The Virginia Tech Hokies will kick off the 2018 season on Monday night after a turbulent offseason that saw several key contributors depart for the National Football League or dismissed from the university for a variety of reasons.
The Hokies will travel to Tallahassee, FL., to take on ACC foe Florida State on Monday, September 3, to close out the opening weekend of college football. While both teams will feature fresh faces at a number of positions and the Seminoles will be breaking in a new staff, there are several Florida State players that Virginia Tech fans should keep an eye on during the contest.
QB Deondre Francois
Last week, Florida State head coach Willie Taggart tabbed redshirt junior quarterback Deondre Francois the starting quarterback for the season opener against Virginia Tech. Francois, who suffered a patella injury during the season opener a year ago, returned to the starting role after James Blackman spent the majority of the season in the starting role last fall.
In 2016, Francois only previous year as a starter, he was named the ACC Rookie of the Year, the ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year and was named the ACC Rookie of the Week four times. As a redshirt freshman, Francois led all freshman quarterbacks with 3,350-yards passing. He threw 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions during his first year at the helm, adding an additional five touchdowns on the ground.
RB Cam Akers
Sophomore running back Cam Akers left a big impression during his true freshman season in Tallahassee, leading the Seminoles in rushing with 1,024-yards and seven touchdowns. The 5-foot 11-inch, 210-pounder averaged 5.3 yards-per-carry and 78.8 yards-per-game.
During the 2016 season, Akers broke the Florida State freshman rushing record, which was previously held by Dalvin Cook. He was named third-team All-ACC in 2017.
DE Brian Burns
Junior defensive end Brian Burns started all 13 games for the Seminoles in 2017 at defensive end, totaling 48 tackles, 13.5 for loss, and 4.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles on the year and added two blocked punts on special teams.
In 2016, Burns led all freshmen with 9.5 sacks, which was seventh best in the ACC and 25th across the college football landscape. He was named a Freshman All-American by the FWAA, ESPN, and USA Today.
CB Levonta Taylor
Considered one of the nation’s top cover corners, Junior Levonta Taylor started all 13 games for the Seminoles last fall, contributing 18 tackles and two interceptions.
WR Tre’Shaun Harrison
True freshman wide receiver Tre’Shawn Harrison, a Seattle (WA) native, followed head coach Willie Taggart across the country when he left Oregon for Florida State in December. Harrison, a 247Sports Composite four-star recruit, officially visited Florida State on February 2, 2018, and committed to the Seminoles five days later on National Signing Day.
According to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Rankings, Harrison was considered the No. 161 overall recruit in the nation in the 2018 recruiting cycle and the No. 2 overall player in the state of Washington.