Chop Chat 2016 FSU Football Awards: Defensive MVP

It’s award time for FSU football from the Chop Chat staff as we honor the best players and moments from the 2016 season.

For fans of the Florida State Seminoles in 2016, it was a season that went from depression to redemption and from high expectations to building for the 2017 season. A year that started with a top five ranking ended with a five game winning streak – including an instant classic in their bowl game – to get double digit wins for the fifth straight season, something hasn’t happened since the dynasty era.

It was a year where superstars named Cook and Walker continued to shine while newcomers like Francois, McFadden and Murray made their name. Here at Chop Chat, site experts Jason Parker and Kelvin Hunt recapped every second of action this season (all 46,800 of them) to break down top players, the unsung heroes and those who made a name for themselves – as well as the most important game of the 2016 campaign.

Here’s a look at another Chop Chat award for FSU football in 2016 – this time, we pick the defensive MVP.

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

Jason’s Defensive MVP – CB Tarvarus McFadden

This one is where there is a little grey area when it comes to what we are talking about. There is no argument that DeMarcus Walker was the BEST player on that side of the ball as his 16 sacks prove. That being said, based on the injuries over the course of the season in the secondary, the growth of this sophomore from Fort Lauderdale made him even more VALUABLE.

First, it was Derwin James…then, it was Nate Andrews…it even extended into the bowl game with Ermon Lane going down after he started to break through. All that time, McFadden became a consistent and reliable player on the corner to take some of the pressure off of the rest of the unit to do their thing.

Yes, Tarvarus had some moments where he played like someone just getting used to the action. But by seasons end, there was no question he was the best player in the secondary and the best defensive back in the country…proving just how valuable he was.

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Nov 26, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Demarcus Walker (44) chases down Florida Gators quarterback Austin Appleby (12) during the second half of the game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Kelvin’s Defensive MVP – DE DeMarcus Walker

It has been amazing to watch the career progression of DeMarcus Walker. Walker could have left for the NFL Draft after a career year in 2015 but decided to come back and it will pay off. He had an even better year in 2016 and will leave FSU in third place on the FSU all-time sacks list. He’s also finished this season in third place on the single season sacks list with 15, the most at FSU since 2008.

He was second on the team in tackles with 67, which was an increase over last season. He led the team in tackles for loss with 20.5, which was also more than last season. Walker was a one man wrecking crew when he went into “Mamba” mode, and there were several times where he recorded multiple sacks in a game.  Like Cook on offense, when FSU needed a big time play, he delivered more times than not.

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back De'Veon Smith (4) runs after a catch in the first quarter as Florida State Seminoles linebacker Matthew Thomas (6) defends at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back De’Veon Smith (4) runs after a catch in the first quarter as Florida State Seminoles linebacker Matthew Thomas (6) defends at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable Mention

LB Matthew Thomas – After a rough start to his FSU football career, the junior from Miami led the team in tackles and showed what kind of beast he can be.

DT Derrick Nnadi – The big man in the middle complimented the ends of Walker, Sweat and Burns with 49 tackles and six sacks…and will be coming back for 2017.

DE Josh Sweat – Playing on the opposite side of Walker got him some relief when it came to double teams, allowing the former top recruit to get seven sacks when it was all done.

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