New Faces Making Strong Impressions at Florida State
Some new faces have made immediate impacts during Florida State‘s predictable 3-0 start.
Of course, the most talked about newcomer is quarterback Jameis Winston. The redshirt freshman became a household name after ripping apart the Pittsburgh Panthers‘ secondary on Labor Day. He’s played well since then, but hasn’t been in the headlines much during the Seminoles’ two recent blowouts victories.
However, all eyes will be on Winston when the Noles head into Death Valley to take on Clemson on Oct.19th, particularly if both teams are still undefeated heading into the biggest ACC game of the year.
Another pleasant surprise has been freshman kicker Robert Aguayo. Many Seminoles fans were worried about the loss of Dustin Hopkins, particularly on kickoffs, but Aguayo has been outstanding. He has yet to miss a kick in 2013, going 20-20 on PATs and 5-5 on field goals, including a long from 45 yards out.
The defense lost a number of key contributors following the 2012 season, and knew they’d be relying on a host of new players this Fall. Perhaps the biggest shock coming out of Fall camp was the news that true freshman Jalen Ramsey would start at cornerback. The Noles had a number of veterans returning in the secondary, so Ramsey’s ability to win a spot gave an immediate indication that the Tennessee native could play.
In his first collegiate game, Ramsey intercepted Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage, stealing any early momentum the Panthers had built in front of their home crowd. He is sixth on the team in tackles and even has a sack from his cornerback spot. He’s had his moments where his receiver has gotten separation from him, but all things considered, he’s been outstanding for a true freshman.
A few other freshman have made contributions early as well. Defensive end DeMarcus Walker started the Pittsburgh game as well, and has been a part of the defensive end rotation from day one. While he still hasn’t recorded his first sack, he’s done a nice job on the perimeter, showing more athleticism that some thought he had.
Highly recruited linebacker Matthew Thomas got some serious playing time during the Bethune-Cookman game last weekend as well. He hasn’t disappointed when given the chance, as he’s collected four tackles and had his first career sack while rushing from the defensive end spot.
Others, like running back Ryan Green, linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and wide receiver Kermit Whitfield, have made the most of their reps as well.
Everyone knows the Seminoles have a chance to make a national title run in 2013.
B.L. Lippert is an ACC Football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip or on Google.