First Sporting News chose Marcus Mariota over Jameis Winston as its preseason All-American quarterback. Then, earlier today, they projected Oregon to eliminate the Seminoles in a playoff semifinal. And then came their preseason All-ACC team, which includes some rather brow-raising Florida State exclusions.
Several ‘Noles are on the team, including Winston, guard ‘Tre Jackson, tackle Cameron Erving, and tight end Nick O’Leary on offense. Defensively, defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr. and cornerback Ronald Darby get the nod, and Roberto Aguayo is the pick at kicker. While many players can be argued to be omitted, a couple particularly stick out, notably Rashad Greene and P.J. Williams.
Greene is a returning senior who, barring injury, could very well leave as FSU’s career leader in catches, receiving yards, and touchdown grabs. He was also an All-ACC selection last year, and while the logic employed for O’Leary’s selection is that he’ll benefit from Kelvin Benjamin’s departure, the same rationale is, for some reason, not employed regarding Greene. The selections ahead of Greene? Jamison Crowder of Duke and DeVante Parker, Sr. of Louisville. Both are fine players, but neither play in the offense that Greene does, and the latter, of course, is no longer catching passes from Teddy Bridgewater.
If the exclusion of Greene is surprising, the P.J. Williams snub is staggering. The other defensive backs selected: Virginia’s Anthony Harris, Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Louisville’s Charles Gaines, Jr., and especially Darby are all deserving, but Williams may well be the first defensive back taken in the 2015 NFL draft. He was a big reason the Seminoles’ defense was the best in the country last year and probably boasts the top DB group in the nation in 2014. (I’m also not sure why this list includes three cornerbacks and just one safety.)
Don’t get me wrong: seven selections is impressive. But given FSU’s sheer dominance of the ACC last year and the talent they return, coupled with Sporting News’ recent calls pertaining to the ‘Noles, I found these specific omissions rather curious. To be fair, Winston is picked as the preseason ACC Offensive Player of the Year.