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Projecting Florida State’s 2020 Depth Chart: Defense

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Talent across the board — how good can they be under DC Adam Fuller’s attacking scheme?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Boise State v Florida State Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the season scheduled to start just a few short weeks from now, we’re taking a guess at what Florida State’s depth chart might look like when the ’Noles open the 2020-2021 season. Just think of it like setting your two-deep on your new copy of NCAA Football 21, which we still like to pretend is still a thing.

We previously looked at the offense. Now, we present the defense.

Defensive Ends

Fox (boundary defensive end)

Joshua Kaindoh

Quashon Fuller

Field defensive end

Janarius Robinson

Derrick McLendon

Thoughts, questions and observations: There’s great debate amongst the fan base who will play “the Fox.” We at TN think Kaindoh fits best there to start the year. Can Robinson hold up in space? Can anyone else behind Kaindoh and Robinson make their presence felt?

Defensive Tackles

Marvin Wilson

Cory Durden

Robert Cooper

Thoughts, questions and observations: Is this the best defensive tackle group in the country? It’s in the conversation. It’s certainly a top-two unit in the ACC. Like Tamorrion Terry, Wilson came back to polish the edges of his game, but he’s the headliner of this group and perhaps the best interior defensive lineman in the country. There’s also a good bench behind him. A slew of bodies will play along the DL and we expect all of the players to move around.

Linebackers

Mike (middle)

Leonard Warner III

Stephen Dix Jr

Will (weakside)

Emmett Rice

Jaleel McRae

Stud (field)

Amari Gainer

Kalen DeLoach

Thoughts, questions and observations: Once a source of frustration for Seminole fans, this is a position that has newfound depth. The experience is lacking but there are some young playmakers itching to get on the field. Warner and Rice return as the favorites but Dix Jr and McRae will be nipping at their heels all season long.

The Stud position is a bit of an unknown but Gainer and DeLoach are as skilled as they come on the defense. This will be a battle and it wouldn’t be a shock for the loser to move somewhere else to get on the field.

Cornerbacks

Boundary

Jarrian Jones or Akeem Dent

Travis Jay

Field

Asante Samuel, Jr.

Meiko Dotson

Thoughts, questions and observations: Talent is aplenty in the secondary but where do they all line up? Jarrian Jones comes over from Miss St and brings length and swagger. Don’t forget Akeem Dent the former 5* recruit. The battle between Dent, Jones, and Jay should be fun. Dotson led the nation in INT’s last season so you have to imagine he gets on the field. Asante Samuel is the alpha dog in the secondary though. Expect the cornerback position to roll 7 or 8 deep.

Safeties

Field

Hamsah Nasirildeen

Cyrus Fagan

Buck

Jaiden Lars-Woodbey

Brendan Gant

Thoughts, questions and observations: What else is there to say about “Nas”? He’s the only defender from the team last year with 100 total tackles. Lars-Woodbey and Gant are heavy hitters on the back end but can they hold up in coverage?

Specialists

As we noted in our offensive depth chart, we believe punters and punt returners pair well with the defense. Punters are tasked with setting up the defense with good field position, a key factor in giving up (or not giving up) points, and punt returners are the final part of the defense’s responsibility by in turn setting up the offense in good field position.

Punter

Tommy Martin

Alex Mastromanno

Thoughts, questions and observations: Logan Tyler is gone, a transfer portal casualty who was averaging a good 44 yards per punt last year but only attempted seven total before off-field issues ended his season. In stepped Martin, who managed a 39.2 yard average. Can the freshman Aussie Mastromanno challenge Martin for the job?

Punt returner

D.J. Matthews

Isaiah Bolden

Thoughts, questions and observations: Wide receiver D.J. Matthews nearly exclusively returned punts last season, and he should have the inside track to do so again this year. Isaiah Bolden is the only other player to attempt one last season. A few others may get a shot, such as receiver Corey Wren.