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Noles Insider - Tim Linafelt - Blogs 2017

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 20, 2017 - 5:01 pm

By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Dwayne Bacon wasted no time making an impression with his new team and city.

Less than a month after joining the Charlotte Hornets – he was drafted in the second round by the New Orleans Pelicans and then promptly traded to Charlotte – the former Florida State standout has emerged as one of pro basketball's bright young stars.

He averaged 15.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in five games at the Orlando Pro Summer League, prompting Charlotte to sign him to a two-year deal and moving one fan blog to declare that the Hornets “have to find minutes for Dwayne Bacon.”

Another Charlotte columnist, discovering what the FSU media has known for two years, recently published an article noting just how much fun it can be to write about a player who shares a last name with a beloved breakfast food.

“It is so tough not to say or write ‘Bacon sizzles,'” Tom Sorensen wrote in the Charlotte Observer. “So we say it and we write it. And if Bacon continues to sizzle, we're not going to stop.”

But perhaps the biggest sign of Bacon's arrival on the professional stage is the relationship he's built with his new boss: basketball superstar and Hornets owner Michael Jordan.

“I text him a lot, actually. He's a great guy,” Bacon said.

Bacon has achieved a lot in basketball, with plenty more likely to come. But he admitted that having MJ's number in his phone is a bit of a thrill.

And Bacon furthered that connection by signing an endorsement contract with Jordan's apparel brand earlier this week.

“It's like a childhood dream,” Bacon said. “Growing up, I never thought I would be texting Michael Jordan back and forth. I never thought I would sign with Michael Jordan's brand. It's all so fulfilling. You're excited but you can't even show it because there's too much excitement.”

With a few weeks to go until he has to report for training camp, Bacon returned to Tallahassee this week to continue working out and to catch up with some former teammates.

Paced by Bacon and fellow NBA draft pick Jonathan Isaac (No. 6 overall to Orlando), the Seminoles won 26 games and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years.

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Bacon, a former five-star recruit once thought to be a surefire one-and-one player, led FSU with 17.2 points per game as a sophomore and helped the Seminoles finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, behind only eventual national champion North Carolina.

“The second year for me was amazing,” Bacon said. “I felt like I did what I could for our team here. We got back to the tournament after five years. I felt like we did what we had to do.”

While he knows he'll have to take his game up several more notches once the NBA regular season begins, Bacon believes that his skills are well-suited for the style of play typically found at the professional level.

That is to say loose, free-flowing and able to improvise when the situation calls for it.

“(The NBA) is kind of more open,” Bacon said. “It's not like college where guys are all packed in, waiting for you to get to the post. I feel like I'm more open to play my game and I'm better at that level, just because it's super open and I know how to make a lot of moves for myself.”

Speaking of moves, Bacon was as surprised as everyone else on draft night, when he found out he'd be moving from New Orleans to Charlotte.

The Hornets announced Bacon as their second-round pick, No. 40 overall, and, for a few moments, Bacon figured he was headed west.

It wasn't until he stepped toward the draft podium that Bacon learned he had been traded.

The news came as a shock at first, but, the more he gets used to his new digs, the more Bacon believes that he ended up right where he belongs.

“I feel like I landed in a perfect spot for me,” Bacon said. “…The Hornets wanted me and I had a chance to come to a great organization with someone I very much look up to in Michael Jordan. It was amazing.”

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 19, 2017 - 11:17 am

By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On the heels of a predicted first-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll, the Florida State football team landed three players on the preseason All-ACC team, the league announced Wednesday morning.

A poll of 167 media members voted redshirt junior center Alec Eberle, junior cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and redshirt sophomore safety Derwin James as the best at their positions.

Additionally, six more Seminoles finished among the top three in voting at their respective positions: quarterback Deondre Francois (second), running back Jacques Patrick (third), tight end Ryan Izzo (third), defensive end Josh Sweat (third), defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (third) and kicker Ricky Aguayo (second).

The preseason all-conference team speaks to the depth of Florida State's talent, as despite finishing with fewer selections than Clemson (5) and Miami (4), the Seminoles were the media's runaway pick to the win the ACC.

Eberle is coming off a season in which he started all 13 games at center and helped the Seminoles to one of the best rushing attacks in school history. He's been named to watch lists for the Rimington (center) and Outland (interior lineman) trophies, as well for the Wuerffel Trophy, which rewards players based on their community service. The president of the FSU chapter of Uplifting Athletes, Eberle was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works team a year ago.

McFadden is looking to build on a breakout sophomore season in which he tied for the national lead with eight interceptions. That's also tied for the second-most interceptions in a single season in Florida State history. He is on watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurski (both given to the defensive player of the year) and Thorpe (best defensive back) awards.

Finally, James is on the verge of perhaps the most anticipated return of any player in the country. After missing the final 11-plus games of the 2016 season with an injury, James participated in spring practice and is ready to go for this fall. The versatile defensive back had 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries on the way to freshman All-America honors in 2015. James is on the watch lists for the Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe and Hornung (most versatile player) awards.

Here is the full release from the ACC:

 

2017 All-ACC Preseason Football Team Announced

Clemson leads with five selections; Miami is next with four

 

GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Defending national champion Clemson leads all schools with five selections to the 2017 All-Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Football Team announced on Wednesday.

The team was selected by a vote of 167 media members that were credentialed for last week's ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte.

The Tigers' defensive tackle tandem of Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence were both selected, along with the Clemson offensive trio of wide receiver Deon Cain, tackle Mitch Hyatt and guard Tyrone Crowder.

Miami, which was predicted to place first in the Coastal Division in the media preseason poll announced earlier this week, placed four players on the All-ACC preseason team. Preseason ACC favorite Florida State, defending Coastal Division champion Virginia Tech and NC State each had three players selected.

Eleven of the league's 14 football programs placed at least one player on the 2017 All-ACC Preseason Team.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville was chosen to repeat as ACC Player of the Year after a record-setting 2016 campaign in which he averaged 393.4 yards per game of total offense and accounted for 51 touchdowns, both ACC single-season records. His 1,571 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns were also ACC records for a quarterback.

