Florida State Seminoles: Nick Waisome

FSU depth chart breakdown: Defense

January, 31, 2014
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Last week, we previewed Florida State’s offensive depth chart for the spring. This week, we’ll dig into the defense.

The biggest question might be how similar the 2014 defensive scheme will look to 2013. Yes, promoting Charles Kelly certainly offers stability, but he’s also likely to want to put his own stamp on the unit rather than offering a shot-for-shot remake of Jeremy Pruitt’s system. With some significant transition in personnel and some major losses of talent, there’s room to tinker this spring. Here’s what we’ll be watching:

Defensive line

[+] EnlargeNick Marshall
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsExpect Mario Edwards to have a bigger hand in things this fall on the Florida State defensive line.
Projected starters: Mario Edwards Jr. (Jr.), Nile Lawrence-Stample (RSJr.), Eddie Goldman (Jr.)
Backups: Desmond Hollin (Sr.), Chris Casher (RSSo.), DeMarcus Walker (So.), Derrick Mitchell (RSJr.), Keith Bryant (RSFr.), Justin Shanks (RSSo.)

Storylines: Replacing Timmy Jernigan is an impossible task, but expect plenty of hype for Lawrence-Stample this spring. He was one of Jimbo Fisher’s favorites last spring, and he’ll be counted on to step up even more this time around. The loss of Christian Jones as a hybrid rusher impacts the D line, too, and how Kelly plans to handle that role now should be interesting to watch. Edwards and Goldman are both five-star players with two years of experience under their belt, but now they’ll be looked to as leaders -- both on and off the field.

Status: B
If you want to include Jones as a defensive lineman, FSU is set to lose seven DLs to the NFL in a two-year span -- including two first-rounders in Bjoern Werner and, likely, Jernigan. That’s sapped some depth from the position, but Goldman and Edwards are as good as any D-linemen in the ACC and there’s plenty of talent behind them, too.

Linebacker

Projected starters: Reggie Northrup (Jr.), Terrance Smith (RSJr.), Matthew Thomas (So.)
Backups: E.J. Levenberry (So.), Ro'Derrick Hoskins (RSFr.), Nigel Terrell (RSSr.), Ukeme Eligwe (RSSo.), Kain Daub (Fr.)

Storylines: Smith is the only lock for a starting job here -- and even that might depend on your definition of “lock.” But while the unit is short on experience, it’s high on talent. The battle to replace Jones in the hybrid LB/DE position should be an interesting one, with Thomas offering perhaps the most upside, but Casher and Eligwe certainly in the mix, too. Northrup is the most experienced option to replace Telvin Smith, and he’s certainly capable of blossoming into a disruptive force, but Fisher raved about Levenberry throughout 2013, and that figures to be one of the more intriguing battles of spring camp. Add Daub to the mix as an early enrollee, and Kelly’s biggest problem here might be figuring out how to get enough snaps for all his talented linebackers.

Status: B
There’s plenty of talent here, but it’s impossible to replace the veteran savvy of Smith and Jones. By year’s end, this should be a terrific group, but there’s lots to be learned this spring.

Safety

[+] EnlargeJalen Ramsey
Jeremy McKnight/Icon SMISafety Jalen Ramsey will play a big role in the Seminoles secondary, which will be among the best in the nation.
Projected starters: Jalen Ramsey (So.), Nate Andrews (So.), Tyler Hunter (RSJr.)
Backups: Lamarcus Brutus (RSJr.), Keelin Smith (RSJr.), Tyrell Lyons (RSFr.)

Storylines: Ramsey and Andrews were exceptional as true freshmen, but the job now is to build on that progress under a new position coach. There’s little reason to believe that won’t happen. The bigger question mark at the moment is the health of Hunter, who is recovering from a neck injury that nearly ended his career. He was the leader of the secondary last spring and summer, and his impact on a young group could be huge again in 2014.

Status: A
Terrence Brooks was always undervalued, and he’ll be missed, but Hunter, Ramsey and Andrews projects as potentially the best trio of safeties in the nation.

Cornerback

Projected starters: P.J. Williams (Jr.), Ronald Darby (Jr.)
Backups: Marquez White (So.), Nick Waisome (Sr.), Colin Blake (RSSo.)

Storylines: Losing Lamarcus Joyner is a big blow, but there’s little to be concerned with here. Williams and Darby are both exceptional and figure to get even better in 2014. Darby was limited all season with a groin injury, so some downtime may be the priority for him. Waisome saw a ton of action in 2012 but largely disappeared in 2013. How he responds this spring might tell a lot about his future.

Status: A
It says a lot about the work Fisher, Pruitt and Mark Stoops have done over the past few years that FSU can lose a player of Joyner’s caliber and still likely have the best secondary -- and best pair of starting corners -- in the country.

FSU's young defenders making noise

September, 25, 2013
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Jalen RamseyAP Photo/Keith SrakocicFreshman cornerback Jalen Ramsey jumped right in to a starting spot, beating out veterans Nick Waisome and Ronald Darby in the process.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Throughout the 68-yard dash, Telvin Smith never looked back. Seconds earlier, he'd stepped in front of a pass from Bethune-Cookman quarterback Quentin Williams, and a path cleared ahead of him as he charged to the end zone.

It was only after Smith crossed the goal line that he realized he wasn't alone. Two steps behind him was fellow linebacker Matthew Thomas, who'd kept pace with Smith step for step throughout the return.

"I turned around and he's standing right next to me," Smith said. "That's what the coaches and myself love about him."

That was hardly the only highlight of the game for Thomas, who dropped Bethune's quarterback in the backfield twice in a span of five plays in the third quarter. In a game in which Jimbo Fisher criticized his defense for ceding too much ground to an overmatched opponent, Thomas stood out.

That's been a theme of the early season for Florida State's defense. It's a unit in transition, having lost a bevy of veterans to the NFL draft and its coordinator to Kentucky. Changes have come at nearly every turn, and the youngest Seminoles are taking advantage.

