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FSU football returns more sacks than 80% of Power-Five teams

Actually, it's even better than that...

Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

Try 81.25%. See, there are 64 teams in the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12, the conferences that comprise college football's Power Five. And among their players returning for the 2016 college football season, the 'Noles bring back more players responsible for quarterback sacks last year than all but 12 teams. FSU had 32 QB sacks last year, and 76.6% of the players responsible for that total will be back in garnet and gold this fall.

Which teams return a higher percentage? Here's the list:

  1. Tennessee (93.3%)
  2. Minnesota (93.2%)
  3. Rutgers (92.9%)
  4. Texas A&M (92.7%)
  5. Colorado (88.9%)
  6. Purdue (88.1%)
  7. Missouri (83.3%)
  8. Illinois (81.57895%)
  9. Louisville (81.578947%)
  10. Vanderbilt (78.9%)
  11. TCU (78.1%)
  12. Miami (76.9%)

But just how well did these teams get after the QB in the first place? After all, trumping FSU in returning QB-sack percentage doesn't exactly mean as much when that percentage was part of a lesser total, in comparison to Florida State-- that's how percentages are often manipulated. And that's precisely the situation with all but two of the aforementioned teams.

Louisville impressed in 2015, with 38 sacks, as did A&M, at 34. But no other team on the list had more sacks than the 'Noles. The four Big Ten teams "ahead" of the Seminoles in returning sack percentage, Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois, and Rutgers, were the bottom four in the Big Ten sack totals last year. And the lone Pac-12 team to top FSU, Colorado, came in second-to-last out west.

If you're not a fan of percentages and prefer just straight returning sack totals, FSU still stacks up quite well. Better, actually, as that number of 81.25% P5 teams bested jumps to 93.75% if you're considering the percentage of P5 schools than which Florida State returns more sacks. So who actually does return more sacks than FSU's 24.5? Not many.

  1. Texas A&M (31.5)
  2. Louisville (31)
  3. Alabama (30.5)
  4. Tennessee (28)
  5. Texas (27)
  6. TCU (25)

Individually, the Florida State pass rush will be led by DeMarcus Walker, who opted against declaring for the NFL Draft to return to Tallahassee for his senior season. Walker posted an impressive 10.5 sacks last season for FSU, tied for 13th most in the country. But, in keeping with the theme of this piece, it's worth noting that only three P5 players return with more sacks last season: A&M's Myles Garrett (12.5), Alabama's Jonathan Allen (12), and Louisville's Devonte Fields (11).

And Walker is bringing back some sack help with him for Florida State, including:

  • Derwin James (4.5)
  • Jacob Pugh (3.0)
  • Josh Sweat (2.0)
  • Derrick Nnadi (2.0)
  • Nate Andrews (1.0)
  • Trey Marshall (1.0 in an injury-shortened season)
  • Demarcus Christmas (0.5)

Add to this list some impressive pass rushers in the Seminoles' No. 2-ranked 2016 recruiting class, and there's ample room for optimism about FSU's pass-rushing capabilities in the coming season. You'll likely see some of these players on the award watch-lists this summer; but you're certain to see them in opponents' backfields come fall.