Jackson, a rising junior from Pompano Beach, Florida, who is the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy, also was named the 2016 National College Football Player of the Year by the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp, the Sporting News and CBS Sports

Jackson's 132 votes led all players. He was followed by returning 1,000-yard rusher Mark Walton of Miami with 127 and Florida State safety Derwin James with 126. NC State all-purpose standout Jaylen Samuels had 124 votes while Clemson offensive linemen Hyatt and Tyrone Crowder each received 123 votes.

Others topping the century mark included Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden with 117 votes, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry with 111 and Clemson's Wilkins and Lawrence tied at defensive tackle with 105 votes apiece. Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander was named on 104 ballots, Clemson wide receiver Deon Cain on 103, and NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb received 101 votes.

Other members of the All-ACC Preseason Team include running back Dedrick Mills (Georgia Tech), wide receivers Ahmmon Richards (Miami) and Cam Phillips (Virginia Tech), tight end Cam Serigne (Wake Forest), offensive tackle Brian O'Neill (Pitt), offensive guard Wyatt Teller (Virginia Tech) and center Alec Eberle (Florida State).

Defensive selections include linebackers Micah Kiser (Virginia), Shaquille Quarterman (Miami) and Tremaine Edwards (Virginia Tech), as well as Virginia safety Quin Blanding (Virginia).

Placekicker Michael Badgley (Miami), punter A.J. Cole III (NC State) and kick returner Quadree Henderson (Pitt) round out the special teams corps.

2017 All-ACC Preseason Football Team

Offense

WR – Deon Cain, Jr., Clemson

WR – Ahmmon Richards, So., Miami

WR – Cam Phillips, Sr., Virginia Tech

TE – Cam Serigne, Sr.-r, Wake Forest

AP – Jaylen Samuels, Sr., NC State

OT – Mitch Hyatt, Jr., Clemson 

OT – Brian O'Neill, Jr.-r, Pitt

OG – Tyrone Crowder, Sr.-r, Clemson

OG – Wyatt Teller, Sr.-r, Virginia Tech

C – Alec Eberle, Jr.-r, Florida State

QB – Lamar Jackson, Jr., Louisville

RB – Mark Walton, Jr., Miami

RB – Dedrick Mills, So., Georgia Tech

Defense

DE – Harold Landry, Sr., Boston College

DE – Bradley Chubb, Sr., NC State 

DT – Dexter Lawrence, So., Clemson

DT – Christian Wilkins, Jr., Clemson 

LB – Micah Kiser, Sr.-r, Virginia

LB – Shaquille Quarterman, So., Miami

LB – Tremaine Edmunds, Jr., Virginia Tech

CB – Tarvarus McFadden, Jr., Florida State

CB – Jaire Alexander, Jr., Louisville 

S – Derwin James, So.-r, Florida State

S – Quin Blanding, Sr., Virginia

Special Teams

PK – Michael Badgley, Jr., Miami

P – A.J. Cole III, Jr., NC State

SP – Quadree Henderson, Jr., Pitt

2017 All-ACC Preseason Team Voting

 

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson, Louisville 132; Deondre Francois, Florida State 29; Eric Dungey, Syracuse 3; Daniel Jones, Duke 2; Ryan Finley, NC State 1.

Running Back

Mark Walton Miami, 127; Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech 75; Jacques Patrick, Florida State 38; Travon McMillian, Virginia Tech 24; Nyheim Hines, NC State 19; Jeremy Smith, Louisville 16; Shaun Wilson, Duke 16; Jon Hilliman, Boston College 10; Clinton Lynch, Georgia Tech 4; Dontae Strickland, Syracuse 2; Qua Searcy, Georgia Tech 2; George Aston, Pitt 1.

Wide Receiver

Deon Cain, Clemson 103; Ahmmon Richards, Miami 77; Cam Phillips, Virginia Tech 68; Hunter Renfrow, Clemson 44; Jaylen Smith, Louisville 44; Nyqwan Murray, Florida State 33; Ervin Philips, Syracuse 24; Jester Weah, Pitt 22; Auden Tate, Florida State 22; T.J. Rahming, Duke 13; Austin Proehl, North Carolina 12; Ricky Jeune, Georgia Tech 10; Steve Ishmael, Syracuse 9; Kelvin Harmon, NC State 7; Doni Dowling, Virginia 4; Stephen Louis, NC State 3; Olamide Zaccheaus, Virginia 3; Thomas Jackson, North Carolina 2; Jeff Smith, Boston College 1. 

Tight End

Cam Serigne, Wake Forest 96; Chris Herndon IV, Miami 29; Ryan Izzo, Florida State 23; Brandon Fritts, North Carolina 6; Daniel Helm, Duke 5; Tommy Sweeney, Boston College 4; Carl Tucker, North Carolina 4.

All-Purpose

Jaylen Samuels, NC State 124; Quadree Henderson, Pitt 43.

Offensive Tackle

Mitch Hyatt, Clemson 123; Brian O'Neill, Pitt 83; Bentley Spain, North Carolina 32; Rick Leonard, Florida State 20; Geron Christian, Louisville 14; Brock Ruble, Florida State 13; Tyler Jones, NC State 9; Evan Lisle, Duke 8; Sean Pollard, Clemson 8; Ryan Anderson, Wake Forest 6; Andrew Marshall, Georgia Tech 6; Yosuah Nijman, Virginia Tech 5; Justin Herron, Wake Forest 4; Jahaziel Lee, Georgia Tech 2; Lukayus McNeil, Louisville 1.

Offensive Guard

Tyrone Crowder, Clemson 123; Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech 52; Tony Adams, NC State 50; KC McDermott, Miami 22; Landon Dickerson, Florida State 22; Parker Braun, Georgia Tech 16; Alex Officer, Pitt 13; R.J. Prince, North Carolina 7; Phil Haynes, Wake Forest 7; Taylor Hearn, Clemson 6; Will Bryan, Georgia Tech 5; Alex Bookser, Pitt 5; Tommy Hatton, North Carolina 4; Chris Lindstrom, Boston College 2.

