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DERWIN JAMES - Football - Florida State Seminoles

Player profile

Defensive Back
Redshirt Sophomore
Haines City, Fla.
high school
Haines City


Returning from an injury that sidelined him most of 2016, started in all 12 games during the regular season, totaling 84 tackles, 5.5 TFL, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups, a blocked kick and a sack…earned first-team All-America honors from the FWAA and second-team All-America honors from Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sporting News and AFCA…named first team All-ACC…named to the preseason Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award, Nagurski Award and Thorpe Award watch list…in the season opener against No. 1 Alabama, produced six tackles and a half a sack, earning him ACC defensive back of the week…followed up with an eight-tackle performance against NC State…in the FSU-Miami rivalry, produced five tackles…finished with a season-high 13 tackles at Boston College…had a career day against Syracuse, registering an interception, tackle for loss and blocking the game-tying field goal attempt at the end of regulation…at defending national champion Clemson, totaled nine tackles and a tackle for loss…on senior day against Delaware State, notched half a sack and his second interception of the season, returned 41 yards for a touchdown…led the team in tackles vs. ULM, totaling 12…finished the season on a dominant note, totaling 47 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions and a blocked kick in his last six games.


Preseason All-ACC First Team

Watch List: Bednarik, Maxwell, Nagurski, Thorpe, and Hornung Awards


Arguably the nation’s top defensive player, suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee against Charleston Southern in Week 2…missed the rest of the season following the injury and received a redshirt…collected ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors after totaling a team-best eight tackles and his first career interception against No. 11 Ole Miss in the season-opening comeback win…interception came on Rebels’ quarterback Chad Kelly – one of the nation’s top signal-callers…named a preseason All-American by nearly every publication…remained a team leader and traveled on nearly every road trip despite the injury.


All-ACC Third Team (Media)
All-American Honorable Mention (
Freshman All-American (Sporting News, USA Today Sports, Campus Insider)


Lived up to the recruiting hype and proved to be one of the best freshmen in the country, finishing with 91 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, two fumbles forced and two fumble recoveries…earned All-ACC third team honors from the media and All-America Honorable Mention accolades from…named a Freshman All-American by Sporting News, USA Today and…nation’s only returning player with 90+ tackles and 9+ TFLs…appeared in all 13 games, making eight consecutive starts to end the year…finished his freshman campaign ranked second on the team in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and fumbles recovered, tied for second in forced fumbles and tied for third in QBH and pass break-ups…his 91 tackles tied for the 14th most in the ACC and second highest tally among freshmen in the league…it also marked the third highest tackle output all-time by a freshman at Florida State (behind only Marvin Jones and Ron Simmons) – the next-best total by a freshman under Jimbo Fisher was 58 stops by Xavier Rhodes in 2010…led the team in tackles a team-best five times including a season-high 14 tackles against Houston in the Peach Bowl…also led the team with 12 tackles vs. Syracuse, 10 vs. NC State & Chattanooga and nine at Florida…made his collegiate debut in the season opener against Texas State and finished with a tackle and fumble recovery…opened the season with just two tackles in his first three games before exploding for 89 over the next 10 games…first career start came at home against Louisville…earned ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors after the NC State game where he tallied 10 tackles, one TFL, a sack and a fumble recovery…closed out the season with a monster game that featured 14 stops including two TFLs and a sack against the Cougars…tallied a season-high two TFLs twice – against Syracuse and Houston…in his eight starts tallied 76 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, 9.0 TFL, and four sacks…was recognized as one of FSU’s Top Newcomers of the Year on defense at the end of the year banquet…named Defensive MVP and Hinesman Team MVP along with fellow defensive teammate DeMarcus Walker following the 2016 spring season.


Consensus top defensive back in the nation and a five-star recruit in the 2015 class…committed to the Seminoles in 2012…rated the nation’s No. 1 safety by ESPN, Rivals, 247Sports and Scout…ranked the No. 5 player in the country and Florida’s top safety prospect by Rivals…rated the nation’s No. 4 overall player and the second-best prospect in Florida by 247Sports…ranked the sixth-best player in the country by Scout and No. 8 in the ESPN300…starred at safety in the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game where he led Team Highlight to a 46-6 victory…had 94 tackles and four interceptions in eight games for Haines City High School in 2014…added 11 receptions for 181 yards and two scores on offense…captured 2014 American Family Insurance All-USA Football Second Team honors and All-Florida First Team accolades…2014 Florida All-State Class 7A First Team selection…selected Florida State over offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Miami…born August 3, 1996…majoring in criminology.