It is pretty clear college football guru Phil Steele things Florida State is mighty talented, considering he has the Noles sitting at No. 3 in his preseason rankings.
Here is a glimpse at how talented he thinks this team is headed into 2013: He has Florida State ranked among his Top 15 teams in the nation at: running back, receiver and defensive line. That means Florida State is featured in three of the four position rankings Steele has unveiled on ESPN.com so far.
Of those three groups, he has receiver rated highest of all, which surprises me quite frankly. Florida State has talent, yes, but there is no true national headliner among them. Steele admits as much, writing, "Although there are not a lot of household names in this group, the Noles could have some by the end of the year, including Kelvin Benjamin, who is 6-foot-5, 242 pounds."
No doubt Benjamin is a freak of an athlete, but he has got to be more consistent this season to really strike some fear into the heart of the opposition. Greg Dent is suspended indefinitely following his arrest this week, but Florida State has plenty of talent to make up for his loss. This is pretty high billing for a group that has a bunch of players that still need to prove themselves. We'll see if the Noles receivers can live up to these expectations.
One more ACC team to note in the receiver rankings: Maryland at No. 15, thanks to Stefon Diggs and Deon Long.
As for the other rankings, Steele has Florida State ranked No. 12 at running back and No. 8 at defensive line. Interestingly enough, he has the Florida State running back group ranked ahead of Miami, which checks in at No. 13. I understand the reason for that. Florida State returns two very solid backs in Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr., and they add Mario Pender.
Miami counters with ACC Freshman of the Year Duke Johnson and Eduardo Clements, along with spring surprise Dallas Crawford. The Canes get the nod in the headliner category with Johnson; but Florida State has more depth.
There is one ACC team ranked ahead of Florida State on the defensive line -- No. 7 Virginia Tech. No arguments here on that ranking. The Hokies should have a pretty solid front, with seven of their top eight linemen back from a year ago, including end James Gayle. Clemson also made into the rankings at No. 15. Vic Beasley is on course to have a huge season.