Center

Alec Eberle, Florida State 54; Jon Baker, Boston College 51; Austin Davis, Duke 32; Eric Gallo, Virginia Tech 21; Cam Dillard, North Carolina 9.

Defensive End

Harold Landry, Boston College 111; Bradley Chubb, NC State 101; Josh Sweat, Florida State 31; Clelin Ferrell, Clemson 27; Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest 13; Brian Burns, Florida State 11; Kentavius Street, NC State 8; KeShun Freeman, Georgia Tech 6; Vinny Mihota, Virginia Tech 6; Chad Thomas, Miami 6; Joe Jackson, Miami 5; Andrew Brown, Virginia 4; Malik Carney, North Carolina 4; Antonio Simmons, Georgia Tech 1.

Defensive Tackle

Christian Wilkins, Clemson 105; Dexter Lawrence, Clemson 105; Derrick Nnadi, Florida State 54; Demarcus Christmas, Florida State 12; R.J. McIntosh, Miami 11; Tim Settle, Virginia Tech 10; Drew Bailey, Louisville 9; Kendrick Norton, Miami 9; B.J. Hill, NC State 8; Mike Ramsay, Duke 5; Ricky Walker, Virginia Tech 3; Aaron Crawford, North Carolina 2; Chris Slayton, Syracuse 1.

 

Linebacker

Micah Kiser, Virginia 89; Shaquille Quarterman, Miami 78; Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech 60; Zaire Franklin, Syracuse 33; Kendall Joseph, Clemson 29; Andrew Motuapuaka, Virginia Tech 24; Jacob Pugh, Florida State 22; Matthew Thomas, Florida State 20; Ben Humphreys, Duke 19; Stacy Thomas, Louisville 17; Ro'Derrick Hoskins, Florida State 16; Connor Strachan, Boston College 14; Dorian O'Daniel, Clemson 13; James Hearns, Louisville 12; Joe Giles-Harris, Duke 10; Airius Moore, NC State 9; Andre Smith, North Carolina 9; Mook Reynolds, Virginia Tech 5; Jaboree Williams, Wake Forest 4; Zach McCloud, Miami 4; Michael Pinckney, Miami 4; Parris Bennett, Syracuse 2; Trevon Young, Louisville 2; Jordan Mack, Virginia 2; Brant Mitchell, Georgia Tech 2; Cole Holcomb. North Carolina 1; Ty Schwab, Boston College 1. 

Cornerback

Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State 117; Jaire Alexander, Louisville 104; M.J. Stewart, North Carolina 27; Ryan Carter, Clemson 19; Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech 18; Adonis Alexander, Virginia Tech 13; Bryon Fields Jr., Duke 12; Tim Harris, Virginia 5; Lance Austin, Georgia Tech 5; Avonte Maddox, Pitt 4; Bryce Hall, Virginia 4; Mike Stevens, NC State 4; Kamrin Moore, Boston College 2.

Safety

Derwin James, Florida State 126; Quin Blanding, Virginia 88; Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech 19; Jordan Whitehead, Pitt 17; Jessie Bates III, Wake Forest 15; Van Smith, Clemson 11; Nate Andrews, Florida State 8; Chucky Williams, Louisville 8; Trey Marshall, Florida State 7; Donnie Myles, North Carolina 6; Jaquan Johnson, Miami 4; Shawn Boone, NC State 4; Alonzo Saxton II, Duke 4; Lawrence Austin, Georgia Tech 4; Juan Thornhill, Virginia 3; Corey Griffin, Georgia Tech 3; Myles Dorn, North Carolina 2; Antwan Cordy, Syracuse 2; Jeremy McDuffie, Duke 2; A.J. Gray, Georgia Tech 1.

Placekicker

Michael Badgley, Miami 52; Ricky Aguayo, Florida State 34; Joey Slye, Virginia Tech 31; Greg Huegel, Clemson 29; Mike Weaver, Wake Forest 17; Blanton Creque, Louisville 4.

Punter

A.J. Cole III, NC State 33; Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse 31; Tommy Sheldon, North Carolina 25; Mason King, Louisville 22; Dom Maggio, Wake Forest 18; Ryan Winslow, Pitt 16; Logan Tyler, Florida State 13; Austin Parker, Duke 9.

Specialist

Quadree Henderson, Pitt 98; Nyheim Hines, NC State 29; Shaun Wilson, Duke 14; Braxton Berrios, Miami 13; Sean Riley, Syracuse 5; Joe Reed, Virginia 4; J.J. Green, Georgia Tech 3; Michael Walker, Boston College 1.

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 18, 2017 - 9:39 pm

By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Although it doesn't require anything resembling the same skill or strategy, there are a few things about an old-fashioned game of tug-of-war that can translate to the football field: Raw strength, the ability to work as a team and a deep-rooted competitive spirit.

The Florida State football team flashed those traits in abundance on Tuesday during two marathon tug-of-war matches that put an emphatic exclamation point on FSU's annual Lift For Life fundraiser.

And if the Seminoles compete on the gridiron this fall the way they did on Tuesday, then coach Jimbo Fisher likes their chances this season

“(It shows) that hopefully we've got the right DNA. And compete the right way,” Fisher said afterward. “It was fierce. But at the same time, they moved on to the next thing, it wasn't personal and (it was) knowing how to compete. And that's another thing that made me proud.”

As for that tug-of-war duel, let the official record reflect that the offense got the best of the defense in Round 1, while the defense claimed the rematch.

Each match lasted nearly 20 seconds and both sides had moments where they appeared to have the upper hand.


“That's the two best tug-of-wars (I've ever seen),” Fisher said. “…They were all straining, now. They didn't want to give it up.”

“Everybody was getting dragged around, everyone was jumping in,” added Alec Eberle, the fourth-year junior center who organized the event. “No one wants to lose. It's bragging rights.”

Those rights were claimed in several other strongman competitions, including tire-flipping, farmer's carry relays and medicine-ball tossing.