"They're stepping up," Smith said. "The best man is going to play, and right now, they're proving themselves to be the best man. The young guys are coming. They're on our toes."

It's not just Thomas making an impact.

Jalen Ramsey become the first FSU cornerback to start as a true freshman since Deion Sanders, then delivered the Seminoles' first interception of the season against Pittsburgh. He's sixth on the team so far with 12 tackles, including one sack.

Demarcus Walker got a start in the opener, too, and he's seen consistent work on the defensive line ever since. Chris Casher, a redshirt freshman, racked up 10 tackles -- including two for a loss -- against Bethune-Cookman and was named FSU's defensive player of the week. Second-year players P.J. Williams and Mario Edwards Jr. are now established starters, and a handful of other youngsters are getting regular reps on defense, too.

Fisher was so pleased with the work of his young defensive backs that he felt comfortable flipping veteran Karlos Williams from safety to tailback. Casher, Thomas and sophomore Eddie Goldman have helped pick up the slack for FSU's pass rush after its top three defensive ends all left for the NFL. Overall, nearly half of Florida State's tackles this season have come from defenders with zero previous starting experience.

"The platform is even because new [defensive coordinator], new philosophy, and you have to learn it," cornerback Lamarcus Joyner said. "Experience on the football field, those young guys haven't had it, but with their talent level and where they're coming in, it's good to see them playing and be able to play fast."

Of course, it's easy enough to chalk up the early success for the freshmen and sophomores to the lack of quality competition on the field, but Fisher said this isn't a passing fad. Florida State's schedule gets markedly tougher in October, and rather than shuffling the young defenders to the sidelines for the big games, he wants to ensure they're ready to play when it counts.

"Ability is never the issue," Fisher said. "It's about technique and assignments and getting playing time to be able to relax on the field and do what you do, taking it from the practice field to the game field. You see that more and more, you feel more comfortable. We're going to keep developing all those guys."

Ramsey already appears to have a starting job locked up moving forward, beating out junior Nick Waisome, who started all 14 games last season, and Ronald Darby, a freshman All-American in 2012. Fisher raved about Ramsey's combination of speed and physicality, but said it's the freshman's football acumen that has set him apart.

Thomas is a bit more of a work in progress. He's flashed potential, but he's spent much of his first few months on campus simply soaking in all he can about how to do his job.

"He's observing a lot of stuff," Smith said. "He's taking it in, and he's going to erupt when he gets the chance."

Fisher sees it coming, too.

Since arriving on campus in June, Thomas has already packed on nearly 25 pounds to his frame, but it hasn't slowed him down.

"He's gotten faster," Fisher gushed.

Walker and Casher are following a similar path, too, though they've had longer to learn the ropes.

Casher has been sidelined for the better part of the past two years -- first because of an eligibility issue his senior year in high school, then because of a knee injury that cost him nearly all of 2012. Walker arrived this spring to get a jump start on his college career, but an issue with the NCAA Clearinghouse meant he didn't practice with the team at all.

The down time might have been a blessing, however, as both were eager to learn.

"They came in with their eyes open and their notepad ready, listening to the older guys," Smith said.

That's been a trademark of the Class of 2013 in particular. When Joyner arrived in 2010, Florida State was in the midst of a culture change in the locker room that took a while to take hold. The latest batch of freshmen, however, look right at home from Day 1.

"Those guys are coming in here with the same talent level that guys took two to three years to develop," Joyner said.

That's exactly what Fisher wants to see. He doesn't promise playing time to his recruits, he said, but he offers opportunity. This latest crop of Seminoles was prepared when that opportunity arrived.

"When you get here, you get an opportunity, and if you're the best player, you're going to play," Fisher said. "A play don't care who makes it, and there isn't an age limit on being a good player."

What to watch in the ACC: Week 1

August, 29, 2013
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The moment is finally here. The season kicks off tonight, as two ACC teams take the gridiron and mark the return of college football. Here is what to keep an eye on this entire weekend as all 14 teams get back in action.

1. Battle in the trenches in Columbia, S.C. North Carolina will have three new starters on its offensive line Thursday night against No. 6 South Carolina, including two redshirt freshmen. And the Tar Heels will be going up against preseason Heisman contender Jadeveon Clowney and the Gamecocks' lethal defensive line. Don't overlook fellow end Chaz Sutton, either.

2. Conference debuts. Pitt and Syracuse play their first games as ACC schools after exiting the former Big East, which the Orange won a four-way share of in 2012. Both schools have the chance to make big opening statements, as the Panthers host defending conference champion Florida State on Labor Day and Syracuse faces a Penn State squad looking to build off Bill O'Brien's successful first year with the program.

[+] EnlargeSteve Addazio
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesBoston College's Steve Addazio is one of the conference's new coaches this season.
3. Trio of first-year coaches. New BC coach Steve Addazio hosts Villanova, a familiar opponent from his Temple days. Dave Doeren and NC State host Louisiana Tech, which breaks in a new coach of its own in Skip Holtz after Sonny Dykes left for Cal following a 9-3 season. And Syracuse coach Scott Shafer debuts against Penn State in East Rutherford, N.J.

4. QB choices in Jersey and Raleigh. Two of those new coaches also will be unveiling their starting quarterback choices for the first time, as Shafer sends out either Terrel Hunt or Drew Allen and Doeren picks Pete Thomas or Brandon Mitchell. The Orange will be facing a Penn State team that carries the same surprise in its quarterback race between Christian Hackenberg and Tyler Ferguson.

5. ... Speaking of new starting QBs. Virginia's David Watford will make his first career start against BYU, Duke's Anthony Boone takes over the job from Sean Renfree against NC Central, and Florida State and Pitt will both start new signal-callers when they square off on Labor Day, with Jameis Winston running the Seminoles' offense and Tom Savage handling duties for the Panthers.

6. Pitt's running backs. Ray Graham is gone. Rushel Shell transferred to West Virginia. And Isaac Bennett and James Conner have dealt with injuries in camp. Coach Paul Chryst isn't sure how things will shake out Monday, but we likely will see Rachid Ibrahim and Malcolm Crockett get at least some action given the backfield situation.

