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Offensive Roster Outlook 1.0: Looking at the strengths, needs of Florida State on offense

Breaking down the roster by position and where FSU needs to add help from the portal

Peyton Baker/Tomahawk Nation

The college football calendar moves fast — and no one wants to move on quicker from December than Florida State.

After getting gashed by Georgia for three and a half hours just a few weeks after a historic playoff snub, the new year upon us and it is time for the first roster outlook of the offseason.

I defined those that I wrote about as being on the Orange Bowl two deep, a blue-chip recruit, or played meaningful snaps for the program this year.

Quarterback:

Who’s here: Brock Glenn (maybe DJ by the time this is published)

Who’s out: Jordan Travis (eligibility), Tate Rodemaker (transfer), AJ Duffy (transfer)

Who’s in: Luke Kromenhoek (recruit) DJ Uiagelelei (transfer from Oregon State)

What I like: Most likely, bringing in DJ Uiagelelei is the perfect answer to bridge the gap between the departing starters and the young quarterback talent. DJ understands ACC football after playing at Clemson for multiple years and will fit into the scheme nicely with his big arm and dual-threat ability. His addition does not block the development of Brock or Glenn but will make it easier for FSU to recruit other players out of the portal.

What needs fixing: After the attrition to the quarterback room this year, I wonder if FSU is OK with only three scholarship QBs on the roster. If this year proved anything, Mike Norvell and his staff must always have multiple plans ready. I do not know what type of QB would be willing to transfer to FSU and start as the third string on the depth chart. But this is the last remaining question for this room.

X-factor: Brock Glenn

Glenn took significant strides, from how he played against Louisville to the Orange Bowl. I know there were multiple turnovers, but not all were on him, and he often did well escaping the rush. Heading into the offseason, will Glenn be able to push DJ at times for first-team reps? Or will his slow decision-making make him a distant second on the depth chart?

Transfer need: N/A

Running back

Who’s here: Lawrance Toafili, Caziah Holmes, Samuel Singleton Jr.

Who’s out: Trey Benson (draft), Rodney Hill (transfer), CJ Cambell (transfer)

Who’s in: Kam Davis (recruit), Michai Danzy (recruit)

What I like: Even with the departure of Trey Benson, Lawrance Toafili leaped this year in the run-and-pass game and looks ready to lead the running back room. Caziah Holmes received valuable reps during the Orange Bowl and improved as the season progressed. Alex Atkins and Mike Norvell gushed every time this spoke about Singleton as he earned more attempts throughout the year. Factor in blue chips recruits in Davis and Danzy, who the staff is incredibly high on, and this room has a nice blend of youth and experience.

What needs fixing: The two glaring issues in the room right now are the physical back and the experience of the room. If Kam Davis can put on weight straight of high school and compete for carries like he’s expected to, he may be the answer. However, that does not fix the experience issue in the room. Lawrance Toafili has carried the ball 231 times during his Florida State career. The next man in line is Caziah Holmes, with 29. Does the staff feel they need to take an experienced back out of the portal? Or will they let the young talent grow independently and take some of the lumps that come with it?

X-factor: Kam Davis

The incoming freshman committed to Florida State almost three years ago and will instantly be able to make an impact. His size and ability jumped off the page for the once-ranked five-star, and he entirely bought into the program. If Davis can make an early impact alongside Danzy, I think Florida State should leave the room the way it is and look for other players.

Transfer need: 5/10

Wide Receiver

Who’s here: Hykeem Williams, Ja’Khi Douglas, Joshua Burrell, Kentron Poitier, Destyn Hill, Deuce Spann, Darion Williamson, Vandrevius Jacobs, Goldie Lawrence

Who’s out: Keon Coleman (draft), Johnny Wilson (draft)

Who’s in: Lawayne McCoy (recruit), Elijah Moore (recruit), BJ Gibson (recruit), Camdon Frier (recruit)

What I like: Similar to most of the positions on the roster, this group teems with young talent that flashed at certain points during the season. Williams, Hill, and Jacobs should all take a jump in their second year, especially since they battled through injuries. Williamson and Poitier looked promising during the Orange Bowl, and their large frames bring size to the room that lost Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson. This incoming recruiting class brings elite speed to the roster, with a few enrolling early in the spring.

