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FSU places four on All-ACC team

Jared Verse, Trey Benson and Johnny Wilson earned the second-, fourth- and sixth-highest vote totals, respectively

Peyton Baker/Tomahawk Nation

Four Florida State Seminoles players were named to the preseason All-ACC team on Wednesday, with running back Trey Benson, defensive back Fentrell Cypress II, defensive lineman Jared Verse and wide receiver Johnny Wilson all earning spots on the squad.

FSU’s four selections were the second highest of all teams, behind the Clemson Tigers’ seven.

Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis, who was not selected to the team, earned the second-most votes for preseason MVP — 66, behind North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (88).

From FSU Sports Info:

Verse, Benson and Wilson earned the second-, fourth- and sixth-highest vote totals, respectively, and Verse led all defensive players with 136 votes. Benson garnered 125 votes and Wilson had 117 to rank second and third on offense.

Benson, who earlier this week was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, burst onto the scene in his first season at FSU in 2022, rushing for 990 yards and nine touchdowns while adding 144 yards on 13 receptions and 192 yards with one touchdown on five kickoff returns. The second-team All-ACC performer earned ACC Running Back of the Week four different times and became the first player in conference history to win the award outright in three consecutive weeks. He re-set his career-high rushing total in each of those three weeks, becoming the first FSU rusher since Dalvin Cook in 2016 with three straight 100-yard games. His final game in that stretch was a 163-yard performance at Syracuse that was the most rushing yards by an ACC player in a road game in 2022 and the highest for an FSU rusher in an ACC road game since Cook at Syracuse in 2016. Benson finished the year with five 100-yard rushing games, the most in a season by an FSU runner since Cam Akers in 2019.

Benson’s average of 6.46 yards per rush led the ACC and ranked 13th nationally, and he was second in the ACC and ninth in the country with 14 runs of at least 20 yards. The Greenville, Mississippi, native broke PFF College’s single-season record by forcing 0.51 missed tackles per rush to better the previous record of 0.48. Benson’s nine rushing touchdowns ranked sixth in the conference, and his 10 total touchdowns were 10th. In FSU’s 44-14 win over Boston College, Benson totaled a career-high 177 all-purpose yards and became the first player in program history to score two offensive touchdowns and a kickoff return touchdown in the same game. His kickoff return touchdown was the first opening kickoff return for a touchdown in Doak Campbell Stadium history.

Cypress, a first-team All-ACC performer according to Pro Football Focus last season at Virginia, was named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List earlier this week. He was rated as the No. 2 transfer portal prospect nationally by On3 and No. 4 overall by 247Sports after appearing in 18 games with 14 starts during four seasons for the Cavaliers, totaling 57 tackles, 0.5 sack, one interception, 14 pass breakups and one fumble recovery. The Rock Hill, South Carolina, native led the country with an average of 1.6 pass breakups per game in 2022, and his 14 total pass breakups were tops in the ACC and ninth nationally. He started all nine games he played last season and added 39 tackles and one fumble recovery to his pass breakups total. He started all six games he played in 2021, registering 16 tackles, including 0.5 sack, and one interception that he returned 66 yards for a touchdown.

Verse, who also was included on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, was named a first-team All-American byThe Athletic after recording 48 tackles, including 17.0 for loss with 9.0 sacks, three quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and one blocked field goal in his first season with the Seminoles. He received the most All-ACC votes on defense while being named a first-team all-conference performer last season. The Dayton, Ohio, native was the only player in the ACC and one of two Power 5 defenders nationally with four games of 2.5 tackles for loss in 2022.

Verse led the ACC and ranked 17th in the country with his average of 0.75 sacks per game, and his average of 1.4 tackles for loss per game was second in the conference and 10th nationally. He played 12 games and had at least 0.5 tackle for loss in every game he finished, including a season-best 2.5 in four different games. In FSU’s 24-23 win over LSU, Verse registered 2.5 tackles for loss, including a career-high-tying 2.0 sacks, and one blocked field goal. He also recorded 2.5 tackles for loss, with 1.5 sacks, as part of a season-high seven tackles in FSU’s 35-32 Cheez-It Bowl win over Oklahoma.

