NoleGameday Monday Mailbag: Deondre Francois, James Cook, and National Championships

One week closer to spring practice! As always, you can submit your questions over the weekend for the mailbag. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, MySpace, Club Penguin, etc.

Dakota: I think this spring will show us a lot about how Deondre Francois, and this offense as a whole, will perform in 2017. Remember, Florida State loses Dalvin Cook, one of the best players in school history and a guy who made Francois’ job a lot easier. This season, a lot more will be placed on Francois’ shoulders as they attempt to transition into life without Cook.

It will help that the Seminoles return Auden Tate and Noonie Murray at receiver, two players who showed elite potential as the season went on. Tate routinely used his 6-5 frame to make circus catches and Murray famously ‘mossed’ Michigan cornerback and likely NFL draft pick Jourdan Lewis in the Orange Bowl for the winning score. FSU also returns juniors Ryan Izzo and Mavin Saunders at tight end, two more 6-5 targets for Francois.

If the offensive line can find consistency, then it is reasonable to project Francois to take a step forward with another offseason in Jimbo Fisher’s program. This will be Francois’ first offseason as the unquestioned starter as well, so he can approach this offseason with a different mindset as well. Think of it as an offseason of developing relationships with new receivers and running backs rather than fighting for a fighting job.

Dakota: As of right now, James Cook, the younger brother of Dalvin, is currently committed to Florida State and he has done nothing to suggest that he is anything but 100% committed to coming to Tallahassee. He routinely interacts with fellow Florida State commits on social media and shares the praise that the school and the NFL are heaping upon his brother.

That being said, Florida State did take one of the best running back classes in national history this cycle with 5-star Cam Akers, 5-star Khalan Laborn and 4-star Zaquandre White signing with the ‘Noles. 247 lists Cook with offers from Oregon, USC and hometown Miami among others, and it will be easy for those schools to negatively recruit against Florida State using their previous running back class to sell playing time to their own campus.

But as of right now, Cook seems firmly committed to Florida State and will likely follow in his brother’s footsteps of wearing the Garnet and Gold on Saturdays.

Is this the year that Florida State could have two championships in football and basketball? The ACC Championship and national championship? (via Facebook)

Dakota: From a football perspective, fans have to feel good about what this squad has returning next year in comparison to the rest of the ACC. Clemson loses Deshaun Watson and a host of talented playmakers and Louisville, despite returning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, looked anything but dominant to end the year.

Right now, Florida State has the best odds of any team in the ACC to win the national title with 15/2 odds, behind only Alabama and Ohio State and tied with USC. So yes, there is a good shot that Florida State contends for both the ACC title and the national championship in 2017.

As for basketball, the latest odds for the national championship have Florida State men’s basketball, currently with a 21-6 record, at 33/1 odds to win the title. That places them 15th behind teams such as Duke, North Carolina, Oregon, Louisville and UCLA.

Perhaps a more realistic projection would be for the Seminoles to contend for the ACC Championship, which will take place next month in Brooklyn. With a few weeks left in the regular season, it remains to be seen what seed the Seminoles will hold in that tournament, but they will have a tough road ahead of them with Duke, North Carolina, Louisville and Notre Dame all likely matchups. This Florida State squad has struggled on the road, but it is young, full of talent and could be in prime position to get hot going down the stretch. So while a national title might not be a realistic possibility, an ACC title is certainly in their sights.

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