7. FSU's defensive backs. Are too many bodies a good thing? Nick Waisome and Terrence Brooks started all 14 games last season for the nation's No. 1 pass defense. The crowd also includes preseason All-American Lamarcus Joyner, reigning ACC defensive rookie of the year Ronald Darby, former five-star prospect Karlos Williams and several other strong athletes. New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has his work cut out for him, although probably not as much as new Pitt quarterback Tom Savage does.

8. Virginia Tech's backfield. Coach Frank Beamer wasn't kidding when he said the Hokies went from having too many running backs to not enough. Michael Holmes was kicked off the team in July, Joel Caleb was suspended this month for the opener against Alabama, Tony Gregory suffered a career-ending ACL tear and J.C. Coleman's status for Saturday is up in the air because of two ankle sprains. Redshirt freshmen Trey Edmunds and Chris Mangus are the Hokies' next options after Coleman.

9. "Smoke." Taquan Mizzell has earned that nickname despite having never taken the college field. ESPN's No. 9 running back prospect from the class of 2013 has drawn plenty of buzz in Virginia's camp, and he will get a stiff first test against BYU's defense.

10. ACC vs. SEC. What, you really thought we'd forget this one? Three ACC teams face off against squads from the big, bad SEC, perhaps none with as steep a challenge as Virginia Tech's against Alabama. UNC kicks things off Thursday at South Carolina, and No. 8 Clemson hosts No. 5 Georgia on Saturday night in the headliner of Week 1. The ACC went 1-1 against the SEC in last year's weekend openers, with NC State falling to Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff the night before Clemson topped Auburn in the Georgia Dome.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The spring was an audition for cornerback P.J. Williams, a chance to strut his stuff in front of a new coaching staff without the long shadow cast by an immensely deep roster of defensive backs. He ran almost exclusively with the first-team defense, a luxury for the sophomore who picked up the slack while a trio of starters labored through rehab sessions following offseason surgeries.

The extended showcase paid dividends. When fall camp opened, Williams again was working with the starters, but the competition was stiff. The spring's attrition in the secondary had been replaced by a bounty of talent, and each rep in practice was under a microscope.

[+] EnlargePj Williams
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsP.J. Williams ran with the first team in the spring and returned an interception for a touchdown in the spring game. But that's not enough to earn definitive playing time in a loaded FSU secondary, and he knows it.
"You can't have bad practices," said Williams, who led Florida State in special-teams tackles last season as a freshman but saw just a handful of snaps on defense. "There's no taking plays off."

Even as new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has installed a defense designed to exploit Florida State's wealth of talented defensive backs, there remains a logjam in the secondary. The Seminoles figure to employ as many as six DBs on a majority of their defensive snaps this season, but that means at least four or five players with NFL futures will be waiting on the sideline.

In spite of all those first-team reps, Williams understands where he stacks up in the pecking order, and he's acutely aware that playing time this season will be at a premium.

"It's a real big motivator because you have to go hard every play," Williams said. "Coach is looking for consistency. He's going to play the best person every Saturday, and we've got a lot of great players."

Lamarcus Joyner is a preseason All-American. Ronald Darby is the reigning ACC defensive rookie of the year. Karlos Williams is a former five-star recruit who might well be Florida State's best overall athlete. Nick Waisome and Terrence Brooks each started all 14 games last season. Tyler Hunter is one of the defense's most vocal leaders, who spent the summer coordinating and scripting seven-on-seven drills. Jalen Ramsey, a physical freak of a corner, was a crown jewel in FSU's 2013 recruiting class.

The list goes on and on, underscoring P.J. Williams' tenuous grasp on regular playing time.

The Seminoles led the nation in pass defense last year, then watched corner Xavier Rhodes go in the first round of the NFL draft. As crazy at it sounds, this year's secondary might be even better.

"There's going to be a lot of them playing," Jimbo Fisher said after the team's final scrimmage of the preseason.

Fisher has been effusive with his praise across the board. Asked about Karlos Williams, a presumptive starter at safety, and Fisher gushed instead about Hunter's NFL future. Darby opened camp still gimpy following knee surgery early in the offseason, but by last week, he might have been the most impressive defensive back on the field, Fisher raved. Ramsey has been on campus just two months, but he looks like a seasoned pro. Joyner has been an All-ACC safety for two years, and Fisher is immensely pleased with how smoothly the senior's transition to cornerback has gone.

In other words, despite Tuesday's release of a depth chart that showed Joyner, P.J. Williams, Brooks and Hunter as starters, it's an order likely written in pencil, not ink.

"I feel like it's exciting because it means our competition level is going to go up," said Waisome, last year's starter, who now ranks as a co-No. 2 with Ramsey behind Joyner, according to the preseason depth chart. "Guys want to start, get up there and show their skills to the public. It shouldn't be a grind every day. We're all going to be pushing each other on the way."

If the stockpile of DBs is a luxury, the versatility of the group makes things even more exciting for Pruitt.

Since Fisher took over as head coach in 2010, he's made it a priority to draft all-purpose defensive backs -- bigger players with good speed who can handle an array of positions. This year's secondary is reaping the benefits of that approach.

"You have guys -- not only me, but Tyler Hunter, P.J. Williams -- that can play safety, nickel, corner," Joyner said. "Guys have been rotating, sharing the roles. That's what they expect."

Virtually every member of the secondary has cross-trained as part of Pruitt's new scheme. Brooks has worked in at both safety spots and nickel. Karlos Williams has worked at safety, linebacker and in the new hybrid roles Pruitt dubs "money" and "star." Hunter has played corner, safety and nickel, and Joyner expects to do the same.

The result is a plethora of options for how the defensive lineup might look on Monday when Florida State opens ACC play against Pittsburgh.

"To tell you the truth, it's all a shakeup right now," Brooks said. "They made sure they told us that this depth chart is not set at all. Personally, that's what I like. I don't want to just start because I'm a senior or a veteran. I want to earn my spot and show I'm the best on the field."