What needs fixing: The bunch lacks a true #1 target unless Hykeem Williams takes an impressive leap from year 1 to year 2. Against Georgia, they struggled to get open and find separation consistently, and the same problem arose when Coleman and Wilson did not play against Pitt. I think the staff needs to go and get and get an established playmaker, as Ja’Khi Douglas leads the group with 14 receptions during the 2023 season. The assumed inclusion of Uiagelelei should make it easier for Mike Norvell to convince playmakers to come to Tallahassee. However, the group lacks production and experience after the departures of their two stars.

X-factor: Destyn Hill

Coming into the season, many did not know what to expect from the Edna Carr product after two years away from football. Hill always found himself listed as a starter on the depth chart throughout the season but lacked the consistent impact many hoped for, as he finished the year with only six catches. The New Orleans native is one of the oldest on the roster but still has multiple years of eligibility remaining due to his unusual recruitment, opening the door for Hill to come as a playmaker on the field and a leader off it. Will Destyn be able to take a leap from year 1 to year 2? Or will he struggle for consistency in a crowded WR room?

Transfer need: 8.5/10

Tight End

Who’s here: Kyle Morlock, Jackson West, Brian Courtney, Jerrale Powers

Who’s out: Jaheim Bell (draft), Markeston Douglas (transfer), Preston Daniel (announced intention to transfer)

Who’s in: Landen Thomas (recruit)

What I like: Replacing Jaheim Bell’s do-it-all ability will be challenging, but Kyle Morlock quietly had a productive season after transferring from an FCS school. He developed well as a blocker, finishing the season with a 78.2 pass-blocking grade. Going into his second year in the system, he should be more productive next season, as he comes back with the second-most receptions on the team of returning players. Jackson West received the most improved player award on offense from the FSU staff as he earned more snaps as the season went on. The staff feels he is a diamond in the rough for them, and I believe he can continue running two tight-end sets next year. Adding in Landen Thomas, a blue-chip recruit from Georgia, and they should have three high-value tight ends going into next season.

What needs fixing: Stop me if you have heard this before: the young talent screams potential, but it lacks depth and experience. Florida State felt they could play up to 5-6 tight ends at a time last season, and the incoming depth chart does not project for that. Furthermore, using Jaheim Bell as a Swiss army knife changed Mike Norvell's offense, and that player does not exist for them right now. I’m unsure if they will take a player out of the portal, but the room becomes thin fast due to its depth issues.

X-factor: Jackson West

West began the year buried in the depth chart but stacked competitive practices on each other to receive a double-digit snap count in three of the season's final four games. His blocking improved immensely as the season went on, culminating in an above-average run and pass block grade against Georgia, according to PFF. The Alabama native will have the first crack at the spot behind Kyle Morlock to start camp. Will he be able to handle a more significant role?

Transfer need: 4.5/10

Offensive Line

Who’s here: Robert Scott Jr, Keiondre Jones, Maurice Smith, Darius Washington, Jeremiah Byers, Jaylen Early, Julian Armella, Lucas Simmons, Bryson Estes, Kanaya Charlton

Who’s out: D’Mitri Emmanuel (eligibility), Bless Harris (transfer), Casey Roddick (eligibility), Qae’shon Sapp (transfer), Daughtry Richardson (transfer), Thomas Shrader (transfer)

Who’s in: Manasse Itete (recruit), Jonathan Daniels (recruit)

What I like: The majority of this group that competed in the Orange Bowl should be back for next season. Robert Scott battled injuries all year but still has an NFL build and could pair nicely with JB on the outside. Returning Maurice Smith stabilizes the offense, which will look completely different next season, and the break should help him heal after battling through issues all season. Keiondre Jones played meaningful snaps all year and should lessen the blow of the departing Emmanuel. Darius Washington received all ACC honors this year and should be vital for this unit again.

What needs fixing: The offensive line needs a two-part breakdown into its possible issues. First, will the young talent finally take the next step? Jaylen Early and Julian Armella received high recruiting grades out of high school but have yet to fully push for a starting time or a meaningful snap count. Mike Norvell and Alex Atkins called them out positively and negatively throughout the season, but this offseason does feel like now or never. Secondly, even with the rotation all season, I never felt the unit found its footing and got into a groove. Will Alex Atkins shake things up and play fewer players next season? Or will they continue with the rotation in hopes that a second year and sometimes third year for these players can make a difference?

X-factor: The young tackles

As I mentioned, whether FSU takes a lineman out of the portal or sets its rotation next year depends on how they feel about Jaylen Early and Julian Armella. They each received playing time during mop-up duty during the season and possess college football bodies. For whatever reason, they have not found the coaching staff's trust. If FSU wants to steady the ship along the offensive line, they will need massive springs from these two players.

Transfer need: 7/10