Last Updated: 2017-12-06
The Florida State Seminoles had to win their final three games just to earn a bowl bid for the 2017 season. Due to Hurricane Irma, the Seminoles missed out on an opportunity to play Louisiana-Monroe early-on. Therefore, they rescheduled the date for last Saturday to reach six wins. However, premier safety Derwin James has opted not to play in the upcoming Independence Bowl.
James is not the first player to declare for the NFL Draft this season. He won’t be the last. Yet, James is the biggest name to skip the Bowl season thus far. In a perfect world, James would be preparing for a College Football Playoff run. Instead, the Seminoles are .500 team with nothing substantial to play for. They lost head coach Jimbo Fisher prior to the last game. More importantly, the Seminoles just hired former Oregon Ducks’ head coach Willie Taggart to the same position.
James recorded 84 total tackles during the 2017 season. He also accounted for two interceptions this season. However, he was not as impactful as the Seminoles hoped. In three seasons, James accounted for 186 tackles, and 5.5 sacks. He finished with three career interceptions and scored his lone defensive touchdown against Delaware State. James did set a career high with 11 pass breakups as a junior. Unfortunately, James barely played as a sophomore due to a season-ending injury. He was out after two games. The defense gave up 22 points per game this season. However, opponents scored 28.6 in wins over the Seminoles.
The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles finished with an (8-4) record. They scored 30.5 points per game. They played a pair of Power 5 teams in the regular season and lost both games. Kentucky and Tennessee combined to hold the Golden Eagles to 27 points in non conference play.
The Seminoles should be able to overcome James’ absence in the passing game. However, he is an elite safety in the box and the Golden Eagles aren’t shy about running the ball.