Florida State has exceptional talent across the board, but there are some holes to fill and positions where the Seminoles will need to step up. Here are the five players that can make or break the season.
5. Defensive Tackle Derrick Nnadi
Nnadi has big shoes to fill, as he will likely be stepping into the role left by Eddie Goldman. While he only played sparingly for most of the 2014 season he showed flashes of greatness. With Nile Lawrence-Stample healthy and returning to the starting lineup, Nnadi will be free to wreck havoc on opposing offenses.
4. Defensive End Jacob Pugh
The Florida State defense only produced 17 sacks last season. If they are to succeed this season they will need to find a pass rush and that’s where Pugh will step in. Pugh was an elite pass rusher in high school and, with the hiring of defensive ends coach Brad Lawing, he can help improve that number by a large margin.
3. Quarterback Everett Golson
Golson transferred in from Notre Dame and will have a very short amount of time to learn the playbook. Sean Maguire is the main obstacle standing in his way, but Golson has the higher upside when he is playing well. Florida State has a number of elite athletes at the skill positions and Golson will have them to lean on.
2. Running Back Dalvin Cook
Cook is going to be the linchpin of the offense this season. Mario Pender and Jacques Patrick will both get their carries, but the majority will fall to Cook. He will need to build on an excellent freshman season and carry the team. If he can perform as well as he did during the back half of the 2014 season the Florida State offense will still put up a lot of points.
1. Center Alec Eberle
The biggest question on Florida State’s roster is who will play the center position and can they do a good enough job to allow the offense to function. Right now Eberle is the leading candidate to start at that position. He started during the spring game and did a decent job blocking, but did have trouble snapping. If he can fix that issue the Florida State offense will be in business.