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2022 FSU season preview: Predictions, top players, schedule breakdown

What’s in store for the Seminoles this season?

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 11 Boston College at Florida State Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the need for improvement on the field and a tick-up in the win column numbers, as well as a few interesting games on the schedule, 2022 should be one of the more notable Florida State Seminoles football seasons in recent years.

FSU hasn’t finished a season with a winning record since 2017 — and even that was a 7-6 record. In that time span, it has replaced two head coaches in Jimbo Fisher and Willie Taggart, with current head coach Mike Norvell having gone 8-13 in two years as he’s attempted to rebuild the program.

Heading into year 3 in Tallahassee, Norvell knows his team needs to take a step forward — and throughout camp, has displayed confidence that they’ll be able to do so.

Ahead of the 2022 season opener vs. the Duquesne Dukes on August 27, we ran through a couple of questions to try and project how the year will unfold for the Seminoles.

After you see what we’ve got to say, jump in the comment section to answer our questions yourself — and while you’re at it, feel free to ask us and the rest of the Tomahawk community some of your own.

In one sentence, your thoughts on FSU heading into 2022

Perry: If FSU can deal maintain its pass rush, and the improvement across the board that we’ve seen is actually legit, it could be a fun season.

LastNoleofKrypton: I’m excited for this team to potentially be good and physical in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

Brian: Improvement in the passing game will give them a chance to win every game on the schedule, putting a 7-win season as the expectation.

NoleThruandThru: This is a make-or-break season for Mike Norvell, and he will lead FSU to a winning record and bowl game as long as Jordan Travis stays healthy.

TimScribble: Time to stop preaching “keep climbing” and start showing it on the field.

FrankD: I am looking forward to FSU beating Miami in the regular season game, and then again in the ACCCG.

Who will be MVP of offense, defense?

Brian: Offensive MVP is a clear choice for Jordan Travis. If he remains on the field for all 12 games, I expect him to lead FSU in passing (obviously) and rushing yards. It’s hard to not choose the QB for an offensive MVP and on this offense, there is really no other choice to even push that level of production. Defensive MVP for me could go to a wide range of people because there isn’t as clear of a leader (Fabian clearly, but it’s hard to compile “MVP stats” at his opinion). I’ll take Akeem Dent because I think the defense will be a turnover engine to succeed so it makes sense that one of the DBs could pop with big INT numbers. I’ll take Dent to be the one who does it.

FrankieD: That quarterback fella, Jordan Travis on offense, and then this other fella on defense, Jammie Robinson.

NoleThruandThru: Offensive MVP will be Jordan Travis. Defensive MVP will be Jammie Robinson.

LastNoleofKrypton: Offensive MVP: Jordan Travis after a full offseason of weights and starter reps. As the clear leader of the offense, this team will go as far as his mind takes it.

Defensive MVP: Robert Cooper; the super senior DT proves that he can’t be blocked one and frees everything up for everyone else in the front 7. He won’t be named MVP but if Verse, Deloach, Bethune, and Mclendon all have good years big Coop will likely be the reason.

TimScribble: It’s JT on offense, but I’ll give a different answer. Mycah Pittman. I do not believe Pittman will be the best player or even receiver on the field. However, he could be the veteran leader that unit has desperately needed to perform at a high level. For defense, give me Kalen DeLoach and Tatum Bethune creating the first competent second level of defense since Jimbo’s time.

Perry: On offense, I’m gonna go with a little bit of a dark horse pick (seeing as Travis is the obvious selection) and say that running back Trey Benson will end up being the latest in the string of successful rushers at FSU. On defense, I have to go with who might be the best overall player on the team — safety Jammie Robinson. He was a major part of FSU’s defense resurgence last season, and with goals of being a high NFL draft pick, he’s got the talent and motivation to put together a major year for the Seminoles.

Outside of those two, who are your 3 biggest names for FSU this year?

NoleThruandThru: I’m going with Darius Washington, Mycah Pittman, and Jared Verse. Washington’s ability to play anywhere along the line has never been more important than it is right now, as he will slide into the crucial center position. Pittman has the chance to be FSU’s most consistent receiving and special teams threat. I don’t think Verse will come out of the gate dominating, but FSU will need him to hit his stride for the back half of the schedule.

LastNoleofKrypton: Tatum Bethune, Johnny Wilson, and Omarion Cooper. FSU has lacked a few standout things that tend to exist on good teams. Instinctual leader in the middle, a WR that demands double coverage in certain situations, and a lockdown corner. I’m not saying those three will hit all of those marks but they have the best odds of fulfilling each role.

Frank: Jared Verse, Kalen DeLoach, and Fabian Lovett are the three I am looking forward to seeing.

TimScribble: Verse, Briggs, and Robert Scott. These three players shape the edges on offense and defense. Their impact will control the game for or against the Seminoles.

