The Daily Nole

FSU Football: Five Non-Seniors Facing “Make or Break” Year

PTF Photo/FSU athletics

We’re just over a month away from the Florida State spring game, which will provide fans a first look at what’s being referred to offensively as “lethal simplicity”.

New head coach Willie Taggart has the fan base abuzz and the players seem to be responding. Talent won’t be at a loss for FSU come 2018, but there are a number of players who could benefit greatly from a breakthrough year.

As the spring gets underway and position battles heat up, here are five players who are facing an upcoming “make or break” year:

1. Deondre Francois, QB
Former ACC Rookie of the Year in 2016 and preseason Heisman Trophy contender, redshirt junior quarterback Deondre Francois looks like he’ll be in a position battle in 2018. Francois accounted for more than 3,500 total yards and 25 total touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2016, but suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 against Alabama last season. Freshman James Blackman played well as last season went on, added needed weight this offseason and may be a more pure passer. Bailey Hockman, a redshirt freshman, is another player who shouldn’t be ruled out. With Francois’ status for spring uncertain, the fight for the starting job under center is one Francois can’t afford to take lightly.

2. George Campbell, WR
Once a 5-star receiver, George Campbell looked to be the complete package at 6-foot-4 and nearly 210 pounds with the ability to run. Now a redshirt junior, Campbell hasn’t been able to shake off the injury bug. Campbell was off to a hot start last season with three catches for 85 yards in the home opener against N.C. State, but injury struck again. With the exception of Nyqwan Murray, no receiver on the roster has produced significantly more, but the Seminoles are bringing in five talented freshmen at the position who will be fighting to see the field.

3. Naseir Upshur, TE
With Ryan Izzo heading to the NFL and Mavin Saunders transferring to Kansas, Florida State will need someone to step up at the tight end position. Naseir Upshur, a junior from Philadelphia, has become the veteran on the roster, but has yet to record a catch during his FSU career. With youngsters like Tre’ McKitty, Alexander Marshall and newcomer Camren McDonald hungry for playing time, the opportunity for Upshur to become a difference-maker is now.

4. Adonis Thomas, LB
A junior college transfer, Adonis Thomas saw the field as a redshirt sophomore a season ago, finishing with 12 tackles and one for loss. Thomas however looked slow at times getting re-acclimated with the FBS game and often struggled to get off blocks. With a hungry slew of linebackers including Emmett Rice, Josh Brown, Dontavious Jackson, Leonard Warner and newcomers Xavier Peters and Amari Gainer, 2018 may be Thomas’ last shot at making a meaningful impact for the Seminoles.

5. Kyle Meyers, CB
Junior cornerback Kyle Meyers has been far from unproductive during his Florida State career, but as 2017 went along, Levonta Taylor and Stanford Samuels III seemed to have lapped him in terms of viability. While there is absolutely no shame in that, the Seminoles are bringing in a slew of talented young defensive backs and now needs to be the time for Meyers to take the next step and show some consistency. Meyers finished with 26 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble last season.

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

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