Odds are, Brooks won't spend much time on the sideline. He's proven enough already to enjoy a firm grip on a starting job. But start parsing the rest of the depth chart and the list of players who look the part of a starter is awfully long.

That can be a blessing or a curse, Joyner said. "Too much of anything can be bad for you," he said. But he insists this isn't a selfish group.

Uncertainty isn't always an ideal situation at this point in camp, but the quandary isn't likely to keep Pruitt up at night. He has ample options, and those possibilities make for an interesting battle that doesn't figure to have ended simply because the first depth chart has been announced.

"What I can say is we'll have a lot of football players rotating in and out," Joyner said. "I just don't know the number of reps, snaps, who deserves this or that."

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 26, 2013
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Game face is already on.

Seminoles in preparations for Pitt

August, 26, 2013
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher finally put the biggest question of fall camp to rest Friday, officially naming Jameis Winston his starting quarterback. But if Winston's position on the depth chart finalized one lingering issue, a handful of other questions remain as the Seminoles begin their final week of preparation for the season opener at Pittsburgh.

Here's a quick rundown of what's left on Florida State's preseason to-do list:

Developing receivers: A knee injury will keep Jarred Haggins on the sideline all season, meaning Florida State is now down three senior wide receivers. Add in a finger injury that has limited junior Rashad Greene for the past week, and a position that figured to be among the deepest on the Seminoles' roster is now a major concern. Greene should be fine for the start of the season, but it's apparent that Florida State will still need to rely on a trio of freshmen to step up. Fisher has raved about Jesus Wilson throughout camp, and Levonte Whitfield and Isaiah Jones have talent to spare, but the transition to the college game is rarely a seamless one.

Dan Hicks
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesDefensive end Dan Hicks, who missed all of 2012 with a knee injury, is still wearing No. 6. So is cornerback Nick Waisome. One of them will have to change numbers before next Monday.
Grasping the defense: The response from players has been universally upbeat, but even the most optimistic of Florida State's defenders admit there's still work to be done in learning Jeremy Pruitt's new defensive scheme. Florida State ranked in the top three nationally in total defense in each of the past two seasons, and there's enough buzz among the returning players to think this year's unit could be even better, but Pruitt's scheme is a challenge. The team has worked extensively on mastering the nuance throughout fall camp, but when the season begins next week, Pruitt said fans might see a more watered-down version. "When it comes to game week, we're only going to call what they know," Pruitt said. "You throw a lot of stuff at them, hope part holds, and as the season progresses, you pull out what you need each week."

Depth at tight end: Fisher tried to put a happy face on the situation when camp opened, but the lack of depth at tight end remains a major concern. Giorgio Newberry made the switch from defensive end just a week before camp began, and while he's got the size to do the job, he's definitely a work in progress. Freshman Jeremy Kerr remains sidelined with a knee injury, and Fisher continues to tinker with options, using freshman defensive end Davarez Bryant at tight end during practice last week. While Fisher is eagerly toying with his options, the fact remains that starter Nick O'Leary is going to need to shoulder the burden for a thin group behind him.

Two for six: It's perhaps the silliest debate of camp, but the implications could be significant. When defensive end Dan Hicks switched from tight end this spring, he kept his old uniform number. The problem, however, is that cornerback Nick Waisome was already wearing the No. 6 jersey. Since then, neither player has been willing to give it up, meaning FSU can't use Hicks and Waisome -- both projected starters -- on the field at the same time. Fisher said he's leaving it up to the players to decide, likely in hopes one would be mature enough to choose playing time over a jersey number, but thus far neither player has caved.

Playing time for rookies: The freshman receivers figure to be necessities on offense this season, but beyond that, it's tough to tell where the rest of the newcomers fit in. Running back Ryan Green, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end DeMarcus Walker are among the most impressive freshmen of the fall, but Fisher said he wouldn't be surprised if the great majority of this year's class avoids a redshirt. Aside from Kerr, quarterback John Franklin and a couple of the offensive linemen, virtually every member of the Class of 2013 remains in the mix for playing time.

Secondary shake-up: It's a good problem to have, but Florida State's logjam of talent in the defensive backfield still leaves some question marks as the season approaches. When Lamarcus Joyner shifted from safety to corner, the questions about playing time began, and Pruitt has been quiet about potential answers. Joyner, Waisome, Ramsey, Ronald Darby and a slew of others are in the mix for regular reps, and Fisher has hinted that the Seminoles' defensive backs will be rotating early and often.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The debut didn't go well.

It was in January that Lamarcus Joyner made what he called "a business decision" to switch positions, moving from safety, where he'd been a two-time All-ACC player, to corner, where he hoped his diminutive stature wouldn't be such a hindrance in the eyes of NFL scouts.

For months, Joyner prepared his body for the change, studied the nuance of his new position, built a foundation by going toe-to-toe with Florida State's top receivers in practices and drills.

Then the spring game arrived, and a redshirt freshman quarterback's first throw was a bomb to a walk-on receiver, with Joyner left in the dust.

"That's the best thing he could have done for me," Joyner said of the two long touchdowns Jameis Winston threw against him in Florida State's spring game. "Better him than Pittsburgh's quarterback on opening night."

Opening night for Joyner is now less than a month away, and while he's abundantly confident he won't be burned again, those lingering images of his spring struggles beg the question: Was this the right move?

The first thing to understand, Joyner said, is that returning to Florida State as a safety for another season probably wasn't an option. He'd tested the waters with NFL scouts, who projected him as a mid-round selection had he entered the draft following his junior season. No one argued with his game or his instincts, but his size -- 5-foot-8, 190 pounds -- didn't fit the archetype for the position.

So Joyner weighed his options, his desire to get his degree and up his NFL stock, and the answer was clear.

"Everybody knows it's no secret I'm an undersized safety," Joyner said. "I'm an undersized cornerback, but which one do you fit better? People set ceilings, and I'm here to show them I can do whatever."

Joyner approached Jimbo Fisher with the plan following Florida State's Orange Bowl win. Fisher and new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt supported the move enthusiastically.

