Defensive Back Outlook: Florida State

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Florida State’s defensive backfield will be looking to replace the likes of redshirt junior safety Jammie Robinson, who led the team in total tackles (99) in 2022. Plus, the Seminoles are bringing in Patrick Surtain Sr. as their new defensive backs coach. Surtain Sr. was an 11-year NFL veteran and served as the head coach at powerhouse American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida.

TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS, TURNOVERS

Surtain Sr. met with the media on Wednesday afternoon for the first time since being hired by the Seminoles on January 18, 2023. During the media session, he was asked about what he thought about the current defensive backs at Florida State. He responded by stating the following: “I think those guys finished fourth in the country in passing yards allowed. I think one thing we want to do more this year is taking the ball away. Being around football for a long time, if you can win the turnover battle, you have a pretty good chance of winning 85% of your games. Although we held teams to 165 passing yards per game, I think the next step will be taking the ball away and giving our explosive offense the ball repeatedly.”

RECENT STRUGGLES

The Seminoles were only able to force 16 turnovers in thirteen games during the 2022 season (which ranked 86th in the FBS). Thankfully, Florida State has been able to bring in talented defensive back transfers and recruits to replenish the position room. Here is a list of all the scholarship defensive backs on the roster:

Akeem Dent, RS Sr

Jarrian Jones, RS Sr

Renardo Green, RS Sr

Fentrell Cypress II, RS Jr

Travis Jay, RS Jr

Greedy Vance Jr, RS Jr

Omarion Cooper, Jr

Kevin Knowles II, Jr

Shyheim Brown, RS Soph

Azareye’h Thomas, Soph

Quindarrius Jones, Fr

KJ Kirkland, Fr

Ja’Bril Rawls, Fr

Edwin Joseph, Fr

Conrad Hussey, Fr


PARTING THOUGHTS

The cornerback position seems to be in good hands after the Seminoles added ultra-talented Virginia transfer Fentrell Cypress II, who was considered the No. 2 transfer portal prospect according to 247Sports. However, the safety position looks to be in question after redshirt junior Jammie Robinson departed for the NFL.

How will the Seminoles replace the likes of Robinson? Will redshirt senior Akeem Dent be ready for off-season workouts after suffering an injury in the Cheez-It Bowl against Oklahoma?

The most logical answer to replace Robinson at the safety position has to be redshirt sophomore Shyheim Brown, who finished with 36 total tackles (1.5 tackles for loss) and one fumble recovery during the 2022 season. He also blocked the game-tying extra point at the end of regulation to give the Seminoles a 24-23 victory over the LSU Tigers.

As for Dent, it begs to question: Could former safety Renardo Green make the switch from cornerback if Dent were not ready to go for the 2023 season opener against LSU? Could cornerbacks Jarrian Jones or Omarion Cooper make the switch over to safety? Can defensive back Travis Jay resurrect his career with the Seminoles after not playing during the 2022 season? Will one of the true freshmen be able to migrate into the role?


It will certainly be an interesting development to monitor, but the future seems bright under the guidance of defensive backs coach Patrick Surtain Sr.

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