Two Former FSU Football Stars Among Top Three Defenders in Transfer Portal Era

The two standout Seminoles ended up being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Oct 14, 2023; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Jared Verse (5) against the Syracuse Orange during the first half at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2023; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive end Jared Verse (5) against the Syracuse Orange during the first half at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports / Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Mike Norvell and the Florida State Seminoles have had significant success in the NCAA Transfer Portal. The change to the transfer rule in 2021, allowing transfers to play without sitting out a year, helped accelerate FSU's return to relevance. The Noles are coming off an undefeated regular season and ACC Championship as they sit at the top of the conference heading into 2024.

READ MORE: ESPN's Greg McElroy Thinks FSU Football's Season-Opener Could Shape College Football Playoff

247Sports recently released a list of the top-10 defenders in the transfer era and it is no surprise that New York Jets' Jermaine Johnson and Los Angeles Rams' Jared Verse landed at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

Jared Verse went from being First Team All-CAA at Albany in the FCS to a two-time First Team All-American at Florida State in the FBS as a transfer. The standout pass rusher totaled 89 tackles, including 29.5 for loss with 18 sacks in two seasons with the Seminoles and made a major impact during an undefeated 2023 regular season that included an ACC championship. Florida State won 19 consecutive games with Verse in the lineup and only lost three times during his two years in Tallahassee. There is a reason why the Los Angeles Rams selected him with the No. 19 overall pick in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Cody Nagel, 247Sports.com

While Johnson wasn't part of the ACC Championship Team, he did help recruit Verse and build a winning culture by attracting top-tier talent to Tallahassee after a monster season. He became a First-Team All-American and was drafted by the New York Jets, going No. 26 overall. Johnson was Nagel's No. 2 pick on the list.

Jermaine Johnson II paved a similar path at Florida State the year prior to Jared Verse becoming a menace. The former JUCO prospect and incoming transfer from Georgia was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. He recorded 70 total tackles, including 18 for loss with 12 sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery as one of the most disruptive defensive players in college football that season. The New York Jets selected Johnson in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He earned Pro Bowl honors in just his second season.

Cody Nagel, 247Sports.com

Although Johnson and Verse's success can't be humbled, defensive players like LA Rams' Keir Thomas and Braden Fiske, Jacksonville Jaguars' Jarrian Jones, Carolina Panthers' Jammie Robinson, and San Francisco 49ers's Tatum Bethune were all transfers who have made it to the next level under Norvell. According to 247Sports, Florida State currently has the No. 7 transfer class in the country.


READ MORE: FSU Football Projected To Be One Of Top Teams In College Football Playoff By Analyst

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Tommy Mire

TOMMY MIRE

Tommy Mire joined NoleGameday in 2023 as a writer and editor. He initially worked as lead voice at SBNation's Tomahawk Nation and contributes to football, NFL and recruiting coverage. Connect with Tommy on Twitter at @TommyM3III