"We all know that football at the little league and high school level is fun and games, but now it's a job, it's livelihood," Joyner said. "Coach Fisher and myself believed I'll also be able to have an impact on my team to accomplish more things at the college level, get the college degree, and it's a switch to occupy me as I get those accomplishments."

Joyner's move has an obvious upside for his professional future, but it also created some chaos in Florida State's secondary, where a wealth of talent has resulted in a logjam at the cornerback position.

Last season, Nick Waisome and Ronald Darby were both impressive in their first extended playing time at the college level. Tyler Hunter worked as FSU's top nickel in 2012, and Fisher raved about his strong offseason. P.J. Williams was a prized addition in last year's recruiting class, and highly touted Jalen Ramsey is one of the crown jewels of this year's incoming freshmen. Deciding who gets to play -- and, perhaps as intriguing, where they'll play -- remains one of the biggest question marks facing Pruitt as Florida State opens fall camp.

"What I can say is we'll have a lot of football players rotating in and out of the football field," Joyner said.

It's just that he doesn't plan to be the one rotating to the sideline.

Joyner said he expects to be on the field for virtually every snap, just as he has been for the past two seasons. He'll work at corner on both sides of the field and in the slot. He'll play nickel. He'll continue to work at safety at times.

"When my name is in the media guide, I expect for it to say 'defensive back,' " Joyner said, joking that "I may line up at D-end when I'm not in a DB spot."

And if he were asked to do just that, Joyner would happily take the job. He's never been the one concerned with his size, but he knows how the business works.

The move to corner is, after all, entirely about business. It's a calculated risk -- for Joyner and for Florida State. But if the change is a gamble, Joyner is doing everything he can to ensure it pays off.

Joyner has lived in the weight room, where he and receiver Rashad Greene have pushed each other through a grueling training regimen. He's been in regular contact with his former teammates who moved on to the NFL, getting insight on what it takes to succeed at the next level. He's set his sights not on simply shifting the success he had at safety to cornerback, but building upon what he's already accomplished.

"I'm working on being not only the best in the ACC but on a national stage," Joyner said. "I came in as a freshman, played. Next year, second-team All-ACC. [Last] year, first-team ACC. Now I want to be an All-American."

That's why Joyner was so happy to be upstaged by Winston this spring. It was a reminder of how difficult change can be, how much more there is to learn from this final year in Tallahassee.

It's a challenge, and after three years of success at safety, that's exactly what he was looking for.

"I just want to fight against a guy 60 minutes on an island," Joyner said. "Cornerback tests your manhood. It's like, 'OK, this guy knows I'm here, he's got to get around me.' Sometimes I'm going to be alone. Some people don't like taking up that responsibility. I'm ready to show everybody that as an undersized cornerback, I'm feisty, I can stick whoever you want me to stick, I'm physical and I play football."
Kelvin BenjaminAP Photo/Phil SearsJunior wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has shown flashes of potential in his two seasons at Florida State, but the Seminoles need him to truly break out this season.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State is finally set to open fall camp today, and while the enthusiasm surrounding new faces on the coaching staff and the roster has been high, there are some big question marks remaining before Jimbo Fisher's crew takes the field at Pittsburgh on Sept. 2.

Here's a quick look at the biggest storylines to watch during the next few weeks.

Can anything keep Jameis Winston off the field?

While most Seminoles fans have anointed Winston the next big thing, Jimbo Fisher still hasn't officially handed him the starting job. Instead, Fisher said he expects Jacob Coker -- fully healed from a broken foot that hampered him this spring -- to push Winston for reps. Regardless, Fisher raved that both quarterbacks have handled the offseason work -- and the immense hype -- well.

Has progress been made on defense?

The Seminoles got a four-week crash course this spring on the scheme being implanted by new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, but that still left plenty of questions. It's a complex attack, and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner said FSU's defense -- which ranked among the top three in the nation in each of the past two seasons -- is still learning. The first few days of fall camp should provide some insight as to how far along they are in that process and how many of the incoming freshmen have proven to be quick studies.

Who's playing tight end?

Since the 2012 season ended, Florida State has lost its tight ends coach (James Coley) and three players (Kevin Haplea, Christo Kourtzidis and Will Tye), while the incumbent starter (Nick O'Leary) survived a horrific motorcycle accident. Needless to say, the position will be in flux this fall. Fisher said he plans to shuffle some players around, potentially giving one or more of his defensive ends a crack at playing tight end, to provide some depth.

Are some key third-year players ready to step up?

A lot might be riding on the likes of Kelvin Benjamin, Bobby Hart and Karlos Williams this season. All three members of the 2011 signing class will be stepping into bigger roles this season, and all three have ample talent to get the job done. Still, question marks surround all of them. Fisher specifically praised Benjamin's progress this offseason, but all three will have a spotlight on them as camp begins.

How will playing time be split in the secondary?

Joyner is perhaps Florida State's best defender, but his move from safety to corner this offseason certainly created some waves. He said he hopes to be on the field for nearly every snap this season, but that would cut into playing time for a slew of other talented DBs, including Ronald Darby, Nick Waisome and Tyler Hunter -- all three of whom missed spring practice with injuries.

Is four weeks enough time to prep for ACC play?

The clock is ticking from Day 1 for Florida State this season. Unlike recent seasons, there's no cupcake game against an FCS opponent to kick off the year. Instead, Florida State opens against ACC foe Pittsburgh -- on the road, in prime time on national TV -- meaning there won't be much time for refresher courses early on. FSU needs to hit the ground running to ensure its clicking on all cylinders when the season begins. Luckily for Fisher, he'll finally have the luxury of a new indoor practice facility to ensure the weather doesn't wreak havoc with the schedule for a change.

FSU's fall camp position battles

August, 4, 2013
8/04/13
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State opens fall camp this week, and while the bulk of the starting lineup appears firmly in place, there are a handful of key position battles to watch as the Seminoles set their sights on the season opener in Pittsburgh.