Perry: Kalen DeLoach, Jordan Travis, Malik McClain. DeLoach’s step forward as a linebacker last year was absolutely crucial for FSU, and with UCF transfer Tatum Bethune now there to serve as a veteran complement, the platform is there for him to elevate his game even more. Travis has gotten better each season at FSU, going from a gimmick player (a talented one that still reeled off mind-numbing runs, mind you) in 2019 to an essential element of Florida State’s success. A full offseason under his belt as the undisputed No. 1 guy should do dividends for him, as well as a fortified offensive line, the addition of several transfers at receiver and the progression of others, namely McClain. In flashes in 2021, he showcased what he could become — a big-bodied but speedy athlete that can put together highlight-reel-worthy catches — but still had a bit of adjustment to do as a true freshman. FSU adding those aforementioned talented receivers through the portal opens up the field so much more and should allow McClain to put up some numbers.

Brian: I think the three Florida State biggest names at year’s end will be Johnny Wilson, Derrick McLendon and Fabian Lovett. Johnny seems to be emerging as the WR this offense has needed because of the mismatches he creates with his size alone. McLendon and Lovett are going to be monsters as part of this DL, which will need to be huge for this team again this year.

What’s more likely, a 1000-yard rusher or a 1000-yard receiver?

Brian: This one is tough because this offensive design doesn’t lend itself to a 1000-yard rusher and there isn’t anyone that I expect to pop to reach a 1000-yard passing season. I’ll go rusher because Jashaun was close last season (887) and no one in the receiving game reached 400 yards. I think Benson or Toafili could reach that mark if given enough opportunity. For that matter, Jordan Travis could challenge it as well if he plays all 12 games and gets chances to stack stats on some of the weaker opponents but sacks will make it nearly impossible.

NoleThruandThru: I think the odds are better that FSU will have neither, based on the depth of skill players and the acclimation period the new receivers and Travis will face, but I think Trey Benson has the best shot at it.

That’s why, even though the FSU running back room is loaded, I think it’s more likely you see a 1000-yard rusher over a receiver. Last year, now-New York Giants running back Jashaun Corbin put up 887 and now, with an improved offensive line and an apparently improved passing game that should keep the defense honest, the recipe is there for a Seminoles back to hit that milestone.

LastNoleOfKrypton: 1000-yard rusher is most likely because this OL will be much better at mashing than pure pass pro. When Jordan has time to throw it’ll likely be because of play-action instead of straight dropbacks.

Perry: At Memphis, outside of his first year in 2016, Mike Norvell coached a 1000-yard receiver and rusher each season. In fact, in 2018, he had two backs put up that 1K mark, with Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor Jr. putting up 1909 and 1112 respectively — and that’s with his quarterback Brady White still logging 3296 yards and 27 touchdowns through the air.

Franklin: A 1000-yard rusher is more likely because until the wide receiving coaching staff shows me differently than the results of their tenure here so far, no WR will likely have a 1000-yard season.

Will anybody match, or beat, Jermaine Johnson’s 12 sack mark from last season?

Francis: Wow! Jermaine Johnson had 12 sacks last season. That is so cool. I did not know that. But, NO.

Perry: No — but I think the team overall beats its 33 sack total from 2021.

LastNoleOfKrypton: No.

Brian: I doubt it. There’re too many good options rushing the passer on this roster for anyone to stack sacks and I don’t think anyone can be expected to have the same talent as an NFL first-round pick.

NoleThruandThru: Nope. And that’s okay, as long as the production is spread around the line.

Which player will become a household name this season?

TimScribble: The FSU offensive line. Their names will not be celebrated but if FSU succeeds it will be because of their rebuild. So maybe the answer is actually offensive line coach Alex Atkins.

LastNoleOfKrypton: Trey Benson. I think whichever running back emerges as the bell cow of the group will be the one to become a household and Trey Benson is the most physically talented of the bunch.

NoleThruandThru: Jordan Travis. For all the publicity the ACC quarterback group has gotten this preseason, Travis is often an afterthought with most in the media. That will change as long as he can stay healthy, as the country will see his dynamic dual-threat abilities and improved passing acumen.

Frankster: Jordan Travis will likely be a Heisman finalist and likely go pro after this season.

Brian: Johnny Wilson. He’ll be a receiving X-factor for this team that could pile up touchdowns especially as teams pile into the box to stop the run game in the redzone.

Perry: Azareyeh Thomas — so you better learn how to pronounce his name correctly (uh-ZAR-ee-yay). The freshman is almost a lock to work his way into the starting lineup at some point, and will absolutely see the field early and often after an impressive offseason.

Who are you most excited to see play for the Seminoles this year?

Frank: Julian Armella and Azareye’h Thomas, because NT&T would not STFU about those two for the past 2 years, and I trust NT&T.

