The 2023 college football season is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start watching some prospects in preparation for the 2024 NFL Draft. The upcoming draft features a ton of elite prospects, and this class has as much talent at the top of the board as you can ever hope to see. If your favorite team is expected to have a high first-round pick, you should be extremely excited.
Every year, there are a handful of college football teams that are littered with NFL talent, like Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and Clemson. This year is no different, but there’s another team that has gone under the radar despite having a handful of great prospects. That team is the Florida State Seminoles.
The Seminoles enter the upcoming season with four players slotted inside the top 75 on the consensus big board, including one inside the top five and another inside the top fifty. They are absolutely loaded with high-end talent, and it wouldn’t be shocking if they have a strong season and are one of the best teams in the country. Let’s dive in and break down Florida State’s four best prospects and see what makes them special talents.
1. Jared Verse, Edge Rusher (Consensus Rank: 4, EDGE1)
Jared Verse is one of the top prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft, and he is on track to be the first edge rusher off the board in the upcoming draft.
Verse made a name for himself last season at Florida State, but he actually started his college career at Albany, an FCS school in New York. He spent two seasons there in which he was very productive before transferring to Florida State for the 2022 season. In his first season playing for the Seminoles, he dominated, recording 48 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and nine sacks.
Most analysts expected him to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft after his incredible junior season. He had garnered an insane amount of hype during the pre-draft process, and there was a point where people were projecting him to be a top-fifteen pick. However, Verse shocked everyone when he announced that he would return to school for his senior season.
Jared Verse is a phenomenal pass rusher and last season, he was one of the most productive pass rushers in college football. In 2022, he recorded 36 pressures and had a PFF pass-rush grade of 88.6 and a pass-rush win rate of 22.6%. His production as a pass rusher was ridiculous as he ranked top ten among Power Five edge rushers in both PFF pass-rush grade and pass-rush win rate.
Verse’s best quality as a pass rusher is his explosiveness as an athlete. He has a tremendous burst off the line of scrimmage, and his speed off the edge makes it really difficult to stop. Opposing offensive tackles have to be extremely athletic and agile to stay in front of him.
His one glaring issue in this area is that he doesn’t have a great bend. He is more than capable of beating tackles with his speed, but he is a bit stiff when he has to get around the edge, and this could keep him from being an elite pass rusher at the next level.
Verse is also a solid run defender and can overpower opposing blockers in the run game. In 2022, he was fairly productive as a run-stopper, sporting a top rate of 9.1%. This mark was pretty good, ranking inside the top twenty among Power Five edge rushers.
If Jared Verse works on his flexibility and continues to improve as a run defender, he has a chance to be a top-five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
2. Johnny Wilson, Wide Receiver (Consensus Rank: 48th, WR7)
After playing just eight total games at Arizona State in 2020 and 2021, Johnny Wilson transferred to Florida State in 2022, and he exploded, catching 43 passes for 897 yards and five touchdowns in thirteen games as he made the All-ACC second team.
Wilson was legitimately one of the best wide receivers in college football during his breakout season, sporting a PFF grade of 82.3, which ranked 8th among Power Five receivers. He was remarkably efficient in the passing game, averaging 20.3 yards per reception (3rd among Power Five receivers) and 3.36 yards per route run (2nd among Power Five receivers).
Wilson is a very unique receiver. Standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing 235 lbs., he looks more like a tight end than a receiver. His size makes him a matchup nightmare on the outside, where he played 85.9% of his snaps last season. In 2022, he did a lot of damage as a deep threat, and he demolished man coverage.
Last season, Wilson recorded 471 yards on deep passes, and he had a PFF receiving grade of 98.5 on deep routes. Both of these marks ranked top fifteen among Power Five receivers. While those numbers are impressive, he was even better vs. man coverage, averaging 4.31 yards per route run vs. that coverage. The fact that Wilson plays so many snaps out wide and is so effective on deep routes and against man coverage means he could be a devastatingly good outside receiver in the NFL.
