Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston has been everything the Florida State Seminoles have expected, and then some. It’s tough to come in with the hype that he did and not only meet expectations, but exceed them in some people’s eyes. Mid-way through this season, Winston is 90-of-123 for 1441 yards and 17 touchdowns. It’s also rare that you have an upgrade at the position when you’re replacing a four-year starter, as the ‘Noles had to do with the departure of EJ Manuel, but Jimbo Fisher and crew have pulled that off.
Rest of offense: B+
The last few seasons, the defense has been the heart and soul of this program. But, with a myriad of departures to the NFL, the offense needed to step up and they have. Aside from Winston being of another world at QB, the offensive line has played well enough to keep him protected, and the wide receiving corps of Kenny Shaw, Kelvin Benjamin and Rashad Greene has stepped up in a huge way to help Winston’s progression. The story of the offense thus far, though, has been making the switch of Karlos Williams to the running back position from safety, which has proved its worth more than once already.
I mentioned the departure of some veteran players on this side of the ball, and it has showed at times. Aside from dominating Maryland last week, the defense has gotten off to some slow starts in some games. They fell down quickly to Pitt before getting it together, and were down in a huge way to Boston College before rallying for the blowout. Also, they experienced some difficulty with Nevada early on. Overall though, it appears that the young players on this side of the ball are beginning to settle in, especially true freshman, all-everything defensive back Jalen Ramsey.
Currently, the Seminoles are back to a familiar place, as they’re the fifth-ranked team in the country. We’re ultimately going to learn a lot about this team as they travel to Death Valley for a showdown with the Clemson Tigers in the spotlight game this Saturday night. If they can get by Clemson, there may be nothing standing in this group’s way the rest of the year from running the table.
Offensive Spotlight: QB Jameis Winston
Again, not to beat the dead horse, but this young man has been the backbone of the offense with his play so far. He makes good decisions, and may be, with all due respect to Charlie Ward, the most overall gifted quarterback that Tallahassee has ever seen.
Defensive Spotlight: DB Jalen Ramsey
Highly touted coming in, it was announced right before the opening game at Pitt that the true freshman would be starting at cornerback and he hasn’t stopped making plays since. He’s also displayed his versatility by spending some time at the safety position, and Florida State undoubtedly has themselves a defensive playmaker for the next few years to come.