Seminole stars James, Francois among nation’s best

The Florida State Seminoles roster is loaded. So it’s almost a no-brainer that in a list of the top 100 college football players, five Seminoles would appear. 

When Bleacher Report released its top 100 players for this season, Deondre Francois, Derrick Nnadi, Josh Sweat, Tarvarus McFadden and Derwin James could be found among the among the best in the country.

See where these five ranked and what Bleacher Report had to say about them below.

“A talented player worthy of a higher individual ranking, Deondre Francois will guide a respected yet flawed Florida State offense, thus his lower standing,” Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon wrote. “The blocking unit ceded 36 sacks in 2016 and allowed dozens more hits, but Francois will again help the ‘Noles overcome that weakness to compete for ACC and national crowns.”

Francois was named the ACC Rookie of the Year last season. 

“Derwin James is FSU’s most recognizable defender—and for good reason—but don’t overlook Derrick Nnadi,” Kenyon wrote. “The senior-to-be has two straight seasons of 40-plus tackles, and he recorded 10.5 stops for loss with six sacks last season.”

The 6-foot-1, 312-pound defensive tackle posted the second-best run-stop percentage in the FBS last season at 12.8 percent. 

“Although knee injuries limited Josh Sweat during his first two seasons, he often showed 5-star potential in bursts,” Kenyon wrote. “Now healthy (it appears), Sweat can finally take on a featured role and be the full-time dominant edge-rusher long expected.”

The junior came on strong in his final three games of the 2016 recording 6.5 of his 11.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 of his 7 sacks.

Two Seminole DBs named preseason All-America

“Florida State took the good with the bad from Tarvarus McFadden early in 2016,” Kenyon wrote. “His personal turnaround coincided with FSU’s collective surge, and he grabbed five interceptions during the Seminoles’ 8-1 finish. McFadden ended the year with an FBS-best eight picks.”

He was the life force of the Seminoles secondary after the season-ending injury to James. The junior won the Jack Tatum Award last season as the nation’s top defensive back and has received preseason All-American honors from several publications.

A No. 4 ranking is actually a step backwards for James, who has been named the No.1 player in the country by multiple publications. Odds are he is probably not too concerned with his preseason ranking and just wants to show that he hasn’t lost an edge being sidelined for nearly a year.

“During the spring game, James showed no lingering effects of his surgery. He’s ready. As a freshman, James recorded at least nine tackles in each of FSU’s final six contests,” Kenyon wrote. “That type of production tethered to his versatility and potential for game-altering plays is worth everyone’s attention.”

In 2015, James was named a freshman All-American after he recorded 91 tackles, 9.5 stops for loss, 4.5 sacks, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles. 

Kenyon writes that the safety’s best attribute is his ability to be in the right spots all the time.

“It certainly helps to have elite athleticism to get there, too. That mixture of skills affords him the ability to be a takeaway artist, which we haven’t totally seen but is likely on the horizon,” Kenyon wrote.

See who the top player in college football was at Bleacher Report

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