When Florida State lined up against Alabama, it faced one of the only teams in the entire country that had consistently out-recruited the Seminoles over the past decade.
For the most part however, the ’Noles will have a drastic talent advantage over the vast majority of opponents on its schedule.
Take NC State for example. The Wolfpack have recruited at a fairly decent level and their recruiting classes usually average around the mid 30s to 50s. For a program that is not located in a recruiting hotbed and has to compete with North Carolina and Duke for Raleigh-area prospects, that’s a pretty good range for the Wolfpack.
But against the Seminoles, the talent difference is noticeable.
Let’s take a look at what a combined NC State-Florida State depth chart might look like and we will break it down position by position.
Quarterback - It’s a no brainer here, as Ryan Finley has starting experience at both Boise State and NC State. Blackman might have arm talent, but he’s never started a game in college.
Running Back - NC State’s Nyheim Hines is an electric player, but is only in his first year as a running back after converting from wide receiver. Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers were bottled up against Alabama, but don’t expect most teams to be able to do so.
H-Back - Jaylen Samuels doesn’t have a singular role in NC State’s offense, but rather he moves around. Sometimes he’s in the backfield as an H-Back, other times Samuels is lined up in the slot. Regardless of where he plays, he deserves to be on the field.
Wide Receiver - The Wolfpack have some talented young players at receiver, but FSU’s trio of Tate, Murray, and Gavin might be amongst the best in the conference.
Tight End - Ryan Izzo isn’t a dynamic player at this point, but he is a solid blocker and makes the most out of his opportunities when the ball comes his way.
Offensive Line - The pair of Tyler Jones and Tony Adams for NC State might be the two most talented linemen on the field. Florida State’s Alec Eberle, Landon Dickerson, and Rick Leonard are also solid starters.
Defensive Line - FSU and NC State might have two of the best defensive lines in college football, so this list is going to be stacked. From NCSU, Bradley Chubb and B.J. Hill are both proven senior starts, the former of which passed up an opportunity to go to the NFL early. From FSU, there is similar situation with Derrick Nnadi, who stayed for his senior year, and Josh Sweat, albeit Sweat being a junior.
Linebacker - FSU fans should feel a lot more comfortable about the linebacker situation following the Alabama game. Matthew Thomas looked like his usual athletic self, while Ro’Derrick Hoskins played perhaps the best game of his career.
Defensive Back - The weakest point on NC State’s defense might be FSU’s strongest. This unit is stacked with ’Noles like Derwin James, Tarvarus McFadden, and Levonta Taylor. The lone Wolfpack nod is senior Shawn Boone, who plays both safety and nickel back.
Specialists - Ricky Aguayo gets the nod at kicker over Carson Wise, a grad transfer who has failed to impress so far. A.J. Cole is averaging 43.5 yards per punt so far this season.