Johnny Wilson isn’t perfect, though. When the draft rolls around, people will raise concerns about his long speed and the fact he dropped 12.2% of his targets last season. Those are legitimate problems, and inevitably, people will question his ceiling as an outside receiver. However, he is a pretty fluid athlete for his size, and he fits an extremely valuable mold as an outside receiver who dominates man coverage.
If Johnny Wilson has a big year this season, he could be one of the first receivers off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft.
3. Jordan Travis, Quarterback (Consensus Rank: 66, QB6)
Jordan Travis is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft, and there’s a legitimate chance that he will become a first-round pick once the draft rolls around next April.
Prior to last season, Jordan Travis wasn’t a special player. He played just 15 total games during his first three seasons, and in 2021, he was quite average as a passer, completing 62.9% of his passes and throwing 15 touchdowns and six interceptions in 10 games. He was always quite productive as a runner, but his passing numbers were always a bit pedestrian.
Last season, though, he broke out and had the best season of his career, completing 64% of his passes and throwing for 3,214 yards, 24 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also had 82 carries for 417 yards and seven touchdowns.
After years of struggling to find his footing as a passer, he became one of the top quarterbacks in college football, sporting the second-best PFF grade and the third-best PFF passing grade among Power Five quarterbacks. His ascension occurred because he improved a lot under pressure, and he developed into an elite intermediate and deep ball thrower.
To be fair, Travis is an older prospect, and he doesn’t have great physical tools. He’s a bit small for a quarterback, and his arm strength isn’t anything special. However, he has developed into a super-skilled passer, and he has the mobility to be a great runner who can make plays outside of structure. That is a great archetype for the modern NFL and could make him a
Jordan Travis may not be an elite prospect because of his lack of physical tools, but he has the statistical profile of a first-round pick. He just needs to keep improving and show that he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback at the next level.
4. Trey Benson, Running Back (Consensus Rank: 69th, RB6)
Trey Benson started his college football career at Oregon, where he saw limited playing time during two seasons in 2020 and 2021. After his redshirt freshman season, Benson transferred to Florida State in 2022, where he would be the full-time starter.
As a redshirt sophomore, Benson had an incredible breakout season, recording 154 carries for 990 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 144 touchdowns. On the surface, these numbers look good but not quite elite. However, his advanced numbers show that he was one of the best pure runners in the Power Five.
For starters, Benson was an extremely efficient tackle-breaking machine, averaging 6.5 yards per carry and 4.53 yards after contact per rush attempt while also breaking 79 total tackles. He was amazing at creating extra yards, ranking top ten among Power Five running backs in all three metrics.
Benson was also great at generating explosive runs, recording 22 runs of 15 or more yards and recording a breakaway run on 59.1% of his carries. Both of these marks ranked top five among Power Five running backs. When he finds an open running lane, he is more than capable of reaching the second level of the defense and breaking off a huge run.
These numbers are insanely good, and they make Trey Benson look like one of the best pure runners in the Power Five last season. However, there are some issues with his running style. For starters, he is not very shifty or agile with the ball in his hands, so it’s rare to see him run east to west or evade tackles by being elusive. The fact that he is stiff as a ball carrier could hurt his ability to break tackles or create explosive runs at the next level.
Another issue with Benson’s game is there is little evidence that he can be useful on passing plays. Last season, he caught just 13 passes in 13 games, and he was used as a pass blocker on just 39 snaps. He was extremely productive as a pass catcher, averaging 11.1 yards per reception and 1.15 yards per route run, but most of his targets came out of the backfield, and his usage in the passing game as a whole was incredibly low.
Trey Benson is a talented back with an impressive statistical profile as a runner and some untapped potential as a pass catcher. If he has a big year next season, he could possibly be a second-round pick. However, he has some athletic limitations and will need to be used more as a pass catcher to become a highly touted prospect.