[+] EnlargeMario Edwards Jr.
Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesDefensive end Mario Edwards Jr. was the No. 1 high school prospect in the nation in the Class of 2012.
Defensive end

The candidates: Mario Edwards Jr. (So.), Dan Hicks (RSSr.), Giorgio Newberry (RSSo.), Chris Casher (RSFr.), DeMarcus Walker (Fr.), Davarez Bryant (Fr.), Desmond Hollin (Jr.)

The situation: Florida State lost three top pass rushers to the NFL from last year's team, leaving a major void in a key area. Edwards appears all but certain to earn one of the two starting jobs after closing out 2012 in that role. On the opposite side, however, things are up for grabs. Newberry figured to be the top candidate entering spring practice, but Hicks -- nine months removed from ACL surgery -- made a big push. Walker might have been in the mix, too, but NCAA eligibility issues kept him on the sideline after he enrolled early.

The projection: Hicks' strong spring vaulted him to the top of the depth chart for now, and it's clear he's ready to play a sizable role after being shuffled to tight end a year ago. Odds are, however, this will be an area of some mixing and matching early on, with Hicks, Newberry and Casher all likely to see playing time alongside Edwards.

Linebacker

The candidates: Terrance Smith (RSSo.), Reggie Northrup (So.), Ukeme Eligwe (RSFr.), Nigel Terrell (RSJr.) and five incoming freshmen

The situation: Seniors Telvin Smith and Christian Jones offer a formidable pairing atop the depth chart, but the rest of the linebacker position remains in flux. None of the candidates have any significant experience, and while Terrance Smith looked to take an early lead as the starter on the strong side throughout the spring, there are endless possibilities on how the two-deep at each position might shake out.

The projection: Because FSU will run a majority of its defensive plays in nickel and dime sets, there may not be a need for a third linebacker routinely. Still, the coaching staff knows it needs to develop depth behind its two seniors, and identifying a pecking order is crucial. Northrup, Smith and Eligwe are likely the top contenders for regular playing time, but freshman Freddie Stevenson was an early enrollee who impressed this spring, and freshman Matthew Thomas might have more upside than anyone at the position.

Quarterback

The candidates: Jameis Winston (RSFr.), Jacob Coker (RSSo.), Sean Maguire (RSFr.)

The situation: What was a wide-open, four-man race this spring now looks to be Winston's job to lose. He was impressive throughout spring practice, dominated the spring game and has enjoyed immense hype and enthusiasm from the fan base ever since. Still, Fisher has been quick to point out that nothing is set in stone at the position yet, and Coker, who endured a foot injury that limited him this spring, figures to keep the pressure on Winston as fall camp begins.

The projection: In spite of Fisher's pronouncements, it would be a shock if anyone other than Winston got the starting nod in Week 1. By all indications, the redshirt freshman has continued to develop this summer, has handled all the publicity with aplomb, and his potential is undeniable.

Defensive back

The candidates: Lamarcus Joyner (Sr.), Nick Waisome (Jr.), Ronald Darby (So.), Tyler Hunter (Jr.), P.J. Williams (So.) and others

The situation: This falls under the category of good problems to have, but FSU's wealth of talent in the secondary is causing at least some confusion on the depth chart. Joyner switches from safety to corner this year, leaving five talented and experienced corners vying for limited playing time alongside presumptive starters at safety Terrence Brooks and Karlos Williams. The versatility of the group -- particularly Joyner, Hunter and P.J. Williams -- offers some options for new DC Jeremy Pruitt, but finding enough playing time for all the talent on the roster may be a tall order.

The projection: There is likely to be a healthy dose of mixing and matching this year, with Karlos Williams getting reps at linebacker, Joyner, Hunter and P.J. Williams shifting between corner, nickel and safety, and other options like Keelin Smith and Colin Blake vying for reps, too. Still, Joyner is the unquestioned leader, so his playing time should be secure, and Darby, Waisome and Hunter will likely grab the lion's share of what remains.

Wide receiver

The candidates: Kelvin Benjamin (RSSo.), Christian Green (RSJr.), Willie Haulstead (RSSr.), Levonte Whitfield (Fr.), Jarred Haggins (Sr.), Isaiah Jones (Fr.), Jesus Wilson (Fr.)

The situation: Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw have a firm grip on starting jobs, but injuries, defections and suspensions have seriously limited FSU's depth in the passing game. Fisher needs at least one or two more receivers to step up into bigger roles, with none looming larger than the uber-talented Benjamin. Green and Haulstead -- afterthoughts a year ago -- are aiming for comeback seasons, while Whitfield's speed makes him an immediate threat, and Wilson has garnered early praise for his work in summer seven-on-seven drills.

The projection: Benjamin is perhaps the biggest wild card on Florida State's roster. His talent is immense, but he's had difficulty showing consistency during his first two years in Tallahassee. If he blossoms into a star in 2013, it would be a huge boon to the Seminoles' offense, but don't be surprised if at least one of the freshmen manages to make some noise, too.
Throughout the summer, Nole Nation counted 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. Even since the list debuted with Mario Pender at No. 40, we've seen some shake-ups, and certainly a lot more can change before the season heats up. But when it comes to identifying Florida State's most impactful player in 2013, there's a nearly unanimous opinion at the moment.

Last up: No. 1 Lamarcus Joyner

Position/Class: DB/Sr.

Lamarcus Joyner
G Fiume/Getty ImagesMoving to cornerback could give 5-foot-8 Lamarcus Joyner a better shot at an NFL career.
What he's done: It's hard to really quantify the impact Joyner has made on Florida State's defense through his first three years with the program. Certainly his numbers from 2012 -- 51 tackles, 1 INT, six passes defended -- don't do justice to the manner in which he dictated games. He's a two-time All-ACC safety, whose physical presence on the field is as intimidating as any defensive back in the conference, in spite of his small stature. Opposing offenses avoided throwing his way, and as such, he helped shrink the field his fellow DBs had to cover and Florida State finished last year as the nation's top pass defense. He's been a vocal and mature leader on a team that lost its biggest voice in Greg Reid just before fall camp. His confidence, leadership and experience helped smooth the transition when former coordinator Mark Stoops announced he was leaving just before the ACC title game. And, as if all that wasn't enough, Joyner has flourished on special teams, where he's been one of the top kick returners in school history. His 90-yard return against Clemson was the defining play in Florida State's biggest win of the year.

