Wayne McGahee III

Five Players FSU Needs To Step Up In 2016

Florida State is in position to make a run at the college football playoffs, and maybe a National Championship. Which players need to step up for them to do so?

Linebacker Matthew Thomas

The time is now for Thomas to step up and be the player that everyone thought he would be coming out of high school. Thomas has been suspended for 19 games over the last two seasons, but has kept his nose clean this offseason. During the spring Thomas was running with the first team as both an inside and outside linebacker. If he can stay on the field he completely changes the dynamic of the Florida State defense.

Wide Receiver Auden Tate

Florida State had three receivers with over 50 catches and all three return in 2016, but there was a serious lack of size in that group. Only one receiver, Travis Rudolph, stands taller than 6-foot. It hurt the Seminoles in the red zone, but Tate stepping up would completely change that. At 6-foot-5, 220-pounds, Tate provides the big red zone target. His impressive touchdown catch during the spring game shows just how much of a mismatch he can be for opposing defenses. If he can play to that level consistently the Seminoles offense would take a big step forward.

Wide Receiver George Campbell

A lot of the same things that apply to Tate also apply to Campbell. He's 6-foot-4, 190-pounds and one of the fastest players on the team. If he can become more consistent it provides the offense the dynamic downfield threat that they lacked last season. He also could be a big time red zone target with his size. The biggest reason why Campbell didn't see the field last year was because he didn't consistently run the right routes or catch the ball consistently. If he can fix those two issues, he would bring a completely different dynamic to the Florida State offense.

Defensive Lineman Walvenski Aime

Aime is a JUCO transfer that early enrolled at Florida State for the spring semester. He had such a good spring, and put himself in position to get quite a bit of playing time at both defensive tackle and at strong side defensive end. After moving Rick Leonard to the offensive side of the football there is a hole at defensive end behind Demarcus Walker. Aime being able to fill that role, and play well, will make this defense extremely dangerous. 

Quarterback Deondre Francois

Francois took most of the first team reps this spring after Sean Maguire suffered a broken ankle in the Peach Bowl. Francois will have to battle Maguire for the starting job during fall camp. Maguire has the experience, but Francois has a big edge in talent. If he can take control of the job during the fall, and perform well this season, the Seminoles go from an ACC championship contender to a National Championship contender. 

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