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FSU roster: Who’s left, what the options are for final two games

Announcements of transfers and opt-outs, coupled with injuries, have Florida State’s roster in flux for its final two games. While the Seminoles were not able to play on Dec. 5 at Duke, coach Mike Norvell has expressed confidence the team will have enough players for the rescheduled game vs. the Blue Devils on Dec. 12 in Tallahassee.

An FSU statement from the postponement of the Virginia game a week ago said the Seminoles had just 44 available scholarship players but that nearly all of a particular position group was not available due to contact tracing.

“We’ll just continue to push forward and control things you can control, and hopefully it’ll play out the best way possible to get those guys back as quick as we can and continue to keep them in a safe atmosphere to play these last couple of games that are on our schedule,” Norvell said on Wednesday.

By our calculation, FSU has 66 players available on offense and defense for the Duke and Wake Forest games, including a walk-on like tight end Preston Daniel, who has seen significant playing time. But this also includes veterans like Carlos Becker, who has played just one game, and some freshmen who haven’t seen the field yet or have mostly seen playing time on special teams.

The list below does not count any players who intend to transfer, are injured or have opted out. The wild card in the discussion is which players will be coming out of quarantine with time to practice, be in game shape and be comfortable with the game plan against Duke. The CDC is recommending a seven-day quarantine “if a diagnostic specimen tests negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring.” With FSU testing three times per week, continued negative tests would help bring players back into the mix compared to prior CDC guidelines.

Here’s a look at FSU’s available players for the final two regular-season games:

Quarterbacks

Available: Jordan Travis and Tate Rodemaker

Analysis: Travis has had time to rest and says he’s healthy. FSU’s offense has looked its best with him in the game, using his legs (Travis leads FSU with 85 carries, 469 rushing yards and six touchdowns) and arm to build drives. Rodemaker has seen added reps in practice, which will help his development. FSU is shorthanded with James Blackman’s opt out and Chubba Purdy’s injury. The game reps will only help Travis’ and Rodemaker’s development.

Running backs

Available: Jashaun Corbin, Lawrance Toafili, Deonte Sheffield, Ja’Khi Douglas

Analysis: FSU will miss La’Damian Webb, who opted out, and led FSU’s tailbacks with 69 carries, 369 rushing yards and three touchdowns but this is a position with depth. Corbin has shown his versatility as a runner and pass catcher as well as a Wildcat quarterback option. Toafili missed the NC State game but is expected to play in FSU’s remaining games. This group has been dependable pass-catching options, too. Douglas or Sheffield may see more playing time.

Wide receivers

Available: Keyshawn Helton, Ontaria Wilson, Jordan Young, Warren Thompson, Bryan Robinson, Kentron Poitier, Corey Wren, Darion Williamson

Analysis: Wilson and Helton are more complementary receivers than playmaker No. 1 receivers. Without Tamorrion Terry, the group has struggled. The time is here if Young, Thompson or any of the freshmen are ready to take on more playing time.

Tight ends

Available: Camren McDonald, Wyatt Rector, Carter Boatwright, Markeston Douglas, Preston Daniel 

Analysis: McDonald has been a consistent receiving option with 22 receptions for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He had a catch in every game until the NC State game. Rector presents some options, whether it’s via trick play, wildcat quarterback, or receiver.

Offensive line

Available: Maurice Smith, Robert Scott, Thomas Shrader, Darius Washington, Dontae Lucas, Baveon Johnson, Brady Scott, Jalen Goss, Lloyd Willis, Chaz Neal, Ira Henry III

Analysis: FSU will miss Love-Taylor, a leader who makes the line calls and played three positions along the line before a season-ending injury. FSU has leaned on true or redshirt freshmen as starters, so expect that trend to continue. Goss and Neal are developmental options at tackle and could play as backups.

Defensive ends

Available: Joshua Kaindoh, Janarius Robinson, Leonard Warner, Deonte Williams, TJ Davis, Quashon Fuller, Josh Griffis, Derrick McLendon, Curtis Fann

Analysis: Kaindoh and Robinson are FSU’s starters but they need backups to emerge. Warner’s shift from linebacker has helped provide a quality backup option. The extra time and game reps should help McLendon’s development. Griffis missed the last two games, but defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said in part he had hit a freshman wall. Having the added time off should be beneficial for him. The depth is a mild concern as Quashon Fuller and Williams haven’t played since week 3, while Davis and Fann have not played.

Defensive tackles

Available: Robert Cooper, Fabien Lovett, Dennis Briggs, Tru Thompson, Malcolm Ray, Jarrett Jackson

Analysis: FSU needs at least four dependable options for an efficient rotation. Cooper, Lovett and Briggs have each started and shown to be reliable. FSU will miss Durden as part of the rotation but it’s an opportunity for Thompson or Ray to see playing time. Jackson had his waiver approved midseason and may be able to make his FSU debut.

Linebackers

Available: Emmett Rice, Stephen Dix Jr., Jaleel McRae, Kalen DeLoach, Kevon Glenn, DJ Lundy, DeCalon Brooks, Jayion McCluster

Analysis: Gainer, Rice and Dix have often been the starters and that should continue. It will be interesting to see if the break between games allows for Gainer to be used in different roles. Rice has steadily improved this season and Dix has taken on an increased role.

Defensive backs

Available: Hamsah Nasirildeen, Jarvis Brownlee Jr., Renardo Green, Travis Jay, Jarrian Jones, Akeem Dent, Jadarius Green-McKnight, Brendan Gant, Sidney Williams, Carlos Becker, Raymond Woodie III

Analysis: The loss of Asante Samuel Jr. is massive and raises questions of who FSU will turn to at both corner spots. Brownlee likely will start at one spot with Dent or Jones options at the other corner. Dent and Jones have struggled in coverage, in part due to the lack of a pass rush. Nasirildeen’s return should help strengthen a safety group that has struggled. It would be interesting to try Jay at corner, allowing Nasirildeen and Green to play safety.

Specialists

Available: Alex Mastromanno, Ryan Fitzgerald, Parker Grothaus

Analysis: FSU should be good here. Mastromanno has been a consistent punter. Fitzgerald and Grothaus have split kicking responsibilities.

Related stories

On Friday, we took a look at FSU’s 2018 class and the high turnover

A few weeks ago, we took a look at how returning seniors won’t count toward the 85-scholarship limit

2020 FSU stat leaders

For a full list of FSU’s stat leaders, click here.

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