For many years now, Florida State has put great defensive backs in the NFL. It's a big reason why they are in the conversation for DBU among college teams. The newest Seminole alumni that is making a statement in the NFL is Asante Samuel Jr. Who was drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 47th overall pick this past year.
Thanks to good luck, Samuel teamed up with another former ‘Nole, Derwin James. The two defensive backs have been incredible this year. Samuel has started his career off strong, with two interceptions and five pass breakups in his first six games. Samuel was recognized for his strong play and won Rookie of the Month in September.
Derwin James has also been nothing short of spectacular. He ranks in the top 20 in tackles and has an interception and two forced fumbles. What James does is not always obvious on the stat sheet as well. Chargers head coach Brandon Staley recently said that James is “playing like five positions for us, and he’s calling the defense”. A Swiss Army knife like this is nearly impossible to come by in the NFL, but Derwin James is one of few who fills that role.
Recently, James and Samuel were interviewed as teammates. A key component of this interview was their connection to Florida State and what the program meant to them. The first question asked was about the Seminoles' long history of producing defensive backs. James responded with, “Just the swag from back in the day”. He went on to mention Seminole legends like Terrell Buckley and Deion Sanders.
Asante Samuel Jr. also attributed his quick development in the NFL to Florida State. He said that the high competition and great coaches helped him translate to the next level.
In the interview, Derwin James mentioned that he sent “a thousand text messages” to his head coach trying to get Samuel on the roster. Asante Samuel bounced off of this and said how helpful someone like Derwin James has been to him so far. He called him a “big brother on and off the field” and said he appreciates him for that.
Even in down years, the ‘Noles have still produced quality defensive backs into the NFL. And it seems like these two won’t be separated for a long time if they have any say in it. This kind of culture spreading to the NFL is great for the program and the future ahead.
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