Friday, June 28, 2013
FSU Countdown: No. 26 Tyler Hunter
By David M. Hale
Throughout the summer, Nole Nation will be counting down the 40 players we're projecting to make the biggest impact on the Seminoles' 2013 season, taking into consideration everything from experience to potential to their spot on the current depth chart.
What he's done: After playing largely on special teams as a freshman, Hunter emerged as a significant contributor in the secondary in 2012. As FSU's primary nickel corner, he made three starts, recorded 26 tackles and led the team with three interceptions -- including two that keyed a road win at Virginia Tech. Hunter also continued his work on special teams, serving as one of three FSU punt returners during the season. He had a monster game against Duke, returning five punts for 122 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown.
Where he's at: Hunter enjoyed a solid 2012 season, but there are some questions about where he fits into the scheme in 2013. While Hunter's highlights were notable, he also struggled in coverage at times, with FSU's ugly loss to NC State being a prime example. Moreover, Hunter sat out the spring with an injury, giving little indication how he'll be used in new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's system. While Hunter would appear to still be a top candidate for snaps at nickel, Lamarcus Joyner's move to corner makes for a crowded depth chart at the position. With Joyner, Hunter, Nick Waisome, Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams all vying for playing time at corner, the Seminoles may have more talent than available reps.
What's to come: It's hard to envision a scenario in which Hunter doesn't see his fair share of playing time. His talent dictates he'll find a role. Still, there are some questions about just where he might fit best. At 5-11, 190 with exceptional speed and a willingness to deliver a hit, Hunter could easily transition to safety if that's where FSU has a need. And given his experience, he could certainly push Waisome, Darby and Williams for playing time at corner, too. Add the fact that FSU could find itself playing nickel and dime routinely, and it's possible Hunter's role won't change all that much from last season, too. That amount of versatility is perhaps his best weapon, but it's unlikely fans will get a definitive idea of how he'll be unitized until fall camp kicks off and Hunter is healthy enough to showcase his skills once again.