This is the eighth article in the series outlining Florida State’s top 50 players for the upcoming 2014 season. The list is a compilation of rankings from Ryan Kelly (V89 Sports), Ariya Massoudi (V89 Sports), and myself.
Position: LB Year: Redshirt Junior Ht/Wt: 6 feet 4 inches, 228 pounds 2013 season: 59 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception Smith is the lone returning starter at linebacker for FSU. He started the final ten games of 2013 at middle linebacker after making his first career start against Bethune-Cookman. He will move from the middle to weak side linebacker in 2014 where he will replace Telvin Smith. Terrance Smith’s permanent insertion into the starting line-up following the Boston College game was a key move for Florida State in 2013. Smith has the ability to quickly diagnoses the offense and his speed allows him to make plays anywhere on the field. He should slide into the weak side role seamlessly and be one of the most important players on the Florida State defense next season. Ranking: Brandon (14), Ryan (16), Ariya (12)
Position: Kicker Year: Redshirt Sophomore Ht/Wt: 6 feet 1 inch, 209 pounds 2013 season: 21-22 FG, Long of 53 yards, 94-94 extra points It may be strange for a kicker to rank this high, but Aguayo is not your typical kicker. The reigning Lou Groza Award winner, Aguayo’s 2013 season was one of the best ever for a college kicker. He finished the season with 157 points (the national record for a kicker). He also set the record for most extra points made in a season without a miss (94). Aguayo has the perfect blend of leg strength (his career long 53 yard field goal easily cleared the cross bar) and accuracy (he made 115 of his 116 attempts in 2013 including the first 70 of his career). It may not be possible for him to recreate his almost perfect 2013 season, but Aguayo should be one of the best kickers in the nation next season. Ranking: Brandon (13), Ryan (10), Ariya (17)
Position: Safety Year: Sophomore Ht/Wt: 5 feet 11 inches, 209 pounds 2013 season: 35 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 4 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles Lightly recruited out of high school, Andrews proved to be a diamond in the rough in Florida State’s 2013 recruiting class. Andrews earned his way onto the field as the dime back and quickly asserted himself as one of the top freshman defensive backs in the country. He led the Seminoles with 4 interceptions and tied for the team lead with 3 forced fumbles. With Terrence Brooks’ graduation and Jalen Ramsey’s move back to corner, Andrews looks to be the favorite to start at safety alongside Tyler Hunter. Andrews was a big play waiting to happen last season and he should be play a major role in Florida State’s secondary in 2014. Ranking: Brandon (17), Ryan (4), Ariya (13)
Position: OG Year: Senior Ht/Wt: 6 feet 6 inches, 331 pounds 2013 season: Started all 14 games at left guard 2014 will be Matias’ third season as a full time starter. He is an absolute monster in the trenches and dominates defensive lineman with his strength, physicality and immense size. Even with his size, Matias is still agile enough to stay in front of quicker lineman. He has spent his entire career at guard, but his athleticism will enable him to play tackle if called upon. During spring practice Matias worked at left tackle and drew rave reviews from coaches and teammates for his performance. He was an all-ACC selection last season and should be one of the top linemen in the conference in 2014. Ranking: Brandon (10), Ryan (8), Ariya (16)
Position: TE Year: Senior Ht/Wt: 6 feet 3 inches, 244 pounds 2013 season: 33 catches, 557 yards, 7 touchdowns O’Leary’s 2013 season was arguably the best ever for a Florida State tight end. He was a Mackey Award Finalist, awarded to the nation’s top tight end, and is one of the top returning tight ends in the country. O’Leary is a true pass catching tight end, but he took a big jump as a blocker last season. He was a major target in the red zone last season and a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses. With the uncertainty at wide receiver, O’Leary should see his role expand in 2014. The only big question mark surrounding O’Leary is his ability to keep himself healthy. O’Leary has been in two motorcycle accidents in the past year including one that sidelined him during spring practice. Ranking: Brandon (11), Ryan (12), Ariya (10)