five picks.

Special Teams

K: Nick Weiler, North Carolina
2015 Stats:
20-for-23 field goals, 48 long, 67-for-67 PATS
Senior Nick Weiler was extremely accurate for North Carolina a season ago. Weiler missed just three field goal attempts all season and was 4-for-6 from beyond 40 yards. Weiler doesn’t have the biggest leg, but improved tremendously from his sophomore season.

P: Johnny Townsend, Florida
2015 Stats:
83 punts, 45.4 yards per punt, 61 long, 30 inside 20
Florida punter Johnny Townsend has a big leg and was an unsung hero for the Gators as a sophomore in 2015. Townsend averaged more than 45 yards per punt during the season and better than 46 yards per punt on nine boots against FSU last season.

KR: Nyheim Hines, N.C. State
2015 Stats:
35 kick returns, 26.3 yards per return, 1 touchdown
At 5-9 and 190 pounds, Nyheim Hines isn’t the biggest guy, but he is one of the fastest. The receiver was among the ACC’s best kickoff returners a season ago and scored a 100-yard touchdown on a kickoff return in last season’s loss to Clemson.

PR: Ryan Switzer, North Carolina
2015 Stats:
22 punt returns, 13.7 yards per return, 2 touchdowns
When it comes to returning punts, there might not be a player in the country better than North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer. Throughout his 3-year career with the Tar Heels, Switzer has returned seven career punts for touchdowns, including two last season.

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