But the most difficult event, Eberle said, was the one in which the Seminoles paired off to push oversized golf carts – one weighed down by director of football operations Mark Robinson, the other by associate director of sports medicine Jake Pfeil – across the practice field.

“Everyone was dying after that,” Eberle said with a laugh.


While the Seminoles sparred with each other throughout the afternoon, they never lost sight of the reason they were there.

Lift For Life is the signature event of the Florida State chapter of Uplifting Athletes, an organization that works with student-athletes to raise funds toward research for rare diseases.

At Florida State, Uplifting Athletes supports the fight against Fanconi anemia through Kidz1stFund, the foundation established by the Fisher family in 2011.

Fisher's youngest son, Ethan, is one of thousands affected by Fanconi anemia, a rare blood disorder that often requires a bone marrow transplant.

The Seminoles raised a final total of $6,512 at this year's Lift For Life, easily surpassing their goal of $5,000.

“I think they're realizing how they can impact lives, not only on that football field,” Fisher said. “They're giving other people hope in life,” Fisher said. “And I think that's the greatest thing you can ever do as a human being.”

For Eberle, Tuesday's event was the culmination of months of planning, organizing and strategizing. Eberle took over as chapter president for founder Kevin Haplea following Haplea's graduation in 2015, and he's already begun grooming fellow lineman Josh Ball to one day be his successor.

“It was awesome just being out here, having my guys support me and see it fall into pace,” Eberle said.

The Seminoles got plenty out of Tuesday's event for themselves, too. With fall camp set to begin in about two weeks and the season-opener against Alabama now less than 50 days away, the players used their friendly competition to draw together as a team and enjoy each other's company before things get more heated next month.

It's those moments and memories, Fisher said, that will prove to be the most valuable as years go by.

“At the end of the day, they're going to remember the ball and the wins,” Fisher said. “But what they're going to (really) remember is the friendships and the impact that they had on each other's lives. Fifteen, 20 years from now, that's going to be the big deal.”

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 17, 2017 - 5:43 pm

By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Now in his third year as the leader of Florida State's chapter of Uplifting Athletes, Seminoles center Alec Eberle is looking to kick things up a few notches.

So much so that Eberle, along with redshirt freshman lineman Josh Ball, traveled to the Uplifting Athletes national conference in Philadelphia earlier this year to learn strategies and hear inspirational stories from schools with a lengthier history in the organization.

He heard of how the Penn State football program has raised more than $1.2 million toward research for cancer and rare diseases since 2003. And how Nebraska has held a 5k road race for each of the last five years to benefit pediatric brain cancer research.

FSU's chapter, founded in 2014, is younger than the ones from those and several other schools. But that hasn't stopped Eberle from dreaming big.

“We were like ‘There's so much more we can do,'" Eberle said. "... Because at Florida State, we have such a huge platform. If we can use our platform and our fanbase to get this even bigger, I think it can be huge.

"There's no other school like our school. And everyone knows that."

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Armed with new information and a new perspective, Eberle and Ball headed back to Tallahassee, where they began mapping out this year's Lift For Life event. Lift For Life, now in its fourth year at FSU, is open to the public and will take place inside the Albert J. Dunlap Indoor Practice Facility on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

The signature event for the FSU chapter of Uplifting Athletes, Lift For Life pits the Seminoles against each other in various feats of strength as they draw financial pledges to support the Kidz1stFund.

Coach Jimbo Fisher and his family founded the Kidz1stFund in 2011 with a goal of fighting Fanconia anemia, a rare blood disease that affects Fisher's youngest son, Ethan, as well as thousands of other people.

The Seminoles raised more than $5,000 at last year's Lift For Life event, and Eberle would like to blow past that amount this year. Pledges can be made online at http://give.upliftingathletes.org/fsulift2017, or at the door. 

“Coach Fisher's family does so much for us as a team,” Eberle said. “Any opportunity we get to give back to them, it's pretty awesome.”

Life For Life always promises an entertaining show. Previous years' highlights have included oversized tire flipping, heavy-duty van pulling and, the main event, an offense-versus-defense game of tug-of-war.

They may be working together for a common goal, but that doesn't stop the Seminoles from trying to get the best of each other.

“Everyone looks forward to it – the whole team, the coaches, even the strength coaches love it,” Eberle said. “Because it just gives us a chance to go out there and compete. Y'all know our team, everyone wants to constantly go out there and compete.”

And given the strides that the Seminoles have made in the weight room over the summer – Eberle said he's stronger than ever and has noticed similar gains across the entire roster – he believes this year's event will bring even more fireworks than years' past.

“It's really impressive,” he said. “So I think this year is going to be even more fun, because everyone knows, ‘I'm a lot stronger than that guy,' or, ‘He thinks he's stronger than me,' and they want to beat him.

“So I think the competition this year is going to be awesome.”

Asked for the most anticipated event of the day, Eberle smiled and said, “Oh, you know the event everybody looks forward to.”

That would be the tug-of-war, which promises unassailable bragging rights to either the offense or defense for a full year.

"Everybody just goes at it and it's so fun," he said. "Coach Fisher gets into it, guys start talking big trash. It's definitely the best event of this entire time.”

Although they'll be competitors on the field, Eberle said the team is collectively more united than ever when it comes to supporting Uplifting Athletes' cause.

The FSU chapter has come a long way since its founding three years ago, when Kevin Haplea, a tight end who transferred to Florida State from Penn State, sought to bring Uplifting Athletes to his new school.

Haplea, Eberle and former FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo have all served in leadership capacities since then, but Eberle said that dynamic is changing as more and more players get behind their efforts.

Since Uplifting Athletes events are entirely organized and produced by student-athletes, Eberle has done almost all off the legwork to get things up and running over the last few years.

But now, he said, there's a virtual "board" of players who he can count on to help make the event happen and spread the word about it through their social media accounts.

Which, of course, brings a smile to the face of their head coach.

“He tells me every time that it means the world to him and his family that we plan this out and do this every year and make sure it happens,” Eberle said. “I know he appreciates it. Any time we can help them and give back to them, that's what we want to do.”

