Since the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) created the transfer portal in October 2018, Florida State has had several players leave the program, including offensive lineman Landon Dickerson (Alabama), defensive back Jaiden Lars-Woodbey (Boston College) and quarterback Chubba Purdy (Nebraska).
However, the Seminoles have also added talent through the transfer portal and found contributors like running back Jashaun Corbin (Texas A&M), quarterback Jordan Travis (Louisville) and defensive end Jermaine Johnson II (Georgia).
With a plethora of recent additions from the portal, the ‘Noles have multiple players who could shine in their first year in Tallahassee. Below are three transfer candidates who can perform immediately.
1. Jared Verse, Redshirt Sophmore Defensive End
After two seasons at Albany, Verse joined the Seminoles along the defensive line and filled a need after the departure of Johnson II and defensive end Keir Thomas.
Verse will be measured to the standard set by Johnson II, who set the tone for the ‘Noles as a leader and registered 11.5 sacks on his way to ACC Defensive Player of the Year Honors.
Throughout his college career, Verse has totaled 74 tackles and 14.5 sacks (10.5 in fall 2021). He received FCS Freshman All-American honors in fall 2021 but will face stiffer competition in his first season at the FBS level.
Verse projects as the starting FOX and also has the ability to play the other defensive end position. His numbers might not match what Johnson II did in 2021. Still, Verse’s impact can be similar due to his natural physical ability and ability to pressure the quarterback and disrupt plays.
With the production (18 sacks) lost from last season’s defensive ends, Verse is set up in a position to follow in the footsteps of Johnson II and Thomas and become a productive member of the ‘Noles defensive front.
2. Tatum Bethune, Redshirt Junior Linebacker
Florida State has an experienced veteran (28 games) in Bethune. The Miami, Florida, native had his best statistical season at UCF in 2021, finishing with 108 tackles (60 solo), two interceptions and two sacks.
Bethune followed co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Randy Shannon to Tallahassee, who spent 2018-20 at UCF.
Along with redshirt junior Kalen DeLoach, Bethune can give the ‘Noles the best linebacking combination they’ve had under defensive coordinator Adam Fuller. Bethune’s willingness to hit and patrol the field was displayed throughout spring practice, and redshirt sophomore running back Treshaun Ward noticed it from the other side of the ball.
Bethune was named second-team all-conference by Pro Football Focus (PFF) in 2021 and offers consistency and leadership to the position. He figures to be one of the leading tacklers on the ‘Noles and a key part of the growing culture under head coach Mike Norvell.
3. Trey Benson, Redshirt Sophomore Running Back
As he becomes further removed from his December 2020 knee injury, Benson’s name is starting to gain momentum as one of the key names to watch in Florida State’s offense in 2022.
After two years at Oregon, Norvell landed Benson out of the portal after the departure of Corbin. For his career, Benson has 22 rushing yards and one touchdown on six attempts but projects to be more than a depth piece for the ‘Noles.
In the spring game, Benson rushed for 77 yards on 11 carries and showed the physicality and explosiveness he held before his injury. His downhill playstyle compliments the rushing styles of Travis and Ward, who combined for 1,045 rushing yards in 2021.
Norvell likes to use a variety of backs, but Benson could be in line for the most carries this season and could produce meaningful numbers all season, starting against Dusquene on Aug. 27. There are many players with the talent to command carries for FSU, but Benson could become the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Seminoles since Cam Akers in 2019 (1,144).
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