The Daily Nole

FSU Football: Post-Spring Analysis by Position Group

Ross Obley/FSU athletics

Another spring of Florida State football is in the books. FSU concluded spring practice on Saturday with the annual spring game which saw the Gold defeat the Garnet team by a 17-7 score.

The on-the-field results for spring games can often be taken with a grain of salt as the annual intrasquad scrimmage seems to include a number of injured players, others wearing non-contact jerseys and many walk-ons. There are however, some conclusions that we can make.

Below, we analyze each position group as the Seminoles begin to get ready for the fall:

Quarterbacks

None of the four Florida State quarterbacks to play on Saturday completed as much as 50 percent of his passes. The pass rush and issues with protection up front were large reasons for that. Deondre Francois without question, will be the starter again, but the backup spot is no more clearer. J.J. Cosentino made some decent throws, but still struggles with things like blitz recognition, anticipation and sensing pressure. In now four years with the program, Cosentino has yet to look consistent or comfortable. Bailey Hockman was just 3-for-11 passing on Saturday, but was under constant pressure, making it difficult to really assess his performance.

Running Backs

If Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers are going to be the 1-2 punch for Florida State in 2017, that should be a lot of fun to watch. Playing for the Gold on Saturday, the two combined for 151 yards rushing and a touchdown on 22 carries. Amir Rasul was tough to judge because he was wearing a non-contact jersey, but Jonathan Vickers impressed from the fullback position and should battle for the job. Ryan Green had another solid spring performance, but it’s hard to imagine that will do him much good.

Wide Receivers

Florida State had only two scholarship receivers in action who weren’t wearing non-contact jerseys. Da’Vante Phillips had a decent day, but struggled catching the ball. Nyqwan Murray, the team’s leading returning receiver, had five catches for a game-high 59 yards receiving. With a healthy Gavin, George Campbell and Auden Tate, this still has the chance to be a decent group. For the second straight spring, walk-on Jared Jackson looked like a scholarship player. Ryan Izzo and Mavin Saunders should again be a decent duo at tight end. Early enrollee Tre’ McKitty made a case as the team’s No. 3 in front of more veteran players like Jeremy Kerr and Naseir Upshur.

Offensive Line

With mixed units, it’s hard to judge the offensive line in its entirety. Redshirt freshmen Baveon Johnson and Josh Ball each made strong cases to start. Maligned redshirt junior tackle Brock Ruble had a decent day in pass protection. Cole Minshew had a decent day at guard for the Gold team. Among those who did not help his case was redshirt sophomore tackle Abdul Bello.

Defensive Line

The defensive line has a chance to be outstanding in 2017 despite the loss of DeMarcus Walker. Brian Burns had three sacks on Saturday, but other notable players who made strong cases to contribute include defensive ends Janarius Robinson and Joshua Kaindoh as well as defensive tackles Darvin Taylor, Wally Aime, Cedric Wood and Fred Jones. This doesn’t even include the likely locks to start in end Josh Sweat and defensive tackles Derrick Nnadi and Demarcus Christmas.

Linebackers

The corps of linebackers should be a deep one for Florida State in 2017, but few players stood out at the position on Saturday. Matthew Thomas and Ro’Derrick Hoskins are the projected starters, but junior college transfer Adonis Thomas was more active in the spring game. Jacob Pugh will again be a solid player from the “BUCK” position and was named the MVP of the spring for the Seminoles. The player who may have had the best day was sophomore Josh Brown, but he was used mostly at the “BUCK” position. Dontavious Jackson and Delvin Purifoy each left something to be desired. Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane and Emmett Rice are two others players hoping to make their way into the lineup who weren’t overly impressive on Saturday.

Secondary

Even with two veteran starters in Tarvarus McFadden and Marcus Lewis out, this unit looked like one that will be outstanding for Florida State in 2017. Derwin James, a redshirt sophomore safety, was all over the place on Saturday and was unquestionably the best defensive player. Stanford Samuels III, an early enrollee, had a strong game as did sophomore Kyle Meyers, who returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise was seldom-used senior Malique Jackson, who made a lot of plays early. James will have three seniors and two juniors helping him out at safety. Sophomores Levonta Taylor and Carlos Becker had decent games on Saturday and should play a lot of cornerback in 2017.

Special Teams

There wasn’t much to take away from special teams on Saturday, but the prospect of Derwin James catching punts is certainly intriguing. With no pressure, Logan Tyler had a nice day punting. Ricky Aguayo rebounded from missing a 43-yard field goal to make a 51-yarder.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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