Florida State was fortunate that edge rusher Jermaine Johnson chose the Seminoles after deciding to transfer from Georgia. Some NFL advance scouts gave Johnson a preseason first round projection, so adding a talent like Johnson was a steal for head coach Mike Norvell. Johnson made his presence felt immediately on the opening drive with a coverage sack of Jack Coan as he chased down the quarterback when he stopped up in the pocket.
Later in the first quarter he flowed down the line to stuff a run for a short gain and later on the drive Johnson had a tackle for a loss of four after coming unblocked to snuff out an end around. Late in the first quarter on a third-and-2, Johnson got off a block from the right guard and stuffed the back a yard short of the first down. It was a superb play by Johnson.
Midway through the second quarter Johnson added another coverage sack that mirrored his first one. Johnson was blocked initially, but as Coan stepped up Johnson redirected to hunt down the quarterback.
In the second half, Johnson went quiet as Notre Dame did a good job of blocking him in the final two quarters. However Johnson was commanding attention and that helped other Seminole defensive lineman to produce some big plays. It was a hot, long game and Johnson played a lot of snaps.
Overall, this was a strong debut for Johnson with the Seminoles. He showed quickness to get upfield with a burst to close. He also was strong to fight off blocks, take on guards, and make physical tackles. This tape should help Johnson’s draft grade.
Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton entered the season as the consensus top safety prospect and a future first-round pick. In the first quarter Hamilton did not take a great angle on a long touchdown by the Seminoles. There were a couple of other tackling efforts that were underwhelming, but late in the second quarter Hamilton showed his special ability with an interception along the sideline. It was great play where Hamilton ran the route on a receiver and prevented separation before cutting in front of the wide out to make the pick.
At the start of the third quarter Hamilton was playing deep free safety and he was late going to the sideline as a receiver streaked past the corner to race down the field for a 60-yard touchdown. Shortly later he made up for it playing deep free safety again. This time he undercut the receiver on time to get his second interception of the game.
While this wasn’t a perfect game from Hamilton, it still was an impressive performance showing his dynamic playmaking ability. Hamilton is a well-rounded safety that can play free safety, strong safety, is able to play some man coverage, and has ball skills. Early in his pro career, Hamilton could be an impact starter in the NFL.