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Insider

FSU's options to replace Reid abound

8/1/2012

In the wake of Greg Reid's dismissal from Florida State on Wednesday, the Seminoles will need to hope several younger members of the secondary can mature quickly.

Although Reid has been a three-year starter and a star on special teams, Florida State's defense is loaded with potential replacements. A soft early schedule should provides coach Jimbo Fisher and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops with time to break in the younger defensive backs slowly.

The most logical candidates for the role will be sophomores Tyler Hunter and Nick Waisome, both of whom figured to battle for the nickel corner job during fall camp.

Hunter saw limited playing time in the secondary as a freshman last season, but his size -- 6-feet, 190 pounds -- and versatility make him an intriguing option. Waisome is a more prototypical corner, but he's added weight over the offseason and is likely the most refined cover corner.

Perhaps the most intriguing option is freshman Ronald Darby, a speedster who arrived on campus earlier this summer and immediately wowed teammates in seven-on-seven drills.

"He reminds me of Greg, but he's a little bigger and faster," quarterback EJ Manuel said, comparing the freshman to the man he could replace in the lineup. "He can play, man. He's very instinctual. He makes plays on the ball like a receiver would. I think he's going to be really good."

Darby was a track star in high school, and speed is something Fisher covets in the secondary, he said.

"As the game gets spread … you have to cover," Fisher said. "When you blitz, the (safeties) have to play man. When they get into four wides and they expand, he has to have cover skills to play the ball in the deep part of the field. It's very critical in that way."

Reid's departure might be felt more on special teams, where he was poised to break Deion Sanders' career record for punt return yardage at Florida State.

Darby could step into that role, too, but again the Seminoles should have a wealth of options. Fellow freshman Marvin Bracy, sophomore Karlos Williams and veteran safety Lamarcus Joyner all figured to be in the mix as return men, and the battle for those jobs should be far more interesting now that Reid won't be on the field.