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 17, 2017 - 3:57 pm

By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A boisterous atmosphere at the Donald L. Tucker Center helped propel the Florida State men's basketball team to a perfect, 18-0 record at home during the 2016-17 season.

For an encore, FSU athletics is introducing an innovative new way to bring more Seminoles fans even closer to the action in 2017-18.

Florida State on Monday announced the Benchwarmer Pass, a new, 100-percent mobile season ticket that guarantees a different seat in the lower bowl of the Tucker Center for every home game of the 2017-18 regular season.

The pass, on sale now for $150, averages to less than $10 per game and is guaranteed to be a better value than the face value of each ticket.

“We wanted to make this too good of an offer to not do,” said Mark Cameron, director of ticket sales at FSU. “So, we made it a more affordable option than a traditional season ticket, guaranteed lower level and, for some games, you'll be in sideline seating.”

Fans can purchase the Benchwarmer Pass on Seminoles.com, then link their ticket account to the FSU Gameday app on their smart phones. Tickets will then be claimed and seats assigned 24-48 hours before tip-off.

Benchwarmer Pass seats can be anywhere in the lower bowl of the Tucker Center, from general admission seats near the basket all the way to a reserved seat behind the FSU bench – hence the name “Benchwarmer Pass.”

Benchwarmer Passes cannot be resold, however they can be transferred from fan to fan. Passholder tickets will be distributed in the form of a unique barcode that is scanned at the Tucker Center gates.

Mobile ticketing is on the rise in both professional and collegiate sports. The NFL's New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs recently announced similar programs, and the trend has made its way to MLB, the NHL and the NBA, too.

The idea is to give fans more flexibility when it comes to supporting their favorite teams.

“The biggest thing for us to try to give fans different opportunities,” Cameron said.

On the heels of a memorable season that saw FSU beat seven ranked opponents on the way to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, the Seminoles are set to welcome a number of high-profile opponents to the Tucker Center this fall. Defending champion North Carolina is set to visit Tallahassee, as are NCAA tournament teams Louisville, Virginia and Miami.

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 17, 2017 - 11:00 am

By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State shares a division with both the defending national champion (Clemson) and the home of last year's Heisman Trophy winner (Louisville, Lamar Jackson), but the Seminoles are still the favorite to top the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The media gathered at last week's ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte overwhelmingly picked the Seminoles to win the ACC championship, the league announced Monday morning.

Florida State received 118 of a possible 167 votes to win the ACC, as well as 121 first-place votes in the Atlantic Division.

If the media is correct, the Seminoles will meet rival Miami at the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte on Dec. 2. The Hurricanes garnered 103 first-place votes in the Coastal Division. FSU and Miami will meet in the regular season on Sept. 16, but the two have yet to meet in the conference title game since the league moved to a two-division format in 2005.

Two meetings between the Seminoles and Hurricanes could potentially bring historical significance: Miami leads the all-time series with FSU, 31-30, meaning that the Seminoles could take the lead for the first time ever with two victories.

The Seminoles, who are coming off a 10-3 season and victory over Michigan in the 2016 Orange Bowl, are also considered among the favorites for the College Football Playoff. Their 15 ACC titles since 1992 are second only to Clemson's 16, although they're looking for their first league crown since 2014.

The Tigers, picked to finish second in the Atlantic, are chasing their third consecutive ACC title. FSU won three straight from 2012-14.

“Right now, Clemson is at the top,” FSU safety Derwin James said last week. “We're chasing them. We're trying to get back to the top.”

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois finished second in preseason Player of the Year voting, behind only Louisville's Jackson.

Here's the full release from the ACC:

GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Florida State is the preseason favorite to claim the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship, according to a poll of 167 media members held in conjunction with last week's 2017 ACC Football Kickoff.

The Seminoles, who posted a 10-3 overall record last season and defeated Michigan in the Capital One Orange Bowl, are also picked to capture the Atlantic Division, while Miami received the nod as the likely Coastal Division winner.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville was chosen to repeat as ACC Player of the Year after a record-setting 2016 campaign in which he averaged 393.4 yards per game of total offense and accounted for 51 touchdowns, both ACC single-season records. His 1,571 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns were also ACC records for a quarterback.

Jackson, a rising junior from Pompano Beach, Florida, who is the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy, also was named the 2016 National College Football Player of the Year by the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp, the Sporting News and CBS Sports.

Florida State was named the likely 2017 ACC champions on 118 ballots, followed by defending national champion and two-time defending ACC champion Clemson with 35 votes. Louisville received seven votes, followed by Virginia Tech and Miami with three each and Duke with one.

In the Atlantic Division preseason voting, Florida State led the way with 121 first-place votes and 1,108 total points. Clemson followed with 37 first-place votes and 1,007 points, while Louisville received nine first-place votes and checked in with 843 total points.

NC State (658 total points) was tabbed for a fourth-place Atlantic Division finish, followed by Wake Forest (415), Syracuse (362) and Boston College (283).

Miami, beginning its second season under head coach Mark Richt, was selected the likely Coastal Division winner by 103 voters and amassed 1,065 total points. Defending division champion Virginia Tech followed with 40 first-place votes and 932 points. Georgia Tech placed third with nine first-place votes and 708 points.

Pitt (seven first-place votes) totaled 673 points, followed by North Carolina (four first-place votes) at 606, Duke (four first-place votes) at 473 and Virginia at 219.

The Atlantic and Coastal Division winners will meet in the 2017 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 2, at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium. If this year's media predictions prove correct, it will be a first-ever title game matchup of teams from the Sunshine State and a rematch of an early regular-season showdown. The Seminoles and Hurricanes meet in Tallahassee on September 16.

Florida State owns 15 ACC championships since joining the league in 1992, just behind leader Clemson's 16 conference crowns. Head coach Jimbo Fisher will welcome back 20 starters this season, including talented sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois and a deep defensive secondary led by Tavarus McFadden, Nate Andrews and Derwin James, a redshirt sophomore who returns after being sidelined by a knee injury in the second game of last season.

