With the news that Greg Reid has been dismissed by Florida State following multiple arrests and team violations, and what is rumored to be multiple failed drug tests, Florida State fans are wondering who will replace Greg Reid.
To answer that, let's first understand Reid's role on the team. He was the starting field corner, and was pretty good at that, though highly overrated by folks who just watched highlights. The field corner position plays the wide side of the field, as opposed to the boundary corner, which mans the short side. Reid was also arguably the best punt returner in the country, and the loss likely stings much more at that position.
Sophomore receiver Rashad Greene is listed as the top punt returner after Reid. He has tremendous speed and quickness, and good moves as well.
Other names that might work in include freshmen Ronald Darby and Mario Pender.
Punt returner is a very important role for FSU, because the 'Noles' defense projects to again be one of the best in the nation.
It's important to remember that returning punts is very different than returning kicks. This isn't a simple thing in which FSU will move its kick returners to the punt return team.
Florida State's tremendously talented, deep and versatile secondary gives defensive coordinator and DB coach Mark Stoops tons of options here. It also makes it difficult for me to provide an exact answer. Here are the possibilities.
According to Florida State's media guide given to us at last week's ACC Football Kickoff, Reid's backup is Nick Waisome. Waisome is a sophomore out of Groveland (Fla.). Like Reid (5'8), Waisome is small at a shade under 5'10 and 180 pounds. He does not have excellent speed, but isn't slow, either. He was a four-star recruit in the class of 2011.
Waisome is not an automatic choice to start at the position, however. Waisome did not play in the bowl game, however, after numerous starers were injured. That is a cause for concern for some, and he did not star in the spring.
It's very possible that red-shirt sophomore nickelback Tyler Hunter moves over. Hunter is a very good athlete and has excellent size at 6'0 and 190 pounds. He was also Reid's teammate at Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes Co. High. Fisher raved about Hunter recently.
It's also possible that Florida State moves safety Terrence Brooks, it's free safety who was originally recruited as a corner. If that happens, star reserve safety and former five-star recruit Karlos Williams would take Brooks' spot at free safety.
I do not anticipate Florida State moving safety Lamarcus Joyner, another former corner. FSU did this during its bowl game against Notre Dame, but that circumstance involved two or three starters in the secondary being down at one time.
There's also a remote chance that Ronald Darby, a five-star freshman with excellent speed who has impressed in summer work, could contend for the job.
Some have mentioned that red-shirt freshman Keelin Smith, the backup at boundary corner, could move over. It's possible, but I'm not sure the 6'3 Smith has the skillset to play the field side.
Jimbo Fisher addressed Florida State's loaded secondary recently when I asked him about all five of his starters originally coming to Florida State as cornerbacks. This is an extremely unique circumstance, and it's pretty rare that a team's top two safeties and top three corners all have the capability to start at corner.
As an aside, I do think Florida State has more depth at boundary corner than it does at field corner.