Nick Waisome is the 59th player profiled in this series looking at the players likely to impact Florida State's season. There are 3 days until FSU football. The list is not in any specific order.
5'10, 170 | Sophomore | Cornerback
Enrolled early in January 2011...one of the top cover-corners in the country...four-star recruit who was rated the No. 8 cornerback by both Rivals.com and Scout.com...ESPN ranked him the No. 67 overall prospect and No. 2 cornerback nationally...the No. 2 cornerback and the No. 44 overall player in the nation by 247Sports... selected to the Under Armour All-American team...had 47 tackles, six interceptions and scored five touchdowns as a senior...First team All-Central Florida defensive back by Orlando Sentinel and defensive player of the year in Lake/Sumter County by Orlando Sentinel as a senior...No. 18 on Bill Buchalter's 2011 Florida Top 100 for the Orlando Sentinel...No. 5 on Orlando Sentinel's 2011 Central Florida Super60...No. 49 on Mobile Press-Register Super Southeast 120...member of the Times-Union's Florida Super 75 where he was rated as the No. 3 cornerback...No. 57 on the SuperPrep Florida 110...finished his junior season with 67 tackles, 18 pass break-ups and four interceptions and also had 17 receptions for 495 yards and six touchdowns on offense...First team All-State defensive back for 6A classification as a junior...born March 20, 1992.
Part of the reason I elected not to debut this list in any specific order is to allow myself a chance to save players about whom I had questions for last. Having played basically only on special teams as a freshman, Waisome certainly qualifies as one of those players.
And to be sure, the Nick Waisome profile piece became much more important once it was clear that Greg Reid had violated a team rule for the eleventy-billionth and final time, forcing the administration's hand.
After that, the focus on Waisome picked up a lot. And the questions began to set in.
Waisome was a highly rated kid coming out in the 2011 class. But nobody thought he would turn into a superstar. He did, however, project as someone who could be a very solid, consistent and dependable player -- and he still does.
That, despite struggling a bit with some confidence and self doubt during his first year. Making the adjustment to Florida State's level of competition ain't easy. In practice, corners compete against one of the best receiving corps in the country, and by the side of many other star athletes in the defensive backfield.
Waisome seems to have improved some over camp. He's still not incredibly strong or fast, but if we know anything about Mark Stoops' defense, and particularly his secondary, it's that assignments matter.
And it's assignments and experience in the system that has Waisome starting in game one for the Seminoles in Reid's old spot at field corner.
But starting Game 1 is no guarantee of a starting role in the longer term. Not at all.
Freshman five-star corner Ronald Darby came in and was excellent throughout summer in the seven-on-seven work, or so we were told. But we've heard this before with other guys and it has not panned out.
Fortunately for the Seminoles, but unfortunately for Waisome, Darby hasn't slowed down. He has much better physical tools than Waisome does, and Jimbo Fisher cracks a huge smile every time he discussed Darby.
The question isn't if, but rather when Darby replaces Waisome. Game 2? Game 6? The bowl game? 2013? It's hard to say. But it's almost certainly coming.
Regardless of whether Waisome holds on to the job or is simply a solid depth guy going forward, we do know that the field cornerback will have plenty of protection. both in the form of a great pass rush from an elite defensive line, and in the form of safety play that is truly unique in the game of college football.
Florida State's safety tandem almost certainly has the most range in the country. Both Brooks and Joyner, especially Joyner, have tremendous range and the skill to play cornerback at a high level in the BCS. But Florida State has the luxury of using them at safety. I'd expect a lot of coverage that helps the inexperienced corner, like cloud.
Waisome's tackling is also a bit of an unknown, though at 5'9-10 and 170-175, it probably isn't great.
Great defenses don't need every player to be great. They do, however, need the role players to not become major liabilities. Waisome can probably do that in 2012.