Where he's at: If Joyner was three inches taller, odds are he'd have been a first-round draft pick after the 2012 season, and he'd currently be lacing up his cleats in an NFL training camp. Instead, his 5-foot-8 frame pegged him as a mid-round selection from NFL scouts, and Joyner decided that, rather than roll the dice in the draft, he'd return to school and further burnish his credentials. That's meant a major shake-up in the secondary, with Joyner moving from safety to corner this spring. The move was his choice, but a decision that Jimbo Fisher and new DC Jeremy Pruitt happily approved. Still, questions remain. Joyner has been such an impact player at safety, and Florida State has such depth at corner, there are concerns that the move disrupts the entire secondary and was made more for Joyner's personal benefit than the team's overall success. Moreover, his performance in the spring game didn't exactly energize fans as he was on the wrong side of both of freshman QB Jameis Winston's long touchdown throws. Of course, Joyner also arrived at FSU as a corner, and its a position that he probably fits best at given his skill set. And perhaps as important, there's a reasonable chance he might've bolted for the NFL if the move wasn't made.

What's to come: It wouldn't be a complete surprise if Joyner's performance at corner didn't match the success he had at safety, but that's an awfully high bar to exceed. But what the critics of the move miss is how influential and versatile Joyner is on the field. Yes, he'll be getting more reps at corner this season, but he figures to spend a significant amount of time at safety and nickel, too. Given some of FSU's struggles in coverage against slot receivers and tight ends last season, his presence in those roles could mark a significant improvement. Additionally, with the massive shake-up in both personnel and coaching for FSU's defense this year, Joyner represents a calming influence. He's as up-tempo a player as there is in college football, and he's embraced his role as a leader, helping to mentor potential stars like Nick Waisome, Ronald Darby and Karlos Williams. Had Joyner departed for the NFL, the Seminoles certainly would've had the talent to still fill out its secondary, but it wouldn't have had the personality. What Joyner does for the Seminoles on defense, on special teams and in the locker room is irreplaceable, and his return for 2013 was perhaps the single biggest positive Florida State enjoyed this offseason.
Timmy JerniganBob Donnan/USA TODAY SportsDefensive tackle Timmy Jernigan hasn't only emerged as one of the best players of FSU's deep 2011 class; he's become one of the nation's best at his position.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher lost 11 players from last year's ACC champions to the NFL draft, but he's not too worried about a dip in talent on this season's roster.

Sure, Florida State waved goodbye to its share of veterans, but the 2013 lineup remains remarkably well established.

"From a talent standpoint, this is still a talented football team," Fisher said. "We have the least amount of starters back in the ACC, but we have more junior and senior starters than we had a year ago. We have a lot of guys who played significant snaps. They still played a lot of plays in big games."

In fact, of the 22 projected starters currently atop Florida State's depth chart, only two -- quarterback Jameis Winston and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. -- were part of Florida State's two most recent signing classes. Instead, the bulk of the talent -- 10 projected starters -- comes from Fisher's 2011 signing class, a group that figures to define this season's team.

While Fisher's fingerprints were all over the 2010 class, that was a group that largely came together while former coach Bobby Bowden still headed the program. It wasn't until 2011 that Fisher had the chance to build a class from start to finish, and the results were impressive.

The first thing to notice about the 2011 class was its size. Fisher brought in 29 players, including two junior college transfers, in hopes of filling a massive talent gap that had developed in Bowden's final years. A few never arrived on campus, a few more quickly departed, but the bulk of the class has already made its mark.

On offense, three-fifths of Florida State's line comes from the Class of 2011. Both of its primary tailbacks, two of its top three receivers and its top tight end were also in that group.

On defense, Timmy Jernigan, Karlos Williams and Nick Waisome are ensconced in the lineup already, and a bevy of rising stars including Tyler Hunter, Terrance Smith, Giorgio Newberry and Nile Lawrence-Stample are in line for regular reps.

In all, 20 of the 27 freshmen signed in 2011 figure to be part of Florida State's two-deep to open the 2013 season -- from the hidden gems of the class such as Hunter and Tre Jackson to the heralded stars such as Williams and Jernigan.

"It shows you your evaluations," Fisher said. "That's something we constantly analyze in recruiting because whether it's three-star, four-star, five-star recruit doesn't matter. At the end of the day, we go back to our classes -- how we progress, who do we miss on, how they're growing? That's something we evaluate on how we do our business. That class seems like it's a very successful class."

While the depth of the class has proven to be strong, there's plenty of top-end talent. Defensive end Cornelius Carradine, a juco transfer, likely would have been a first-round pick in April's NFL draft had he not suffered a late-season injury. Jackson, Rashad Greene, Josue Matias, Nick O'Leary, Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. all attracted preseason All-ACC votes this summer and have NFL futures. And then there's Jernigan, who is already being pegged as one of the top interior linemen in the nation.

"I feel like it's my D-line now," Jernigan said this spring. "I'm trying to be a leader."

That's exactly what Fisher wants to hear from his rising veterans, and the 2011 class has responded.

Not only has Jernigan taken charge of Florida State's revamped defensive line, but Greene, Wilder, Freeman and Hunter have all established themselves as the locker room's most important voices.

"I've been very pleased with that, and a couple of guys have blossomed into leaders that I never thought would," Fisher said. "Hopefully that's the player development, the enhancements no one sees, that a couple of those guys evolved into those roles that are team leaders."

The classes that followed 2011 offer their own highlights, too, and more are likely on the way. But as Florida State prepares to open fall camp, the rewards of Fisher's first full season of scouting, recruiting and development have gone a long way to establish precedent.

"It was a pretty high success rate in that group, it has been so far," Fisher said. "That reinforces why we keep doing things right."
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.

Next up: No. 10 Ronald Darby

Position/Class: CB/So.

