With four long months left until fans file into stadiums and toe hits leather, NFL.com comprised a list of the top 150 college football players to keep an eye on in the 2018 season. And three Seminoles are on it.
This news comes as no surprise as Florida State has become known for producing NFL Draft Day picks. In the past five years alone, 36 Florida State football players have had their name called upon by the League. With a host of talent, the Seminoles will remain on every scout’s radar in the upcoming season.
The Noles are headlined by sophomore breakout running back, Cam Akers, who finds himself at eleventh on the list of 150 talented prospective players for the NFL. The former five-star recruit out of Clinton, Mississippi made a name for himself early on in his collegiate career. As a freshman, he racked up 1,024 yards on the season which surpassed Dalvin Cook’s freshman rushing record of 1,008 total yards.
Akers is also known for his excellent strength and ability to break tackles. NFL draft analyst, Chad Reuter, explained, “The Seminoles’ struggles last season kept Akers’ name out of the headlines for the most part, but his explosiveness with the ball in his hands is impressive. His willingness to lower his pads and take on defenders is not lost on scouts, either.” The offensive line in the 2017 season was lacking which left Akers with the task of breaking through and creating his own openings in the field. If he can get more help this year from his line, we just might see Akers make his way onto more headlines.
Next on the watch list for FSU is quarterback, Deondre Francois, who checks in at 78 on the list. Though suffering a season ending injury in game one against Alabama, the redshirt junior boasts a great arm and the natural athleticism to adapt to Willie Taggert’s new offensive system. But, he has not been deemed the guy yet for the offense. Francois is up against his fill-in from last year, James Blackman, as well as freshman recruit, Bailey Hockman, for the starting spot in Taggert’s spread offense. Francois finds himself on the list because of his known athleticism and great arm, but whether or not he will fully return to that after his significant knee injury remains the question.
Coming in at 88th on NFL.com’s watch list is junior defensive end, Brian Burns. Burns is an interesting candidate to have on the watch list as his collegiate career thus far has been anything but consistent. Burns appeared on the scene with an impressive, breakout freshman year totaling 9.5 sacks. However, Burns did not live up to the same hype in his sophomore year as he finished with just 4.5 sacks on the season. With junior year being the most important year to any player’s draft stock, it will certainly be interesting to see which Burns will show up come game time: freshman Brian Burns or sophomore Brian Burns?
Whether these three guys continue their breakout season stints or not, one thing is for sure: the nation is now watching and waiting to see if they will live up to their (premature?) preseason hype.