The Daily Nole

FSU Senior Moments: Demarcus Christmas

Bill Pearce/FSU athletics

For the first time in 37 years, Florida State seniors won’t get to close their careers with a bowl game. That doesn’t mean however, that their careers aren’t worth recognizing.

After looking back on the career of Derrick Kelly on Sunday, we now move to the defensive side of the ball as we reflect on the career of a 3-year starter at defensive tackle.

A native of Sarasota, Demarcus Christmas came to FSU in 2014 as a 4-star prospect. After being used in a reserve role as a redshirt freshman in 2015, Christmas started 37 of 38 games over his final three seasons. Christmas missed this season’s contest with Northern Illinois, snapping a string of 30 straight starts.

For much of his career, Christmas was overshadowed by the likes of Derrick Nnadi and more recently, Marvin Wilson, but he was a productive player, particularly against the run. Christmas finishes his career with 50 games played, 106 total tackles, 11.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two recoveries.

A third-team All-ACC performer this past season, many believe that Christmas does have an NFL future. Looking back on his college career, here are the top five moments:

5. Christmas Chases Lamar Jackson Down
Oct. 21, 2017

No. 5 on this list wasn’t a particularly promising play for Florida State, but it exemplified who Demarcus Christmas was as a player. In a 31-28 loss to Louisville in 2017, reigning Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson broke contain down the sideline for the Cardinals on a 51-yard run. Jackson made multiple defenders miss, but there 50 yards from the line of scrimmage was a hustling Christmas to make the stop and for the moment, prevent a touchdown.

4. Fumble Recovery Helps Avert Disaster
Nov. 11, 2017

With Clemson leading 7-0 early in the second quarter of the 2017 contest, the Tigers were just a yard away from doubling the lead when quarterback Kelly Bryant handed the ball to running back Tavien Feaster. Fortunately for FSU, defensive end Brian Burns was able to strip Feaster and an alert Christmas fell on the ball to thwart the Clemson scoring opportunity. The play would help FSU make it a 4-quarter football game, but Clemson pulled away late, 31-14.

3. Big Game at Miami
Oct. 6, 2018

Facing Miami always seemed to bring out the best in Demarcus Christmas. After recording a tackle for loss on quarterback Malik Rosier the year before, Christmas finished with a career-high 1.5 tackles for loss in the 28-27 loss to the Hurricanes in 2018. Christmas finished with more tackles for loss against Miami than any other opponent in his career.

2. Blocked Kick Leads to Touchdown
Nov. 18, 2017

It was Senior Day 2017 for Florida State as the Seminoles hosted Delaware State, but it was a pair of juniors that began the onslaught. With FSU up 7-0, the Hornets drove into Seminoles territory before having to settle for a 42-yard field goal attempt. Christmas was able to bust through and get a hand on Wisdom Nzidee’s kick, which was subsequently picked up by cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and returned the other way for a 63-yard touchdown. The score gave FSU a 14-0 lead in an eventual 77-6 win — the largest margin of victory since 1949.

1. First Full Career Sack
Oct. 29, 2016

Entering the 2016 prime time contest with Clemson, Christmas had assisted on three sacks in his career, but had never had a solo sack. That would change during a hard-fought 37-34 loss to the eventual national champions. With FSU leading 28-26 and the Tigers facing 2nd-and-15, Christmas got to Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson in the third quarter. Clemson would score a field goal on the drive to go ahead, but Christmas had a monster night with four tackles, the sack and a pass break-up.

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

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