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Florida State football, recruiting news: Where does FSU sit in very early 2017 polls?

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Your daily dose of FSU football, recruiting, and alumni news.

Football

With the 2016 season officially over, it’s the perfect time to look ahead to next year. USA Today’s early 2017 poll gave the Seminoles the No. 1 spot.

The Seminoles stumbled out of the gate this past season before hitting another gear following a loss to Clemson in October. With valuable experience and as much talent as any team in the country, Florida State is the team to beat in the Atlantic Coast Conference and very deserving of the title of preseason No. 1 in August.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach did not give the Seminoles the top spot in his way-too-early rankings, instead putting them in at No. 2.

2. Florida State

2016 record: 10-3, 5-3 ACC

Returning starters: 7 offense, 9 defense, 2 special teams

Key losses: RB Dalvin Cook, WR Kermit Whitfield, WR Jesus Wilson, G Kareem Are, DE DeMarcus Walker, CB Marquez White

Outlook: Since Clemson is losing star quarterback Deshaun Watson and a boatload of other starters, Florida State might be primed to retake the ACC in 2017. Star tailback Dalvin Cook will be sorely missed, but quarterback Deondre Francois was sensational in his first season as a starter. FSU's workhorse back next season could be sophomore Jacques Patrick or incoming freshman Cam Akers, who is enrolling early. Junior OT Roderick Johnson has yet to decide if he will return for his senior season or declare for the NFL draft. Most of the Seminoles' defensive starters will be back, including safety Derwin James, who missed much of 2016 with a knee injury, but FSU will really miss DeMarcus Walker's pass-rushing skills (16 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss). FSU opens the season against Alabama in Atlanta and plays Clemson on the road in ACC play, but Louisville and Miami will travel to Tallahassee next season.

FSU wideout Nyqwan Murray will be wearing a new number when he takes the field next year as a junior.

Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press takes a look inside the role of an analyst in a college football program. With Jimbo Fisher’s latest raise, he will have a larger support staff budget to potentially bring in some analysts dedicated to studying and logging film.

Our own David Visser provides a review of the newly released Bowden Dynasty documentary.

Recruiting

Florida State’s seventh and final early enrollee, five-star running back Cam Akers, arrived in Tallahassee on Monday.

2017 FSU QB commit James Blackman will be taking his official visit in Tallahassee this weekend.

In some basketball news, five-star forward and FSU legacy Kevin Knox shared a positive report from his official visit to Florida State from last Saturday’s Virginia Tech game.

Other Sports

The Florida State basketball team’s rise up the rankings continued this week as the Seminoles entered the first time during the regular season for the first time since the 1992-1993 season.

Additionally, FSU opened as narrow favorites in its Tuesday night matchup with Duke.

A large part of this charge can be attributed to the development of junior point guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, as addressed in a feature by TN’s Matt Minnick.