LastNoleOfKrypton: Trey Benson; I liked the burst I saw in the spring and you have to remember that he was coming off an injury and was likely rusty after only seeing six carries in 2021. A full offseason and camp I expect him to excite the fanbase immediately.

Brian: Jordan Travis. This league is loaded with elite quarterback talent and Florida State needs Jordan to take that next step if the Noles are going to have a successful year. Another year of lackluster passing game results sets them up to underperform and disappoint again. If he pops, he’s going to be one of the most fun QBs to watch in the sport, capable of making any play a splash.

NoleThruandThru: Tatum Bethune. How long has it been since FSU has had two reliable, talented linebackers with high football IQs patrolling the second level?

TimScribble: Could David (NT&T) stop having all the best answers? I am hoping we do not have to rely on him, but honestly I would love to see true freshman Julian Armella impact games that are already decided and slowly work his way into meaningful snaps. But as far as starters, give me Robert Cooper wrecking opposing lineman.

Perry: LastNole took my answer....then NT&T took my answer....then Tim took my I’m gonna go with defensive end Jared Verse. He’s been a ball of energy throughout the offseason and I’m excited to see him combine that with raw talent to do some fun things — and I’m even more excited to see how he progresses and improves throughout the year.

Final record prediction — how many wins and why?

Brian: I just finished our win share projections for the season and I ended up just a shade below 8 wins. I’ll hold that and predict 7-5 because it is the most realistic expectation. They aren’t very far from 8 and one lucky bounce could easily push them to 8-4 in my eyes. Even if Travis makes a massive leap, I see the ceiling at 9 wins because the depth isn’t there for this to be a championship-level team. And even if they don’t improve at all - which would be super disappointing, 6-6 feels like the floor for the talent they’ve got.

NoleThruandThru: I think this season will be full of close games for FSU, and it’s time to start winning those games more often than losing them. The time for moral victories has long passed. While FSU can still be considered a younger team, it has enough returning experience to take the next step. I’ve been teetering between 6 and 7 wins, but I’ll roll with 7-5 and a bowl game.

Perry: I said it before fall camp kicked off, I said it when the schedule came out and I’ll stick to it now — 8-4 regular season, and hell, let’s get crazy — a win in the bowl to make it a 9-4 year. The progression under Norvell has been a 2 game improvement each season, but I think that in 2022 the Seminoles buck the trend and snag a couple wins where most think they wouldn’t.

Frank: My win/shares came out to 9.03, so when you round it out, it becomes 10 wins.
10 regular season wins, the ACC Championship, but I think we may lose in a bowl since we are starting the streak over.

TimScribble: 7-5, with closer to 6-6 than 8-4. There are so many toss-up games and FSU faces a quarterback gauntlet this year. A healthy FSU team pushes this team to the bring of 8 wins in my opinion.

LastNoleOfKrypton: I was leaning 7-5 all offseason. I still thought that before camp but I’m buying some kool-aid after seeing some of the physical changes. Put me down for 8-4 regular season.


TN staff vs. Duquesne vs. LSU @ Louisville vs. Boston College vs. Wake Forest @ NCST vs. Clemson vs. GT @ Miami @Syracuse vs. ULL vs. UF Win share total
TN staff vs. Duquesne vs. LSU @ Louisville vs. Boston College vs. Wake Forest @ NCST vs. Clemson vs. GT @ Miami @Syracuse vs. ULL vs. UF Win share total
Perry 1 0.49 0.45 0.9 0.8 0.35 0.2 1 0.3 0.9 0.9 0.8 8.09
Brian 1 0.43 0.62 0.8 0.62 0.38 0.3 0.91 0.25 0.82 1 0.74 7.87
NT&T 1 0.45 0.5 0.7 0.49 0.25 0.4 1 0.4 0.8 0.9 0.5 7.39
Matt 1 0.5 0.42 0.75 0.53 0.15 0.41 0.95 0.45 0.8 0.92 0.55 7.43
Tim 1 0.4 0.45 0.8 0.55 0.4 0.2 0.95 0.45 0.8 1 0.45 7.45
Frank 1 0.6 0.62 0.9158 0.89 0.5 0.49 0.97 0.5 0.91 1 0.63 9.03
AVG. 1.0 0.5 0.5 0.8 0.6 0.3 0.3 1.0 0.4 0.8 0.9533333333 0.6 7.88

Florida State Seminoles 2022 schedule

(Click each link for that game’s preview)

Duquesne Dukes, Saturday, August 27

LSU Tigers, Sunday, September 4 (New Orleans)


Louisville Cardinals (Away), Friday, September 16

Boston College Eagles, Saturday, September 24

Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Saturday, October 1

NC State Wolfpack (Away), Saturday, October 8

Clemson Tigers, Saturday, October 15


Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Saturday, October 29

Miami Hurricanes (Away), Saturday, November 5

Syracuse Orange (Away), Saturday, November 12

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, Saturday, November 19

Florida Gators, Friday, November 25