Top 5 FSU Football Heisman Candidates For 2017 Season

FSU football has several players who could be in New York City for next year’s Heisman Trophy ceremony – here are the top five candidates.

Saturday night, the 82nd Heisman Trophy award was handed out in New York City – a ceremony that, for the second straight year, was without maybe the most deserving player to be a finalist in FSU football running back Dalvin Cook.

Cook’s numbers were up there with some of the top players at both running back and on offense as a whole. In all likelihood, he will not have a chance to go for a third run at the award as all indications point to him going pro after the Orange Bowl.

Even with No. 4 on offense likely heading to the pros next year, the Seminoles have a multitude of players who could easily make it to the Big Apple and bring home the fourth Heisman in program history. Here’s a look at the top five candidates to represent the garnet and gold in December of 2017.

Nov 5, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Brian Burns (99) gestures to the crowd during the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter Finley Stadium. Florida State won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 5, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Brian Burns (99) gestures to the crowd during the second half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Carter Finley Stadium. Florida State won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 – Brian Burns (DE)

It’s a long shot that someone on the line will get the honors (just ask Alabama’s Jonathan Allen this year, who had an argument to be there over Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers)…but after just one season in Tallahassee, Burns is someone who has the potential to be the best at his position very soon.

As just a freshman, the five star recruit from Fort Lauderdale registered 8.5 sacks on the season – including four and a half in the final three games – to solidify himself as one of the top newcomers not just on defense, but in the entire country.

With DeMarcus Walker graduating after the Orange Bowl, Burns will move into the starting spot on the end opposite Josh Sweat – meaning offensive lines will have to pick their poison and No. 99 will get plenty of chances to get big numbers.

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Sep 10, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (80) runs with the ball after making a second half catch at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Florida State Seminoles defeat the Charleston Southern Buccaneers 52-8. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 and No. 3 – Nyqwan Murray or Auden Tate (WR in either order)

It’s no secret that the success through the final month of the season had a lot to do with quarterback Deondre Francois having more options in the passing game. D12 gained confidence with both of these players that should carry over to a big 2017 season.

Murray came alive in the Clemson game with 96 yards and a touchdown on six catches, followed by 153 yards on nine catches against N.C. State and a touchdown each against Boston College and Syracuse. The sophomore from Orlando got the potential to be both a possession receiver like Bobo Wilson but can also use his speed to make the big play and be a target in the deep game.

Nov 19, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Auden Tate (18) carries the ball as Syracuse Orange defensive back Rodney Williams (6) defends during the first quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 19, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Auden Tate (18) carries the ball as Syracuse Orange defensive back Rodney Williams (6) defends during the first quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Tate is the big, tall target that the Seminoles had in the 90’s and 2000’s (names like Andre Cooper and Greg Carr) that they used more this season. After two touchdowns against Louisville, the Tampa prep star quieted down until November, where he averaged 17 yards a catch over a three games span that included a 100 yard night and two scores against BC.

Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles cornerback Tavarus McFadden (4) celebrates an interception during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 29, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles cornerback Tavarus McFadden (4) celebrates an interception during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 – Tarvarus McFadden (DB)

For the second year player from Fort Lauderdale, getting an interception in the opener against Ole Miss was a sign of things to come. He would finish the year with eight in total – maybe none bigger than one during the comeback win over Miami as the ‘Canes were threatening to score – and was the winner of the Tatum Award as the top cornerback.

McFadden’s one weakness was getting burnt at times and playing hot and cold. That has lessened over the course of the season. He will certainly be aided by the return of Derwin James next season, allowing him to have pressure taken off and play more of a Lamarcus Joyner-type position.

The other No. 4 will likely start the season as a Jim Thorpe Award favorite based on his play and can only build on what he did this season. After Peppers was able to be a finalist this season, you never know what 2017 will have in store for defensive stars.

Nov 26, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) runs the ball past Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson (96) during the first quarter at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 26, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Deondre Francois (12) runs the ball past Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson (96) during the first quarter at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 – Deondre Francois (QB)

For a while there at the midway point of the season, there was a question about whether the redshirt freshman from Orlando would be able to survive for the entire 2016 campaign. Battered and bruised against Miami, D12 played like one of the toughest players in the game and earned plenty of national respect.

He finished the 2016 regular season with a completion percentage near 61 percent to go along with over 3,100 yards and 18 touchdowns against just six interceptions – including for throwing over 300 yards four times and 400 yards in the opener over Ole Miss.

With the ‘Noles likely to again be a national championship favorite next season and Dalvin Cook likely gone, Francois will be the face of the offense. If he can go out and have a monster game in the opener against Alabama, D12 could find himself in the lead for the Heisman right off the bat.

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