Florida State safety Derwin James: “I really still don’t understand the rule of targeting”

Florida State safety Derwin James can count himself fortunate for not being ejected from Saturday’s win over Wake Forest.

In the first half, James’ hit on Demon Deacons tight end Cam Serigne was originally ruled as targeting. Per NCAA officiating standards, all targeting calls are reviewed and, if upheld, means that the player is ejected from the game. In James’ case, the call was reversed, and he was allowed to continue.

On Monday, James expressed his confusion with the rule, especially as it pertained to what is upheld and what is not.

James tried to get clarification from the officials during the game, wondering if he should have let Serigne run after the catch before tackling him to avoid hitting a defenseless player.

Still, the targeting rule remains a mystery for James, college football players, referees and fans of the sport.

“It definitely alters how you hit people a little bit most of the time,” James said. “I really still don’t understand the rule of targeting… I still don’t know it to this day.”

Even coach Jimbo Fisher wasn’t sure what the call would be during the course of play.

“Trust me. I go ‘oh my god, no, it didn’t happen, did it?’” Fisher said candidly after the game. “I saw the replay and my heart dropped.”

Targeting has been confusing for fans and players alike as it seems to be a sliding scale as to how the rule is enforced. Hopefully, for the sake of the enjoyment of the game, there is clarification and a even standard for targeting on the horizon.

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