Is Florida State Safety Karlos Williams Switching To Offense?

Is Florida State sophomore safety Karlos Williams moving to offense?

"As far as Parks’ replacement, the Seminoles look like they may be OK in that area. Safeties Nick Moody and Karlos Williams were listed at the position all season behind Parks. Battling through nagging injuries all year, Moody had relatively few chances to really alternate plays with Parks as he had been expected to do when the season began. Williams probably won’t be playing the position in the fall, after coach Jimbo Fisher has hinted about moving him to offense at the start of spring practice. The speedy freshman didn’t play a snap at safety this season, but was the Seminoles’ prolific, agile kick returner on special teams. As a result of the way Williams returned kicks, Fisher wants to see what he looks like running in space on offense." (Emphasis mine) -- Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel

Harvey is the first of the beat writers to officially put on paper what's been known for a while (and hinted at by me numerous times): there's a decent chance Karlos Williams will move to offense this spring. Don't think the timing here with the mention coming after Mario Pender has enrolled is coincidental, either. Karlos was not going to beat out Terrence Brooks (or Nick Moody for that matter, assuming Moody doesn't move to linebacker for depth purposes) at safety, as I said. In fact, I had always maintained that I liked him better on offense. I thought he could be a good safety because of his physical skills, but I never thought his reactions/instincts were that of a defensive star. And he never played much pass coverage in high school because his team was so poor, and all opponents needed to do was run on them. Of course, I could still be proven totally wrong on this. He could turn out to be a fantastic safety, but I doubt it.

Where will Williams play if he does move to offense? Harvey says running back. Harvey said "running in space", not running back. Apologies to Coley for my misread. I like him better at receiver. In any case, it doesn't matter all that much.

I think FSU sees it like this: he's not on pace to help the team at safety in 2012. He's the best athlete on the team. He has shown a special ability with the ball in his hands on kick returns the likes of which we've not seen since Vanover. He didn't wow anyone in practice with his play at safety, and didn't play any meaningful snaps there all season. If he gets an average of three offensive touches per game, that works out to ~40 opportunities on the year for a special athlete to change the game. And that's not including his kickoff returns.

If this works out, it could provide depth at the running back position. There's no guarantee that Chris Thompson ever takes another snap for Florida State after he literally broke his back against Wake Forest. And if the move indeed happens and Williams flourishes, well then you might see a different physical freak move from running back to linebacker.

Let's take a look at what Florida State's skill position players might look like if Williams does indeed move:

Senior Junior Sophomore Freshman
RB C. Thompson ! FB C. Abram RB D. Freeman M. Pender
FB L. Pryor WR J. Gehres* @ RB J. Wilder, Jr. $ E. Beverly*
FB D. Smiley* @ WR J. Haggins RB/WR K. Williams K. Benjamin*
WR R. Smith WR K. Shaw WR C. Green* M. Bracy
WR G. Dent WR R. Greene C. Kourtizidis
WR W. Haulstead* TE W. Tye* R. Louis %
*= Redshirt TE N. O'Leary

! = Not sure if Thompson ever takes another snap for FSU, if he redshirts to get stronger after breaking his back, or if he will be totally fine.
@ = Believe he has his degree and may be moving on.
# = Haulstead's status is still a bit uncertain as he has had two major concussions and has not faced contact in over a year.
$ = If Williams moves to offense and plays very well immediately, and Wilder doesn't improve, he could move to linebacker.
% = Not an FSU commitment, but many in the know believe the Auburn commitment will flip to Florida State on signing day. He may, however, end up on the defensive side of the ball.

That would be 23, though Louis is far from a lock and there is no guarantee that Smiley or Gehres are done. If Louis comes (and plays offense and not defensive back) and Smiley and Gehres are indeed done, that would be 21, which is a good number.

Another note: Look at how young most of FSU's skill talent is!

Inside, look at this awesome kick return by Williams. He has some serious physical ability.

The return is at the 12:20 mark.

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