Tallahassee, Fla. – Ten Seminoles were named on Athlon Sports’ Preseason All-ACC Team, the publication announced Thursday. Five ‘Noles, led by Heisman Trophy candidate running back Dalvin Cook, made the first team.
Cook and offensive lineman Roderick Johnson headline the Noles on the first team for offense. Cook is coming off the greatest rushing season in FSU history, running for 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns, while Johnson led an inexperienced offensive line in opening holes for Cook. Johnson was the 2015 Jacobs Blocking recipient in the ACC, given annually to the league’s top blocker.
On defense, FSU’s three first-team honorees tie for the league lead, including two in the secondary. Sophomore safety Derwin James was one of the most electric playmakers in the country his freshman season, accounting for an FSU-freshman record 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and five pass breakups.
Joining James on first-team defense is senior cornerback Marquez White and senior defensive end DeMarcus Walker. White started all 13 games in 2015, ranking second in the ACC in completions-per-target at 32.1 percent according to ESPN. Opposing quarterbacks targeted White on only seven percent of throws on the season.
Walker shined throughout the year, finishing 2015 with 58 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and four forced fumbles. The Jacksonville, Fla., native had 10.5 sacks, a total good for fifth in the conference and the most at FSU since 2012.
Junior wide receiver Travis Rudolph and sophomore defensive lineman Josh Sweat are the FSU representatives on the second team. Redshirt senior offensive lineman Kareem Are and junior defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi are on the third team, and linebacker Ro’Derrick Hoskins is the lone representative on the fourth team.
Previously, Athlon ranked Florida State No. 2 as a team heading in to the 2016 season.