FSU Football: The Emergence of Tarvarus McFadden in 2016

After an up and down start to the 2016 season for FSU football, Tarvarus McFadden is emerging as an important piece of the defensive secondary.

On October 31, 2014 Jimbo Fisher and the FSU football staff received a Halloween treat in the form of a commitment from one of the nation’s top defensive backs, Tarvarus McFadden. This Halloween treat was not akin to the miniature box of raisins the sweet old lady down the street is distributing – think more along the lines of an elite candy such as a Reese’s peanut butter cup.

McFadden was a highly-touted recruit due to his elite size for the position (6’2  and 198 lbs.) combined with great speed and the ball-skills to match. Coaches love to win big-time recruiting battles, but it’s all for not if it doesn’t translate to the field.

Fast forward a little over two years from McFadden’s Halloween commitment and the young defensive back is leading the nation with his seven interceptions.

It hasn’t all been great for the sophomore cornerback from Ft. Lauderdale, who is seeing his first significant playing time on defense after contributing on special teams as a freshman. The first seven games of the 2016 campaign were feast or famine from the young corner – and while McFadden was lacking consistency early in the season, he displayed an impressive propensity to bounce back.

On Labor Day night, we saw McFadden get beat for the opening touchdown against Ole Miss, only to redeem himself by hauling in the game-clinching interception on the Rebels’ final drive. Against South Florida, McFadden was burned for an 84 yard touchdown on the opening play from scrimmage – but was able to settle in and record an interception later in that Noles victory as well.

The sheer number of interceptions McFadden has is impressive in it’s own right, but the timing of the interceptions could be the most important element. Arguably McFadden’s most important interception of the season came against in-state rivals Miami. With Miami already claiming a 13-3 lead as well as the ball inside the FSU 20 yard line, a score could have possibly put the game out of reach, but a timely interception by McFadden in the end zone gave FSU new life and the rest is history… seven in a row, by the way.

McFadden’s latest timely interception came in FSU’s most recent contest on NC State’s opening drive. The Wolfpack were in FSU territory and threatening to score, but their efforts were thwarted by McFadden’s tremendous ball-skills. With the pick against NC State, that’s now four games straight with an interception for McFadden.

After his up and down start to the 2016 season, McFadden has started to display more consistency in FSU football’s two most recent games. If McFadden continues to develop and become more comfortable with the college game, he has a chance to be the next great in a rich history of FSU cornerbacks.

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