This is the 20th in a series of articles counting down the most important players for Florida State in 2012. There are 39 days until FSU football, and that's how many are left on the list. That means no off days. Oh, and these are not in any specific order.
Tyler Hunter | 6'0, 190 | Sophomore| Cornerback
Background (Courtesy school bio)
Fourth member of the Lowndes County High School football team to commit to Florida State in the last two years, joining Greg Reid, Gerald Demps and Telvin Smith...ranked No. 116 in the ESPNU 150 and the No. 10 safety...rated the No. 33 safety by Rivals.com and the No. 43 safety by Scout.com...earned a three-star rating from 247Sports...No. 39 on the SuperPrep Georgia 83...No. 34 on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Top 50 Recruits...his father, Brice Hunter, was a receiver and a University of Georgia legend before his untimely death in 2004...the elder Hunter was the Bulldogs' top receiver in the early 1990s and still ranks among the school's career leaders in several offensive categories...he played for highly-respected Lowndes County coach Randy McPherson...Hunter has run a 4.50 40 and boasts a 4.33 shuttle time...he chose the Seminoles over offers from Florida, Louisville, Mississippi State and Tennessee...born March 24, 1993.
At one time, people thought that Tyler Hunter had a shot to be the best prospect to ever come out of Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes County High School. Then he hurt his neck, and people got scared.
The worries long are over, because Hunter has bounced back in a major way. He has excellent physical talent and is slated to be a full-timer in the secondary this season for the 'Noles.
I use the term 'full-timer' as opposed to starter, because the nickelback technically does not start. However, with the amount of nickel formation (3 corners, 2 safeties) deployed by defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Hunter will see starter's reps.
The new jack of all trades is Tyler Hunter. A sophomore from Valdosta, Hunter has a ton of talent. He'll take Mike Harris' role of nickelback, but also take over Terrence Brooks' role from 2011 of backup safety (backing up Lamarcus Joyner). I fully expect the 6'0" 195-pound Hunter to play 400+ snaps this season. His ability in the nickel position is a big boost to FSU because of his work against the run from the slot.
"Experience. Mike's smaller. Tyler's a little stronger, more physical, probably faster, believe it or not, than Mike. Mike had tremendous, tremendous instincts. Mike inside, when he was that nickel, and he played with his eyes to the ball, he could, he was one of those guys that knew what you were doing before you did it. He read body language, had great instincts. Mike was a heckuva football player in there. Tyler may be more gifted physically, and is a good football player, but Mike really had some tremendous instincts to play. Things you didn't have to, or, you'd teach him once and he'd fit to it," Fisher said.
Which is to say that TYLER HUNTER CAN BE A STAR BUT HE IS IN HIS FIRST YEAR STARTING AND MIKE HARRIS WAS MUCH BETTER THAN MOST REALIZE.
I'm quite excited to see what the staff will do with Hunter. I think he could be very good off the edge in blitz situations, and I think he'll be quite solid in run support. That's important, because it means that FSU can still be sound against the run while playing five defensive backs.
But I don't think, at least in 2012, that he'll make quite as many "how did he pick that off" type plays as Harris did, because he doesn't have the experience in the system that Harris had.
Tyler Hunter could start at safety or corner for the majority of college football teams in the country. That seems like something I'd have said about FSU's nickelback if Tomahawk Nation existed in 1994 or thereabouts.