5 colossal reasons 2024 FSU football exchange entry course brings joy

Many FSU football media folk didn’t think FSU would take as many players from the transfer portal as they had in years past as recently as a couple of months ago. However, I’ve always thought FSU would take a hefty transfer class between 8-10 players, and the coaching staff has exceeded even my expectations with 14 additions thus far and could have a few more additions. There probably was more attrition from the roster than expected, which attributed to a couple more additions. The retirement of Nick Saban from Alabama likely provided more viable options as well because FSU coaches recruited several of those players while they were in high school and had those existing relationships.

Most FSU football fans and those familiar with the program expected some drop-off after the 2023 season. FSU had many guys with tremendous production to return in 2023 for one final go at winning the ACC and a National Championship. Most of those guys have departed to prepare for the NFL Draft, which will result in the most FSU players drafted since 2021. However, the work the coaches have done in the transfer portal has fans thinking differently than a couple of months ago. Here are five huge reasons the transfer portal has fans excited about the 2024 season.

FSU football lost a lot of leadership from the program after this past season. Jordan Travis, Fabien Lovett, Kalen DeLoach, Akeem Dent, Malcolm Ray, and Jarrian Jones were all guys on that 2020 team that went 3-6. They lost guys like Tatum Bethune, Johnny Wilson, Trey Benson, and Jared Verse, who joined the program after the 2021 season, and were a big part of helping FSU reach the 10-win mark for the first time since the 2016 season in 2022. These were guys who had been through the fire when nobody believed in Mike Norvell or the program. However, they were also highly productive players, and nearly all made All-ACC at some point. When players have the production and the accolades, it carries weight in the locker room when they speak.

FSU couldn’t replace all of that experience, but they did a great job of identifying guys who were proven winners and productive. DJ Uiagalelei has played in big-time games and won a lot as a starting quarterback. His experience should be vital in helping lead in 2024. His teammate from Oregon State, defensive end Sione Lolohei, was an All-Conference performer last year. Roydell Williams was a productive player at Alabama and knows what it takes to win. Richie Leonard IV has a ton of starting experience. Terrance Ferguson and Shawn Murphy come from Alabama and have a winning culture. Those are guys on both sides of the ball who can help lead young nucleus.

FSU has added 37 players(including one blue-chip preferred walk-on) when combining the 2024 high school class, and transfer portal class. An astounding 26 of 37 players (70 percent) rank as blue-chip players. That also doesn’t include another blue-chip high school player trending to sign with the Noles(Amaree Williams). The Georgia Bulldogs are the only team with more blue-chip players when combining both, and they have 28 blue-chip players.


I mentioned the extreme production lost from the guys exiting the program. However, the coaching staff did a great job combining production with potential. It’s not like the coaching staff doesn’t have a track record of taking talented guys with no production, and turning them into household names. Jermaine Johnson, Keir Thomas, Jared Verse, Johnny Wilson, Trey Benson, and Dillan Gibbons are guys I can think of off the of my head. They all went on to become All-ACC performers

DJ Uiagalelei, Sione Lolohei, Roydell Williams, Richie Leonard IV, Grady Kelly, and Jaylin Lucas bring proven production. The latter two were Freshmen All-Americans with their former teams. Devonta Brown has been productive when he had good coaching at UCF, and Tomiwa Durojaiye showed incredible traits as a redshirt redshirt freshman. The other guys were former top 100 players with a ton of potential.

Needs and Depth

FSU had some major needs at several positions after the 2023 season concluded. They needed help at QB, DE, LB, OL, DT, and wide receiver. FSU has hit on the necessities at every single one of those positions. They even added talent at running back, special teams, and the secondary. Depth was a major concern for defensive and wide receivers. Those concerns are no more, and anything they take from the portal moving forward would be a luxury and not a necessity(though I would love another linebacker). I think the coaching staff has something in the works there. They may add another defensive tackle and tight end, depending on which players become available in the portal.

Only six of the 14 players have one year of eligibility left, which means the majority of the players taken in the portal will provide depth and production for at least two years. That’s the difference between going to the portal for talent and depending on freshmen right out of high school. The probability the player from the portal will outperform the high schooler is nearly 100 percent, especially if we’re talking about players in the trenches.

Increased Expectations

If FSU had not gone to the transfer portal for a quarterback and went into the 2024 season with either Tate Rodemaker or Brock Glenn as the starter? FSU fans would have had to adjust their expectations drastically. I’m talking 8-4 or 9-3 as the ceiling because those guys were not going to attract the type of talent FSU has gotten from the portal. Again, Alabama’s situation was a blessing in disguise, as it helped put talent in the portal that likely wouldn’t have been there otherwise. However, we must give credit to the staff for the work they put in to improve the roster.

FSU has more overall depth at QB, defensive end, and running back going into 2024 than they would have had without the transfer portal. They have more production at running back, with Roydell Williams essentially replacing Rodney Hill. The offensive line should be better with Richie Leonard IV and Terrance Ferguson. The wide receiver group is young and unproven, but the ceiling overall is the highest it has been in years. That group has ELITE speed.

I can’t think of many games where FSU will be a large betting underdog. One betting site has FSU as a -12.5 betting favorite over Georgia Tech in the 2024 season opener in Dublin, Ireland. I can assure you the spread wasn’t anywhere near that big before FSU acquired all this talent from the transfer portal.

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