[+] EnlargeRonald Darby
Geoff Burke/Getty ImagesCornerback Ronald Darby got considerable playing time as a freshman and will compete for a starting position next season.
What he's done: It's not that Darby didn't have a healthy dose of hype upon arrival at Florida State, but even his impressive recruiting pedigree couldn't have been enough to assuage concerns in the secondary when senior Greg Reid was dismissed from the program just before fall camp, and Darby was thrust into the mix as a potential replacement. As it turned out though, Florida State didn't miss a beat without Reid, and while it was Nick Waisome who landed the starting job, Darby earned a healthy chunk of playing time from the outset and was impressive enough to earn freshman All-America honors by the time the season was over. He finished the season with 22 tackles, eight pass-breakups and a forced fumble, while Florida State's passing D ranked No. 1 in the nation even without Reid.

Where he's at: When Xavier Rhodes chose to leave a year early for the NFL draft, the immediate assumption was that Darby would step seamlessly into the vacated starting corner spot and FSU's secondary would once again endure the loss of a star player without a hiccup. As it turns out, the plan may still work nicely, but it got a bit more complex when Lamarcus Joyner switched from safety to corner before spring practice. That left three potential starters for two jobs, and a spring injury meant Darby wouldn't get a chance to test his mettle until the fall. Still, even if Darby doesn't land an official starting job, he's likely to see an even bigger share of reps this year than he did a year ago as Joyner moves back and forth from corner to safety and nickel on passing downs.

What's to come: From Jameis Winston to Karlos Williams to Mario Edwards Jr., there are numerous Seminoles stepping into bigger roles in 2013 that are widely expected to blossom into stars, but perhaps none seems as sure a bet for longterm success as Darby. His ability to pick up FSU's defensive scheme so quickly last fall was surprising, but he continued to grow as the year went along, and now he'll get a taste of new DC Jeremy Pruitt's scheme which should free Darby to be even more of a playmaker. How the snaps are shared between a crowded defensive backfield remains to be seen, but if Darby's not at the top of the depth chart now, there's a strong belief he will be by year's end -- and he's got the potential to be an All-American before his time is up at Florida State.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It certainly could've been awkward, but Miami quarterback Stephen Morris said there haven't been any moments of bitterness with his new offensive coordinator, James Coley, who held the same position with rival Florida State for the past three years before joining the Hurricanes in January.

Sure, it's a bit strange to be working with a one-time rival, but Morris has been around long enough that he's not rattled by much.

[+] EnlargeStephen Morris
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireQuarterback Stephen Morris is looking forward to running the offense James Coley brought to Miami.
"At this point, I don't find anything odd," Morris said. "I know everything's a business, and you might be with a coach for one year, and that guy's gone."

Coley is likely to stick around a while.

Before he arrived at FSU, it was the Miami area that was home for Coley, and he's renowned as one of the most accomplished recruiters in South Florida. More importantly, after three years of implementing Jimbo Fisher's offense with the Seminoles, Coley finally is getting a chance to call his own plays, and Morris said the playbook already is earning raves.

"[The offense] is fun to play in," said Morris, who finished fourth in the ACC last season, averaging 279 passing yards per game. "The opportunity guys have to catch the ball and run with it, spread it out, go in the pro-set and run the ball -- it pleases the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers. We'll be in Wing one set, completely spread out the next. I'm excited for it. He's implemented his own stuff that he had before, and I think it's a great fit for us."

Fisher was notoriously reluctant to hand over play-calling duties, and that led Coley to depart when Miami made an offer this offseason. Randy Sanders replaced Coley as FSU's quarterbacks coach, but Fisher has not named a new offensive coordinator.

Meanwhile, Morris said Coley is mixing and matching the best of what he ran at Florida State with the best of Miami's 2012 playbook to build a diverse attack that nevertheless remains unique to Coley's point of view.

"He has an idea of what he wants, and he runs it by us," Morris said. "We tell him what we did last year similar to it, but at the end of the day, he has his own stuff he wants to run."

(Read full post)

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.

Nick Waisome
AP Photo/Phil SearsAfter a stellar 2012 season, what does Nick Waisome have in store for this fall?
Next up: No. 15 Nick Waisome

Position/Class: Cornerback/Junior

What he's done: When three-year starter Greg Reid was dismissed from the team just before the start of fall camp last year, many predicted doom for the secondary. Filling the bulk of the void was the sophomore Waisome, little tested as a freshman and not nearly as highly-regarded as Reid. As it turned out, he was more than up to the task. Waisome turned in a stellar 2012 campaign, starting all 14 games and making 21 tackles, recording eight passes defended and helped secure a pass defense that ranked as the best in the country. While Waisome had ample highlights in 2012, none loomed larger than his shut-down performance against Clemson's Sammy Watkins that culminated with a fourth-quarter interception.

Where he's at: All that sophomore success should've set up Waisome to blossom into a household name in 2013, but that's not been the case thus far. It was talented backup Ronald Darby who got the bulk of the postseason love, earning freshman All-America honors, and now that Lamarcus Joyner has switched from safety to corner, there appears a logjam at the position with Waisome potentially the odd man out. The reality, however, is that new DC Jeremy Pruitt has made no proclamations about who will start, and with FSU using plenty of nickel and dime sets, there's no reason Waisome shouldn't see as many -- and perhaps more -- snaps than he got last season.

What's to come: For whatever reason, Waisome seems to be the member of Florida State's secondary who flies beneath the radar, regardless of his talents. He plays hard, has developed quickly, has tested his mettle and talks a good game -- and yet, he's situated behind Joyner, Darby, Terrence Brooks, Karlos Williams and potentially even incoming freshman Jalen Ramsey in terms of attention from fans. Of course, that means little when it comes to what happens on the field, and there, Waisome has proven he's ready. FSU's secondary figures to be its biggest strength on defense this year, and Waisome is at the center of that, regardless of how the roles are divvied up.
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.

Next up: No. 26 Tyler Hunter

Position/Class: DB/Junior

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.

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