ACC Football Player of the Week, Week 8: Jameis Winston, Florida State

Florida State QB Jameis Winston is the ACC's Player of the Week for Week 8

Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston is the ACC’s Player of the Week for Week 8

Each week, we’ll be identifying the best ACC (plus Louisville) player from that weekend’s games. As always, it’s a completely arbitrary award with no specific criteria beyond the vague concept of “excellence.” No, we don’t take write-ins.

ACC Player of the Week, Week 8: Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State

There’s no denying that Florida State’s victory over Clemson was an astounding series of events, orchestrated by the entire Seminoles team. On both sides of the ball, FSU simply smothered the Tigers, disrupting their gameplan in the early seconds and then just continuing to roll thereafter. Plenty of credit goes out to the defense (and they’ll get their due below), but it’s impossible to discuss this team’s success without Winston. The redshirt freshman quarterback’s risen to every single challenge presented to him this season, with the national attention of the Clemson game being no different. Despite being held in check on the ground (or rather, just didn’t need to bother running), he led an all-out assault on the Tigers through the air: 22-for-34, 444 passing yards, three touchdowns. That’s 20 yards per completion, and over 13 per attempt. Clemson’s secondary never had a chance, especially when they started blitzing a bit too much — teams should probably stop doing that. There’s plenty of season left, but Winston’s impressive win sets them up for what should be an extremely exciting second half of the season and a real shot at playing for a National Championship.

Honorable Mention:

Lamarcus Joyner, FS/Florida State (8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 2 FF)

Isaac Bennett, RB/Pittsburgh (30 carries, 240 yards, 3 TD)

Dallas Crawford, RB/Miami (33 carries, 137 yards, 2 TD)

Zach Laskey, RB/Georgia Tech (13 carries, 75 yards, 3 TD)

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ACC Preseason Top 50 Players of 2013: #16, Lamarcus Joyner

Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner is #16 in Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 50 Players for 2013

Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner is #16 in Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 50 Players for 2013

Less than one week until college football kicks off! In the past, we’ve limited these lists to just the top 25 players, but this season, we’re upping our game to 50. So just about every day until the season starts, there will be a new player profile up here as we count down to the top ACC player for 2013.

Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus “completely bulletproof” — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.

No. 16, Lamarcus Joyner, CB/Florida State (Last Season: NR)

Now a senior, Joyner’s been with the Florida State program long enough to know that last year’s top-10 season was an accomplishment. He’s existed with a chip on his shoulder for what feels like his entire playing career too, and just because he has accolades raining down on him now, it doesn’t mean he’s content. As he made clear to ESPN back in December, he’s got a very different approach that drives him:

“I didn’t have five or seven picks or 100 tackles, but I showed opponents that I’m a good ballplayer, and I will make you pay on the football field. Guys respect that, and they’ll game-plan around that. That’s a big honor for me.”

It’s that type of leadership and determination that caught Jimbo Fisher’s eye immediately, and it’s why Joyner’s able to switch positions this late in his college career and still receive praise from all angles. And even if he’s not focused on numbers, Joyner certainly knows he stands a much better chance surpassing last year’s figures at the cornerback spot versus safety. With such a solid front seven, he won’t be mopping up missed tackles in the run game, and given the shutdown corners continually on the roster, there was rarely an opportunity for him to really get involved in one-on-one coverage. Despite all that, last year saw him record 51 stops and an interception, while also getting involved in the return game. And between the solid coverage at the corner spot and the general fear opponents had for Joyner despite his smaller (5’8″) frame, he didn’t see many passes come his way at all. The switch to corner is sure to change all that, though.

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ACC Football 2013 Season Preview: Florida State Seminoles

Can Florida State Repeat as ACC Champs, Or Will They Take a Small Step Back?

Can Florida State Repeat as ACC Champs, Or Will They Take a Small Step Back Under Jameis Winston?

Team: Florida State Seminoles

2012 W-L: 12-2 (7-1)

Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher (31-10; fourth season)

Returning Starters: 10 (6 Offense, 4 Defense)

Is Florida State “back?” Depends on your definition. After a bit of a tailspin (by their standards) toward the end of the Bobby Bowden era, the Seminoles have since rebounded pretty well under Jimbo Fisher, winning a division title in two of the last three years and a conference championship last season (their first since 2005). SB Nation’s Bill Connelly has a lot more to say about the progression since Fisher’s hire, and rather than simply repeat him, it’s probably much easier to just head there for the full scope of improvement. Based on recruiting rankings and the glut of talent on this roster, I’d say Florida State is “back” in the sense they’re a top-15 program. But we’ll see if they can return to the national title conversation.