Louisville's Jackson led the preseason ACC Player of the Year balloting with 113 votes, while Florida State's Francois was listed on 23 ballots and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins on 11.

Boston College defensive end Harold Landry received eight ACC Preseason Player of the Year votes, followed by NC State all-purpose standout Jaylen Samuels with seven and Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey with two. Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, Miami wide receiver Ahmmon Richards and Duke quarterback Daniel Jones each received one vote.

ACC Championship Votes

1.       Florida State - 117

2.       Clemson - 35

3.       Louisville - 7

4-t.     Virginia Tech – 3

4-t.     Miami – 3

6.       Duke – 1

 

Atlantic Division  

(First place votes in parenthesis)                       

1.       Florida State (121) – 1,108

2.       Clemson (37) – 1,007

3.       Louisville (9) - 843

4.       NC State - 658

5.       Wake Forest – 415

6.       Syracuse  - 362

7.       Boston College - 283

 

Coastal Division

(First place votes in parenthesis)                       

1.       Miami (103) – 1,065

2.       Virginia Tech (40) – 932

3.       Georgia Tech (9) – 708

4.       Pitt (7) – 673

5.       North Carolina (4) - 606

6.       Duke (4) -473

7.       Virginia -219

 

ACC Player of the Year

1.    Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville - 113

2.    Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State - 23

3.   Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson - 11

4.   Harold Landry, DE, Miami - 8

5.   Jaylen Samuels, AP, NC State - 7

6.   Eric Dungey, QB, Syracuse - 2

7-t. Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami - 1

7-t. Ahmmon Richards, WR, Miami - 1

7-t. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke -1

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 15, 2017 - 10:04 am
By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Derwin James woke up about two weeks ago to a string of messages from friends and family congratulating him for something that he had yet to even hear about.

"They were like, 'Congrats, congrats,'" James said Thursday during his media session at ACC Kickoff in Charlotte. "I was like, 'Congrats for what?'"

The "what" in question turned out to be about as big of a deal as it gets for college football players in early July: Sports Illustrated had spent the past few weeks counting down the top 100 college football players in the nation.

And James was No. 1.

Yes, ahead of a reigning Heisman Trophy winner (Louisville's Lamar Jackson, No. 3), another Heisman finalist (Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, No. 2) and a slew of returning All-Americans.

Ahead of, well, everyone.

"I was kind of shocked," James said, citing that he only played in two games last season due to a knee injury.

But that's not to say that James disagreed.

Asked directly if he thought he was the best player in the county, James didn't miss a beat when he answered, "Oh yeah.

"I do think I'm the best player in the country."

It's the type of soundbite that could raise a few eyebrows, but James' reasoning for it removes any hint of brashness or arrogance that might come across at first.

"Because of the way I make people around me better," James said. "And how I help my teammates."

That was obvious last year, when Florida State's defense spent much of the season finding itself in the wake of James' injury.

The Seminoles got the hang of it by the end — they won seven of their last eight games, including a victory over Michigan in the Orange Bowl — but suffered a few bruises along the way.

That was tough for the Seminoles, and just as tough for James, who had never before dealt with such a long-term injury.

In time, though, James came away with a new, more mature perspective that he believes will make him a better player. It might even help his teammates, too.

“It made him appreciate being on the field and what it meant and how vital every play, every second is,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “And I think how he played in the spring showed that. And he got that across to his players - don't ever take anything for granted.”

As for his physical condition, James said he feels “10 times” better than he did before his injury.

Florida State's opponents can only hope he is exaggerating.

As a freshman in 2015, James established himself as not only one of the most promising young players in the country, but also one of the most versatile.

There were times when defensive coordinator Charles Kelly used James as a traditional defensive back. And others when he moved James into the box and to act as an additional linebacker. And still more when James lined up at the edge of the line of scrimmage to rush the passer.

The results were simply devastating – see the way James sacked and forced a fumble from Louisville's Jackson when the Cardinals visited Tallahassee two years ago. Or the way he bowled over Florida offensive lineman Mason Halter, who, at 295 pounds, had 83 pounds on the 212-pound James, on his way to the quarterback.

Statistics don't tell the full story of James' effectiveness, but his freshman numbers were nevertheless impressive: 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, five pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

Even a year removed, perhaps it's no wonder that Sports lllustrated is so high on James as he enters his third year in Tallahassee.

“James,” SI wrote, “is the best player in college football because he can do more things well than anyone else.”

And the venerable magazine is hardly alone in that stance. While in Charlotte, both James and Fisher fielded a number of questions about James' potential as a Heisman candidate. A defensive player winning the Heisman is virtually unheard of (Michigan's Charles Woodson did it in 1997, but he also contributed as a kick returner), although Fisher believes that could change soon. 

Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers (another offensive contributor) finished fifth in Heisman voting last year, while Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o finished second in 2012.

“I think that dynamic is coming around a little bit,” Fisher said. "I think we are appreciating that we are supposed to be rooting for the best player — not always an offensive player.”

James for his part, said he's not buying into the Heisman talk. Noting that the Seminoles have yet to win a conference or national title during his career, he said he's focused exclusively on delivering more hardware to the team's trophy case.

“I want to win the championship,” he said. “Just because you win the Heisman doesn't mean
you win the championship.”

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 13, 2017 - 6:02 pm

By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Each donning a crisp suit with his own personal flourish, Deondre Francois and Derwin James boarded a plane early Thursday morning and, along with coach Jimbo Fisher, made their way here to Charlotte for the Atlantic Coast Conference's Football Kickoff.

Over the next eight hours, the three made the rounds to ESPN, CBS and a deep gaggle of media asking a range of questions that spanned from the serious – like Florida State's season opener against Alabama –  to the silly – like “spirit animals” and favorite childhood Halloween costumes.

It's all part of the new job descriptions for James and Francois, who officially became the latest faces of Florida State football during their time at The Westin Charlotte.

“It's exciting to be here, for Coach Fisher to think highly of me and Deondre to select us to be here,” James said. “It's a great opportunity for us to come out here and talk to some of these different reporters.”

