Column: Despite Recent Struggles, FSU Still Producing in the Secondary
Florida State athletics

Column: Despite Recent Struggles, FSU Still Producing in the Secondary

Defensive Back University or “DBU.”

That’s a claim Florida State makes a strong case for. Historically, the Seminoles have had no problem producing quality defensive backs.

Despite not winning more than seven games in any season since 2016 and suffering through four straight losing seasons, FSU has still produced quality players in the secondary. Just ask Derwin James.

Last week, the Los Angeles Chargers made James, a former FSU standout, the highest-paid safety in NFL history. Since 2017, FSU has had five defensive backs — six if you include honorable mention — earn All-ACC honors.

Over the last five NFL Drafts, three players from the secondary have been selected. When it comes to draft choices and All-ACC selections, only the defensive line has had more of each over the last five seasons for the Seminoles.

Historically, the results have been even better. In addition to James, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is currently regarded as one of the best in the NFL at his position. Deion Sanders, the 1988 Jim Thorpe Award winner, is seen by many as the best of all-time.

Terrell Buckley, who led the nation with 12 interceptions in 1991, also won the Thorpe Award. Leroy Butler, an All-American at FSU, was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dexter Jackson, an FSU standout in the late-1990s, is the last defensive back to win Super Bowl MVP.

Looking Ahead to 2022

Looking forward to 2022, it’s safety Jammie Robinson who serves as the face of the defense. Last season, Robinson led the Seminoles with 84 total tackles, four interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles.

Robinson has been named a preseason All-American by both Phil Steele and the Associated Press. He’s also been named to preseason watch lists for the Jim Thorpe Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Robinson did everything for FSU last season, but he’s not the only player in the secondary worth being excited about. Cornerback Omarion Cooper came on strong over the final half of the season as a true freshman in 2021. Kevin Knowles is also a player to watch at cornerback.

Deep in the secondary, Akeem Dent also had a nice end to 2022. Although both have been inconsistent throughout their careers, Travis Jay and Jarrian Jones bring a lot of experience. The same is true for Jarques McClellion.

A couple of new faces should make things interesting for FSU in the secondary as well. Once a 5-star prospect, Sam McCall is the highest-rated member of FSU’s 2022 class. Another true freshman, Azareye’h Thomas wasted no time turning heads in fall camp.

Renardo Green, Sidney Williams, Shyheim Brown, Demorie Tate and Louisville transfer Greedy Vance are other members of the secondary to watch. As the Seminoles prepare to open the 2022 season against Duquesne on Saturday, they appear to have plenty of depth and talent in the secondary. For a program that claims itself “DBU”, the group has much to live up to.

Mike Ferguson is the lead writer for Double Fries No Slaw. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

Mike Ferguson

Mike Ferguson is the lead writer for Double Fries No Slaw and has more than 10 years of experience in online and print journalism. Mike graduated from Florida State University in 2009 and has had his work featured at numerous prominent publications such as Fox Sports, the Associated Press, Athlon Sports, Yahoo Sports and Sports Illustrated among others. Prior to joining Double Fries No Slaw, Mike was the founder and editor of The Daily Nole. He also serves as the managing editor for Fifth Quarter and is a contributor for Athlon Sports, Fish Stripes and Orlando Pinstriped Post. Mike and his wife Jennifer reside in Haines City, Fla. and have two daughters.