For the large majority of the 2012 season, the ‘Noles offense was an absolute force. And while they lose plenty — including quarterback EJ Manuel, halfback Chris Thompson and wide receiver Rodney Smith — there’s still plenty left over for another superb effort. Jameis Winston appears to be the real deal as the new starting passer, and he’ll have a very experienced, big offensive line in front of him to help with the transition. Bryan Stork and Tre’ Jackson in particular are two of the best linemen in the conference, and will play key roles in protecting Winston, who also has plenty of mobility. There’s much talk about the impact of tackle Menelik Watson’s departure to the pros (as there should be), but so long as everyone stays healthy, I don’t see a ton of drop-off. With the little depth they have across the offensive line, however, it’s something to watch out for.

At the skill positions, last year’s top target Rashad Greene is back, and prepared to take on a larger role in the passing game — but there’s a long, talented depth chart of pass-catchers behind him as well. No matter Winston’s ability to throw though, it’s likely Fisher will be calling for a run-heavy offensive attack, which he also has ample personnel for. Neither Devonta Freeman or James Wilder Jr. started the 2012 season atop the depth chart, but both managed over 100 carries apiece for a combined 1,295 yards and 19 scores. Last year, injuries limited every FSU running backs’ carries. In 2013, so long as they can stay healthy, there’s a good chance both of the ‘Noles featured rushers top the 1,000-yard mark.

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ACC Preseason Top 50 Players of 2013: #39, Terrence Brooks

Florida State’s Terrence Brooks is #39 on Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 50 Players for 2013

Florida State’s Terrence Brooks is #39 on Our Countdown of the ACC’s Top 50 Players for 2013

We’re less than two months away from the start of the 2013 college football season, and that means preview countdowns! In the past, we’ve limited these lists to just the top 25 players, but this season, we’re upping our game to 50. So just about every day until the season starts, there will be a new player profile up here as we count down to the top ACC player for 2013.

Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.

No. 39, Terrence Brooks, FS/Florida State (Last Season: NR)

When your defensive line is as good as Florida State’s was last season, it’s tough for the secondary to get a ton of action coming their way. But Terrence Brooks still made the most of his opportunities last year, with 51 tackles — most among Seminoles defensive backs. His standout game? Arguably the biggest contest FSU played in last season; a 49-37 win over Clemson. Up against the high-powered Tigers, he managed 12 tackles, which was directly related to the quick pace of Clemson’s offense. Despite a rough start to that game by the entire FSU defense, it was the second half effort by Brooks and co. that made the difference in notching that important early victory.

This season there’s still plenty to like on Florida State’s defensive line, but with much less experience, this team suddenly relies a lot more on the defensive backs — especially in a scheme devised by new defensive coordinator (and former Alabama DB, then secondary coach) Jeremy Pruitt. Brooks certainly saw plenty of involvement last year, but under Pruitt, it’s likely we’ll see even more activity from the secondary as the team looks to take a few risks to bolster the pass-rush and keep opposing passers off-balance. Last year, he nabbed two interceptions, while forcing a fumble and also tallying one tackle-for-loss. Expect those numbers to remain a bit static as he fills the deeper free safety role in coverage, though the interceptions could end up spiking as a result of more passes coming his way, too.

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ACC Announces Student-Athlete Attendees for 2013 ACC Football Kickoff

Clemson Quarterback Tajh Boyd is One of 28 Players Attending the ACC Football Kickoff

Clemson Quarterback Tajh Boyd is One of 28 Players Attending the ACC Football Kickoff

The ACC has announced the list of football student-athlete attendees for the ACC Football Kickoff today. A fancy way of saying “Media Days,” the event will take place on July 21 and 22 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C. Each schools’ coaches will be in attendance, as will two representatives per team.

The list:

Boston College: QB Chase Rettig (Sr.), LB Steele Divitto (Sr.)

