Florida State Seminoles' 10 most important players in 2014
Jul 29, 2014 4:24p ET
Seminoles' crucial components
Entering his second season, Florida State quarterback quarterback and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is joined by a cast of talented players on both offense and defense. According to Las Vegas, the Seminoles have 4-to-1 odds of winning another national championship. If the Seminoles want to win their fourth title, the following players will have to play important roles, writes Michael Welch.
Photo: USA TODAY Sports
10. DE Mario Edwards Jr., Jr.
Florida State's defense was one of the most dominating in the nation last year. New defensive coordinator Charles Kelly looks to come in and put together a similar, if not better, season in 2014. For that to occur, Mario Edwards Jr. will need to step up and lead the pass rush. Edwards had a solid 2013 campaign but finished it with his best game of the season against Auburn in the national championship game. Photo: Richard Mackson / USA TODAY Sports
9. OT Cameron Erving, redshirt Sr.
Erving, who stands 6-foot-6 and 308 pounds and was the winner of the 2013 ACC Jacobs Blocking Award (conference's best lineman) and named to the preseason All-ACC team, has one of the most important individual jobs on the team: Protect Jameis Winston's blindside. Photo: Steve Mitchell / USA TODAY Sports
8. CB Ronald Darby, Jr.
Junior cornerback Ronald Darby is arguably one of the best cornerbacks in college football. He is a terrific tackler who can break up plays and has the speed to recover if beaten deep. With national championship defensive MVP P.J. Williams receiving much of the offseason attention, a healthy Darby could feast on opposing wide receivers and put himself in the discussion of the nation's elite cornerbacks. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA TODAY Sports
7. LB Terrance Smith, redshirt Jr.
FSU's linebackers suffered major losses in the offseason, with veteran leaders Telvin Smith and Christian Jones departing for the NFL. Now the Seminoles and Charles Kelly will look for Terrance Smith to step in and lead the defense. As a redshirt sophomore last year, Smith was one of the leading tacklers on the roster. As a playmaker and solid tackler last season, Smith will have to raise his game to the next level and play a big role in this season's success. Photo: Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports
6. TE Nick O'Leary, Sr.
Florida State's sure-handed tight end enters the 2014 season as one of the front runners for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation's top tight end. O'Leary has improved in pass protection, which only adds to his versatility. Look for his statistics to go up across the board as he will play a bigger role in the offense and see more balls thrown his way this year. Photo: Jeremy Brevard / USA TODAY Sports
5. WR Rashad Greene, Sr.
Last season Greene became the first Florida State wide receiver since Anquan Boldin in 2002 to rack up more than 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. Also achieving career highs in receptions and touchdowns in 2013, Greene enters this year as the unquestioned top wide receiver. It is unclear who will step up and fill the second and third slots, but until then, expect Greene to garner the majority of the attention from opposing defensive backs. Photo: Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports
4. S Jalen Ramsey, So.
The 6-1, 206-pound free safety put together a stellar freshman season playing alongside the likes of LaMarcus Joyner and Terrence Brooks. With those two gone, Ramsey will now look to take over as one of the leaders of a very talented secondary. A dynamic playmaker, Ramsey has great range, excellent ball skills and is not afraid to come up and deliver big-time tackles. Photo: Melina Vastola / USA TODAY Sports
3. RB Karlos Williams, Sr.
As part of the "three-headed monster" backfield that Florida State brandished last season, Karlos Williams received only 91 carries in 14 games (the least of the trio). Williams, however, made the most out of his opportunities by leading the Seminoles in yards per carry (8.0) and scoring a touchdown every 8.3 attempts. The former safety and five-star recruit combines brute strength and blazing speed, making him a threat to take it the distance from anywhere on the field. Photo: Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports
2. DT Eddie Goldman, Jr.
Former five-star recruit Eddie Goldman will be called on to fill FSU's void in the middle. Though he didn't dominate immediately like his predecessor Timmy Jernigan, Goldman has shown flashes. He's very similar to Jernigan with the ability to not only clog running lanes but also pressure opposing quarterbacks. The loss of Jernigan is arguably the largest hit FSU took this offseason, but if Goldman can stay healthy, there is no reason he can't come in and pick up where Jernigan left off. Photo: Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports
1. QB Jameis Winston, redshirt So.
As no surprise, coming in at No. 1 is last year's Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston. Entering his second season as the Seminoles' starting QB, the redshirt sophomore looks to keep his perfect career record unblemished. Winston leads a potent offense into 2014, including six returning starters from last year's roster. He must stay healthy and out of trouble off the field if FSU wishes to repeat as national champs. Photo: Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports
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