Both players certainly looked the part. Francois sported a light gray suit and dark blue tie with a gold spear on his lapel, and James wore a dark brown suit with a bowtie.

When he opened his jacket, he revealed a custom FSU logo pattern on the inside lining.

“You've got to represent Florida State with the logo on the inside,” he said.

That paired nicely with James' new haircut, complete with a lightning bolt shaved into the back of his head.

After a quick breakfast, the Florida State contingent began the media circuit and quickly found itself on the receiving end of some amusing queries.

James, a redshirt sophomore safety, was asked about his dog, a pitbull named Derwin James III that has its own Instagram account.

And Francois, when asked why James is such a special player, laughed and joked that it's because, “he's almost as smart as me.”

“I'm comfortable,” Francois said. “I prepared myself for this. I know this is what I have to do. This is what comes with being the quarterback at a major program.”

Pressed for his favorite question of the day, Francois smiled and recalled one about which Halloween costume he would choose for his head coach.

“I said I would dress him up as me,” Francois said with a laugh. “And I'm going to dress up as him, and we're going to switch roles.

Video

“That'll never happen, though.”

Eventually, though, the questions turned to football – especially the upcoming Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

That game, one of the most highly-anticipated openers in recent college football history, is now just 51 days away.

And since it is the next game on the schedule, the Seminoles weren't shy in discussing it.

“The most common question, of course, (was about) Alabama,” James said. “'How do you feel about that?'”

Pretty good, it turns out.

“I think it's what college football is about,” Fisher said. “You get to walk in that atmosphere and environment, the two winningest teams in college football in the last seven years. I think it's great for our league, I think it's great for college football. I think we find out where we're at, and I think not every year you have those games.”

Other highlights:

  • James, when asked what type of animal he would be, shook his head and said: “I don't know, man. I'm happy to be a human.”

  • Fisher, when asked about his favorite Halloween costume (There was a strange amount of Halloween questions this year.), told of the time he dressed up as George Washington and won his elementary school's costume contest.

  • Francois, when told that none of Alabama coach Nick Saban's former assistants have ever beaten him in head-to-head matchups: “I didn't know that. We don't think about that. That's just a little cute fact, man.”

  • James, when asked for the best-dressed player on the team, named Calvin Brewton. “He wears full outfits just to a (team) meeting.”

More than anything, ACC Kickoff exists to celebrate the league's football prowess and get people excited for the season ahead.

And by the end of their day, both James and Francois counted themselves among those to have fallen under the spell.

With their time in Charlotte in the books, they can now look forward to the start of fall camp in just a few weeks.

“I wish I could put on my pads today,” James said. “I wish I could go to the locker room right now and just put on my pads. But that time is coming. It's right around the corner.”

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 12, 2017 - 12:00 pm
By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With the fireworks and barbecues now in the books, it's officially time for preseason football. The Atlantic Coast Conference's annual Football Kickoff (otherwise known as “Media Days”) is set for this week, which means coaches and two players from each of the league's 14 football schools will gather at a hotel in downtown Charlotte, N.C., for interviews, photo and video shoots and maybe a few surprises.

Quarterback Deondre Francois and defensive back Derwin James will join coach Jimbo Fisher in representing Florida State. The Seminoles are slated to hold a press conference at 1:51 p.m. Thursday, then spend an extended session (2:06-3:20 p.m.) with the conference's writers.

The Atlantic Division (FSU, Louisville, NC State, Syracuse, Boston College, Wake Forest and Clemson) will make the rounds on Thursday, with The Coastal Division (Virginia, Duke, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech and North Carolina) following on Friday.

As ACC Kickoff approaches, here are a few storylines surrounding the Seminoles this week:

1)    Nation, meet Derwin James

Any chance that Derwin James' return from a season-ending knee injury might fly under the radar were effectively quashed two weeks ago, when Sports Illustrated named him the No. 1 player in all of college football. Yes, ahead of reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville, and, yes, despite the fact that James hasn't played football in nearly a year – since Sept. 10, 2016, to be exact. But college football fans and media are bullish on James, and for good reason. After showing himself to be fully healthy during spring camp, James is now closer than ever to his return, where he can get back to his ways as one of the most exciting and disruptive players in the nation. SI's Bruce Feldman even named James a dark horse Heisman candidate earlier this week.

But while James' athletic prowess is obvious, ACC Kickoff represents one of the first opportunities for conference and national media to get to know James away from the field. They'll likely find a personality as engaging and infectious as any of the FSU defenders – Lamarcus Joyner, Jalen Ramsey and DeMarcus Walker among them – who passed through Kickoff before him.

2)    The evolution of Deondre Francois

Deondre Francois is plenty used to the spotlight, having been Florida State's starting quarterback for a year. But this season feels different. Dalvin Cook was still on the team a year ago, and there was no questioning who was the face of Florida State's offense. But Cook is now gone, and his role as the standard-bearer for the offense has clearly passed to Francois.

It's a natural evolution: During his first year as FSU's starter, Francois was something of a coach's dream in his interview sessions. He carefully crafted his responses, gave constant credit to his teammates and shied away from anything that could be twisted into motivation for an opponent. In other words, he sounded like a successful modern quarterback. Expect more of the same this week.

3)    Resetting the hierarchy in the ACC

The ACC enters the 2017 season with both the defending national champion and reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but, in a change from recent history, neither of those belongs to FSU. Clemson is the league's first non-FSU national champion since Georgia Tech in 1990, and Louisville's Lamar Jackson is the ACC's first ever non-Seminole to win the Heisman (not including schools that later joined the league after Heisman years).

While the Tigers and Cardinals are both in FSU's division, don't be surprised if the Seminoles are the media's choice to win the ACC this year. Clemson is still the champ, but it lost a host of key players from last year's title team – including first-round picks Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams – while Louisville is looking to bounce back from a disappointing finish that saw it lose three straight games to close the year.

