Florida State starts their fall camp on Thursday and there are quite a few position battles still going on.
5. Wide Receiver: Wilson, Lane, Rudolph, Harrison, and Campbell
Florida State has five receivers vying for the three starting spots on the first team offense. Rudolph is the only lock to be a starter, but Bobo Wilson, Ermon Lane, Ja’Vonn Harrison, and George Campbell will all be fighting for the last two spots. Wilson and Lane are the two many expect to be in the starting lineup, but Harrison had a great spring and proved he was ready to take that step forward. Campbell is only a freshman, but he’s the fastest player on the field. At 6-foot-3 he will provide the downfield threat that Florida State was missing last year, and his ability could get him looks as a starter.
4. Tight End: Saunders vs. Izzo
With Nick O’Leary gone to the NFL the battle for the starting tight end is underway. Izzo has a strangle hold on the position right now because he is the more consistent of the two. Saunders definitely has the higher ceiling of the two and if he can become a more consistent blocker and route runner he would be the better option. Until then it will be Izzo, but if Saunders put in the work this offseason that gap could have closed considerably.
3. Strong Safety: Andrews vs. James
The battle for the starting strong safety spot likely won’t be answered by the time fall camp is over. Junior Nate Andrews is the current starter at the position, and has had a very productive career so far at Florida State. Despite that, there are concerns about how well he does in coverage, and a move back to the Money role may be the best option to maximize his ability. That would leave five star true freshman Derwin James to fill that role at safety. James early enrolled at Florida State in the spring and has already started pushing for the starting job.
2. Corner: White, Green, and McFadden
Jalen Ramsey moving to one of the starting cornerback spots leaves three players vying for the other. Marquez White has a hold on that position so far, but there is some intrigue here. Ryan Green made the move to cornerback during the spring and it took some time for him to learn the intricacies of the position. He has the athletic ability to play corner, and if he has figure out the technique he could challenge Green for the position. The other player that could factor into the battle is five-star true freshman Tavarus McFadden. McFadden comes in with a lot of hype and ability and could throw his name into the ring with a strong showing during the fall camp.
1. Quarterback: Golson vs. Maguire
This is the battle that will receive all the headlines going into the season. Florida State will be looking to replace arguably the best quarterback in the history of the program in Jameis Winston, and these two are the leading candidates for the job. Maguire was a part of the same recruiting class as Winston and stuck with the Seminoles despite sitting for three years. He did struggle in the only start of his career, but that came against Clemson, who had the number one defense in the nation last year, on short notice due to Winston’s suspension. Maguire took over as the first team quarterback this spring and produced mixed results, especially in the Spring Game.
Florida State has brought in former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson transfer to challenge him. Golson was a two year starter at Notre Dame and helped lead them to a National Championship appearance in 2012. Golson is not without his faults though. He has had trouble holding on to the football in the past, but does that offset his playmaking ability?
Head coach Jimbo Fisher will not start Golson until he’s comfortable that he knows enough of the playbook and is familiar with Fisher’s system and how he runs the offense. That means that Maguire will be the starter until Golson proves that he’s ready to take the reigns. How long that takes will determine how well this season goes for Florida State.