For many years, the Florida State-Miami rivalry has featured loads of talented players. Names like Deion Sanders, Sean Taylor, and Derrick Brooks have all played in this historic matchup and gone on to play at a high level in the NFL.
This year’s matchup could feature many athletes who will play at the next level.
The ’Noles limp in at 1-2 after losing starting quarterback Deondre Francois for the season in the first game. True freshman James Blackman has played well, but is still fairly new to the college game. Florida State’s defense, which was expected to be amongst the nation’s best, has also struggled against teams like NC State and Wake Forest.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are undefeated at 3-0 after taking care of business against Duke on the road last week. Junior quarterback Malik Rosier is not the most talented player, but has played efficiently for the ’Canes and has done a good job of distributing the ball to playmakers like running back Mark Walton and receiver Ahmmon Richards.
Let’s take a look at what a combined FSU-Miami depth chart would look like and we will break it down position by position.
Quarterback - Blackman has thrown the ball well at times, but Rosier’s experience in college gets him the upper hand here.
Running Back - Walton is off to an insane start to his junior year and is currently averaging 9.2 yards per carry. Jacques Patrick looked better against Wake Forest, but FSU’s run game still hasn’t gotten on track yet.
Wide Receiver - If healthy, Auden Tate might be the best receiver on the field. Ahmmon Richards was dynamite as a true freshman last year, and slot receiver Braxton Berrios has quietly been the most consistent receiver for Miami this year with 192 yards and three touchdowns.
Tight End - Ryan Izzo has been held off the stat sheet for two weeks now, but a big part of that has been Blackman’s inability to throw to the middle of the field. Don’t expect this trend to continue.
Offensive Line - Similar to Tate, Derrick Kelly might be FSU’s best lineman when healthy. But he left last week’s game against Wake Forest with an injury and his status is questionable. Landon Dickerson and Alec Eberle have also had fairly good starts as well. From Miami, tackle KD McDermott and guard Trevor Darling have many years of experience under their belts.
Defensive Line - Perhaps the best position unit on both teams. Josh Sweat is having a productive year at edge rusher, while Derrick Nnadi is still a force from the interior. From Miami, Kendrick Norton is a great defensive tackle (who wears a single-digit number!) and sophomore Josh Jackson is another great edge player.
Linebacker - Miami might have the best depth out of any team here, with three sophomore starters. Shaquille Quarterman is the leader of the squad and he gets the nod here. From FSU, Matthew Thomas continues to have a great senior season.
Defensive Back - This is where Florida State gets the edge. Miami senior cornerback Dee Delaney is a former FCS All-American, but the ’Noles boast a plethora of talent with names like Derwin James, Tarvarus McFadden, Trey Marshall, and Kyle Meyers.
Specialists - Senior kicker Michael Badgley has been great for Miami, while Logan Tyler narrowly edges out freshman punter Zach Feagles for the spot.