The Seminoles, meanwhile, seem to have plenty of positive momentum, as they finished the year winning seven of their last eight games and beating Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Factor in the returns of both Francois, FSU's first multi-year starting quarterback since Jameis Winston, and James, along with a high-profile schedule, and it's easy to see why some media has tabbed FSU as a trendy pick not only to win the ACC but to also make the College Football Playoff. No matter how the media's preseason vote shakes out (results won't be made public until next week), all three teams are sure to be asked about their place in relation to the other two.

 

4)    Alabama, Alabama and more Alabama

The hype surrounding the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between Florida State and Alabama has been building since the contest was first announced two years ago, but that buzz will begin its kick into overdrive this week. Not only does the game match two of college football's premier programs – Alabama (86) and FSU (78) are the two winningest teams in the country since 2010, when Fisher took over – but it also pairs Fisher with his former mentor, Alabama's Nick Saban. 

Saban himself got the ball rolling Wednesday, when he was asked about the Seminoles during his press conference at the Southeastern Conference's Media Days:
 

 
Fisher, of course, served as Saban's offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-04, and the pair won a national title together in 2003. The two have actually met once since then, when Fisher was FSU's offensive coordinator in 2007, which was also Saban's first year at Alabama. (FSU beat Alabama, 21-14, in Jacksonville.) But this marks the first time that the two will go head-to-head since Fisher's emergence as one of the nation's top head coaches.

As a result, and given the stakes of the game – it could be the first time the Associated Press' No. 1 and 2 teams meet in a season opener – Fisher is certain to be peppered with both Saban- and Alabama-related questions. 

5)    Roster updates, too

While ACC Kickoff tends to focus on big-picture storylines, the conversation usually moves toward on-field topics, and Florida State has a few to discuss. Among them, updates on the team's progress at running back, receiver, offensive line, defensive end and cornerback, all of which lost key pieces from a year ago.

Of particular interest will be the running back position, where FSU is looking to replace all-time leading rusher Dalvin Cook but also has a pair of former five-star prospects (junior Jacques Patrick and freshman Cam Akers) waiting in the wings. 

Cook's counterpart at last year's ACC Kickoff, DeMarcus Walker, is also gone, but the Seminoles have promising players (Brian Burns and Josh Sweat, among others) looking to fill his shoes, too.

By Tim Linafelt
Posted July 07, 2017 - 12:31 pm

By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Citing excellence in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball, CBS Sports on Friday named Florida State the recipient of its “Best in College Sports” award.

While the National Association of College Directors of Athletics has annually ranked athletics departments for several years, CBS Sports' formula is different in that it gives extra weight to sports it considers to “generate the broadest base of fan and media interest.”

CBS Sports ranks the departments based on performance in football, men's and women's basketball and two more “wild card” spectator sports. For FSU, those sports were baseball and softball.

From CBS: Football is 2.5 times as much as the other sports, while men's basketball is worth twice as many points. Teams that did not finish in the final AP Top 25 in football but played in a bowl were awarded 62.5 points (25 x 2.5). Teams that made the NIT, CBI or CIT were given 20 points (10 x 2), while WNIT teams received 10 points. For all titles settled via bracket, point totals were based upon how many teams participated. All champions in the other sports received 100 points for a national title. For example: Florida baseball received 100 points, while its second-place finish in softball received 90 points.

“We are very pleased and proud to be recognized among this distinguished group,” said Stan Wilcox, Florida State Vice President and Director of Athletics. “This reflects the hard work, dedication and talent of our student-athletes, coaches and staff as well as the support provided our programs by the university and Seminole Boosters.  

“Our goal at FSU is comprehensive excellence and it is a tribute to our football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball programs that achieved this distinction.  It makes me particularly proud given this comes just one day after we had our highest number (252) of student-athletes ever listed on the ACC's Academic Honor Roll.”

Florida State finished with 491.25 points to edge out the University of Florida (489.75) and claim the top spot. FSU's previous highest finish was fourth. Previous winners of the Best in College Sports award include Louisville (2013), Stanford (2014), Ohio State (2015) and Oklahoma (2016).

“This news makes me very proud of our entire Athletics program,” Florida State President John Thrasher said. “And I am especially proud of the student-athletes who were listed on the ACC's Academic Honor Roll.”

The Florida State football team closed out a successful 2016 campaign by winning seven of its last eight games on the way to a dramatic victory over Michigan in the Orange Bowl. The Seminoles also swept rivals Florida and Miami for the fourth straight year, topped Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi in the season opener and watched junior running back Dalvin Cook become the school's all-time leading rusher.

FSU's men's basketball team enjoyed one of its best regular seasons in program history. Led by two future NBA draft picks (Jonathan Isaac, sixth overall to Orlando; Dwayne Bacon, 40th overall to New Orleans), the Seminoles reeled off 26 wins – the second-most in school history – and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. Along the way, FSU went 5-1 in a stretch of six straight games against ranked teams and finished a perfect 18-0 at home.

The FSU women's basketball team, meanwhile, continued to solidify its status as one of the top programs in the nation. The Seminoles won 28 games, boasted the ACC player of the year (junior forward Shakayla Thomas) and finished just a few points shy of a trip to the Final Four. FSU reached the Elite Eight by erasing a 17-point deficit against No. 2-seed Oregon State in Stockton, Calif. It was FSU's second Elite Eight appearance in three years and third overall.

Florida State baseball finished its season where every college baseball team wants to be: Omaha, Neb. FSU caught fire in the months of May and June, tearing through a road trip to No. 2 Louisville and then winning the ACC tournament a week later. The Seminoles rallied to win the NCAA Tallahassee Regional then swept Sam Houston State in the Super Regional to clinch their first trip to the College World Series since 2012.

Florida State's softball team spent its entire season either at or near the top of the national polls. Boasting the ACC player of the year (Jessie Warren), two-time ACC pitcher of the year (Jessica Burroughs) and ACC coach of the year (Lonni Alameda), the Seminoles reeled off 24 straight victories midway through the season and won the ACC championship for the fourth straight year.

FSU in the CBS Sports Best in College Sports rankings:
Football – 176.25
Men's basketball – 100
Women's basketball – 73
Baseball – 78
Softball – 64

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