Wilson was a second-team All-ACC performer last season after making 43 receptions for 897 yards and five touchdowns. He ranked second in the conference and fifth nationally with an average of 20.86 yards per catch, and his 22 receptions of at least 20 yards led the ACC and was third in the country. The Pacoima, California, native also led the conference in 60-yard receptions, ranked second in the ACC in 50-yard receptions, was third in 40-yard receptions and fourth in 30-yard catches. His receiving yards total was seventh in the ACC.

Wilson was dominant in FSU’s Cheez-It Bowl victory, hauling in a career-high eight receptions for a career-best 202 yards. His yardage total broke both the Cheez-It Bowl record and FSU’s record for receiving yards in a bowl game and was the only 200-yard receiving game during the 2022 bowl season. In Florida State’s 35-31 win at Louisville, Wilson made seven catches for 149 yards and a career-high two touchdowns, totaling all 79 yards on the Seminoles’ game-tying drive in the fourth quarter before catching the game-winning score on third down with 7:54remaining in the game.

Florida State was projected to finish second in the ACC, earning 2,304 points and 67 first-place votes, and quarterback Jordan Travis placed second in ACC Preseason Player of the Year voting with 66 votes. FSU returns 89.1 percent of its total offense production from last season and 68.7 percent of its defensive production while adding a top-20 high school recruiting class and a top-five transfer class, including the highest-rated tight end, offensive tackle, cornerback and defensive lineman in the portal.

Head coach Mike Norvell was recently one of 21 coaches named to the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Preseason Watch List as he leads a consensus top-10 team heading into the 2023 season following last year’s 10-3 campaign that included wins over SEC Western Division champion LSU, in-state rivals Miami and Florida, and a Cheez-It Bowl victory over Oklahoma. FSU was ranked 10th in the final Coaches Poll and 11th in the final AP poll. Florida State was the only team to lead its conference in both total offense and total defense and was one of two teams nationally to average at least 270 passing yards and 210 rushing yards per game. The Seminoles, along with Alabama and Georgia, were one of only three teams to rank in the top-15 in yards per play on offense and defense. Those three teams were also the only ones ranked in the top-20 in total defense, scoring defense, total offense and scoring offense.

The Seminoles open their 2023 season in primetime on Sunday, Sept. 3, vs. LSU. Their season opener kicks off inside Camping World Stadium in Orlando at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on ABC.

2023 All-ACC Preseason Team

QB: Drake Maye, North Carolina Tar Heels (107)

RB: Will Shipley, Clemson Tigers (169)

RB: Trey Benson, Florida State Seminoles (125)

WR: Johnny Wilson, Florida State Seminoles (117)

WR: Tez Walker, North Carolina Tar Heels (51)

WR: Jalon Calhoun, Duke Blue Devils (49)

TE: Oronde Gadsden II, Syracuse Orange (89)

AP: Will Shipley, Clemson Tigers (105)

OT: Graham Barton, Duke Blue Devils (110)

OT: Matt Goncalves, Pitt Panthers (58)

OG: Christian Mahogany, Boston College Eagles (101)

OG: Javion Cohen, Miami Hurricanes (69)

C: Bryan Hudson, Louisville Cardinals (56)

DE: Jared Verse, Florida State Seminoles (136)

DE: Donovan Ezeiruaku, Boston College Eagles (58)

DT: Tyler Davis, Clemson Tigers (124)

DT: DeWayne Carter, Duke Blue Devils (97)

LB: Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson Tigers (132)

LB: Cedric Gray, North Carolina Tar Heels (109)

LB: Barrett Carter, Clemson Tigers (87)

CB: Fentrell Cypress II, Florida State Seminoles (88)

CB: Aydan White, NC State Wolfpack (85)

S: Kam Kinchens, Miami Hurricanes (117)

S: Andrew Mukuba, Clemson Tigers (46)

PK: Andres Borregales, Miami Hurricanes (70)

P: Daniel Sparks, Virginia Cavaliers (54)

SP: Will Shipley, Clemson Tigers (68)

Preseason Player of the Year

  1. Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina Tar Heels (88)
  2. Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State Seminoles (66)
  3. Will Shipley, RB, Clemson Tigers (17)
  4. Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson Tigers (3)
  5. T5. Riley Leonard, QB, Duke Blue Devils (1)
  6. T5. Tyler Davis, DT, Clemson Tigers (1)

Votes in parentheses

176 media voters