TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Three members of Florida State football team were recognized among the best in the country on Tuesday as Athlon Sports released its All-America teams for the upcoming 2017 season. Defensive backs Tarvarus McFadden and Derwin James earned First Team honors, while senior defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi was selected to the fourth team.
McFadden burst into the national spotlight as a sophomore, nabbing eight interceptions which tied for the most in the country in addition to ranking second in school history along with Monk Bonasorte (1979) and Curt Campbell (1951).
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native won the Jack Tatum Award, which is given to the top defensive back in the country by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. In addition, he was one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Award, an honor given to the top defensive player in the country.
McFadden took home First-Team All-America honors from the FWAA and Phil Steele after earning All-ACC First Team accolades from the media and coaches. He finished 2016 with 20 tackles, 3.0 TFL, six pass breakups and 14 passes defended.
James returns to the lineup after missing most of 2016 with a knee injury. The redshirt sophomore collected ACC Defensive Back of the Week after amassing a team-leading 11 tackles and his first career interception in the 45-34 win over No. 11 Ole Miss.
In 2015, the versatile James appeared in all 13 games and registered 91 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries as a rookie. The Haines City, Fla., native earned All-ACC Third Team honors and was named a Freshman All-American by Sporting News, USA Today, and CampusInsider.com. He led the team in tackles five times in 2015, including a career-high 14 against Houston in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
As the leader of the interior defensive line, Nnadi captured First Team All-ACC honors from the coaches and Third Team accolades by the media behind 49 tackles, 10.5 TFL, six sacks, one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. The Virginia Beach, Va., native was the anchor in FSU’s run defense that allowed only 128.0 rush yards per game.