Clemson: QB Tajh Boyd (Sr.), LB Spencer Shuey (Sr.)

Duke: QB Anthony Boone (Jr.), CB Ross Cockrell (Sr.)

Florida State: WR Rashad Greene (Jr.), CB Lamarcus Joyner (Sr.)

Georgia Tech: OT Will Jackson (Sr.), DE Jeremiah Attoachu (Sr.)

Maryland: QB C.J. Brown (Sr.), CB Dexter McDougle (Sr.)

Miami: QB Stephen Morris (Sr.), DE Shayon Green (Sr.)

North Carolina: QB Bryn Renner (Sr.), DE Kareem Martin (Sr.)

N.C. State: WR Rashard Smith (Sr.), CB Dantae Johnson (Sr.)

Pittsburgh: WR Devin Street (Sr.), DT Aaron Donald (Sr.)

Syracuse: C Macky MacPherson (Sr.), DT Jay Bromley (Sr.)

Virginia: OT Morgan Moses (Sr.), DE Jake Snyder (Sr.)

Virginia Tech: QB Logan Thomas (Sr.), LB Jack Tyler (Sr.)

Wake Forest: WR Michael Campanaro (Sr.), LB Justin Jackson (Sr.)

Some additional thoughts:

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Phil Steele’s 2013 Preseason All-ACC Team

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd Headlines Phil Steele's Preseason All-ACC Team

Clemson QB Tajh Boyd Headlines Phil Steele’s Preseason All-ACC Team

As part of Phil Steele’s extensive 2013 season preview activities, today he released his picks for the All-ACC team. Not an overwhelming number of surprises to be found, but that said, there’s certainly some switches partisan fans might make here and there between first- and second-teams or third- and fourth-teams. Most notably, I’d probably move up UNC‘s Bryn Renner to the second team, while moving Virginia Tech‘s Logan Thomas down to the third — but the difference is negligible, really.

We won’t lay out the entire list for you here, but below we’ve included the first-team offense and defense, plus a school-by-school count of all players included on all four teams compiled by Steele. Regarding the latter, Florida State led the way with 19 players out of the 112 named, while Maryland had the least, with just three.

First Team All-ACC: Offense

QB: Tajh Boyd, Clemson

RB: Duke Johnson, Miami

RB: Devonta Freeman, Florida State

WR: Sammy Watkins, Clemson

WR: Rashad Greene, Florida State

WR: Stefon Diggs, Maryland

TE: Eric Ebron, North Carolina

C: Bryan Stork, Florida State

OG: Tre’ Jackson, Florida State

OG: Brandon Linder, Miami

OT: Morgan Moses, Virginia

OT: James Hurst, North Carolina

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ACC Football Standout Senior 2013: Florida State

FSU Senior LaMarcus Joyner Not Only Handles the Pressure of Leadership; He Embraces Them

FSU Senior Lamarcus Joyner Not Only Handles the Pressure of Leadership; He Embraces Them

As schools’ academic years are wrapping up, last season’s juniors are about to become this season’s seniors, and with that comes extra responsibility and expectations. In the ACC, while there were plenty of players selected in the NFL Draft, the conference still returns a strong group of seniors — many of whom are set to make a strong impact in their final seasons of eligibility.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be going team-by-team in the ACC to identify the “standout senior” that’s key to his respective squad, and why he’s so important. Think we should’ve featured another player, though? Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments.

Florida State Seminoles: Lamarcus Joyner, CB

In total, 11 ‘Noles were drafted last month — a staggering number and a program record. Lamarcus Joyner would have been one of them, but he had other goals in mind. As he told the Orlando Sentinel back in January:

“Coach Fisher and I aren’t finished with what we started here. He said from Day 1 I was going to be one of those guys that was going to help turn the program around. We’ve started down the right path so far, but we’re still not finished.”

… And it’s going to be that type of fire this very young team needs if they hope to come close to last year’s 12-2 finish. With so much turnover with the roster and coaching staff, Joyner’s presence will be one of the few familiar faces on the Seminoles this year and one of the only remaining veteran leaders. But it’s a role he’s completely comfortable in, and in fact, thrives upon. Joyner considers himself not just the “quarterback of the secondary” anymore, but the “quarterback” for the entire defense; something that carries equal amounts of pressure and reward with it.

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