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Noles News: Does FSU have a top 10 defense heading into 2023?

All the latest in Florida State Seminoles sports

Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation


2024 Florida State Seminoles quarterback commit Luke Kromenhoek is set to kick off his Elite 11 campaign starting today, where he’ll be going up against the nation’s top gunslinger prospects as they look to start off their senior years in style:

The full Elite 11 2023 roster:

Four-star Air Noland: Committed to Ohio State Buckeyes

Four-star CJ Carr: Committed to Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Three-star Colin Hurley: Committed to LSU Tigers

Three-star Daniel Kaelin: Committed to Nebraska Cornhuskers

Four-star Dante Reno: Committed to South Carolina Gamecocks

Three-star Danny O’Neil: Committed to Colorado Buffaloes

Four-star Demond Williams Jr.: Committed to Ole Miss Rebels

Four-star DJ Lagway: Committed to Florida Gators

Five-star Dylan Raiola: Committed to Georgia Bulldogs

Four-star Elijah Brown: Uncommitted

Three-star Ethan Grunkemeyer: Committed to Penn State Nittany Lions

Three-star Hauss Hejny: Committed to TCU Horned Frogs

Four-star Isaac Wilson: Committed to Utah Utes

Five-star Jadyn Davis: Committed to Michigan Wolverines

Four-star Julian Sayin: Committed to Alabama Crimson Tide

Four-star Luke Kromenhoek: Committed to Florida State Seminoles

Three-star Michael Hawkins: Committed to Oklahoma Sooners

Four-star Ryan Puglisi: Committed to Georgia Bulldogs

Three-star Trever Jackson: Uncommitted

Three-star Will Hammond: Committed to Texas Tech Red Raiders

You can catch up on all the latest Florida State football recruiting news and pick the brains of our recruiting staff in the latest edition of our recruiting thread.

QUARTERBACK: 4 star Luke Kromenhoek (GA)

RUNNING BACK: 4 star Kam Davis (GA)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Camdon Frier (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Tawaski “TJ” Abrams (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star Lawayne McCoy (FL)

WIDE RECEIVER: 4 star BJ Gibson (GA)

TIGHT END: 5 star Landen Thomas (GA)

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: 3 star Jamorie Flagg (FL)

LINEBACKER: 3 star Jayden Parrish (FL)

DEFENSIVE BACK: 4 star CJ Heard (GA)


Florida State newcomers linebacker Blake Nichelson and defensive backs Edwin Joseph, Conrad Hussey and Ja’Bril Rawls took their turns at the podium on Tuesday to touch on their first days on campus at Florida State, what their mindsets are heading into the 2023 season and what drew them to the Seminoles in the first place.

Will Florida State be able to raise its defensive game this year?

In 2022, the Seminoles were No. 13 in the country for yards per pass play, No. 4 in sack percentage, No. 6 for pass yards per game, No. 23 in points allowed per game, No. 14 in yards per play, No. 22 in yards per game, with its major weakness coming defending the run, ranking No. 50 in yards allowed per rush (with a bulk of that due to opponents having to run the ball so often as a result of FSU’s efficiency in pass defense.) FSU returns 75.9 percent of its tackles, 87.5 percent of its tackles for loss, 88.8 percent of its sacks, 87.5 percent of its interceptions, 84.4 percent of its pass breakups, 73.3 percent of its quarterback hurries, 75.0 percent of its fumble recoveries, and 57.1 percent of its forced fumbles in 2022 in addition to adding a transfer class that brings along with it 335 tackles, 45.0 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks, 18 pass breakups, one interception, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.

Can FSU take a step up this year? ESPN believes so, ranking Florida State as the No. 7 defense in the country:

Florida State has made significant progress on defense each year Mike Norvell has been head coach. Headed into 2023, the defense is expected to take an even bigger leap thanks to major contributors returning and yet another influx from the transfer portal.

Start with the players coming back. Defensive end Jared Verse could have gone into the NFL draft but decided to return to improve his already high draft stock. Verse was dominant when healthy last year, leading the Seminoles with 7.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in his first season on the FBS level. Coaches raved about his work ethic and improvement this spring, and he is a key force along what should be a strong defensive front. Fabien Lovett also returns on the interior, and so does Patrick Payton, the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2022. Payton might be the most improved player along that front. Florida State also added Western Michigan defensive tackle transfer Braden Fiske to the rotation.

Among the transfers Florida State signed who should make an immediate impact is cornerback Fentrell Cypress II, a second-team All-ACC selection at Virginia a year ago. He should help a secondary that made strides, ranking No. 4 in the nation in pass defense. Florida State led the ACC in defense last season and ranked in the top 15 nationally, but it’s not hard to project this unit as one of the most dominant headed into 2013.

USF’s board of trustees has approved its $340 million plan to build an on-campus stadium by 2026, which (correct me if I’m wrong) now hilariously makes Miami the sole major college football program in the state without one.


You can keep up with all the latest off-season movements and shakings in our Florida State baseball off-season news thread.


Still looking for a bit of closure and community after FSU softball’s loss to Oklahoma in the 2023 Women’s College World Series? On the latest Seminole Softball Wrap, Brian Pellerin and Gwyn Rhodes recap the WCWS semifinals and championship series, review the journey this team took to get to that point, put a bow on the outstanding career of senior pitcher Kathryn Sandercock and others, and look to the future of the program.

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Florida State University researchers found that extreme concentrations of microplastics could increase the temperature of beach sand enough to threaten the development of incubating sea turtles:

Researchers mixed sand from beaches at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory with black and white microplastic. Concentrations of microplastic ranged from 5% to 30% of the total volume of the sediment sample. Then they recorded temperatures from July through September 2018 by burying digital thermometers at the same depth at which loggerhead sea turtles typically lay their eggs.

They found that samples with higher microplastic concentrations had greater increases in temperature, with the sample containing 30% black microplastic pieces having the highest mean difference in temperature. Those samples were 0.58 degrees Celsius warmer than the control group, an increase that could potentially significantly alter sea turtle hatchling sex ratios, physiological performance, and mortality of embryos.

At nesting grounds where incubating eggs are near a 29-degree Celsius boundary — below which most hatchlings are male, and above which most hatchlings are female — smaller concentrations of plastic could be enough to push the temperature beyond a crucial threshold.