Florida State saw a brand new special teams unit in 2016, brining in freshmen kicker Ricky Aguayo and punter Logan Tyler.
Aguayo had a very successful start to the season, making 11 of his first 12 kicks. It all went downhill following that, going 0-3 the very next game against North Carolina which would begin a 8-14 stretch to end the season. After missing two field goals against Florida, he was pulled for Tyler, who went on to kick three extra points in that UF game to Agauyo’s one. Aguayo needs to fix his inconsistencies heading into the 2017 season, which starts with spring practice.
Punter Logan Tyler, heading into his sophomore season, will be looking to improve upon his 40.3 yard punt average, which was generous due to the many fortunate bounces he got. There is no issue with the power of Tyler’s leg, showing it off with that 53-yard field goal against UF and when he made a 75-yard field goal in practice while still in high school. There should be no cause for concern after just one season, as previous punter Cason Beatty improved massively among his four seasons at FSU. In his freshman season, Beatty had a 38.3 yard average, improving that to 45.2 by his senior year.
Returning punts could be one of two players. One of those possibilities is junior WR Nyqwan Murray. Murray took over for Bobo Wilson in 2016 after Wilson had a season-ending foot injury. He had a total of 13 returns for a total of eight yards. If not Murray, sophomore Levonta Taylor, who had been practicing punt returns throughout the season, could overtake the junior for the return spot. Although Taylor has never returned a punt in-game, he should be getting a long look in spring camp which begins on Monday.
With Kermit Whitfield gone, the Seminoles kick return unit will have a new look. There are a few players who could take over the role heading forward. Senior Ryan Green was on the kick return until in 2016, returning four total kicks for 61 yards. Sophomore Keith Gavin could also play somewhat of a role, whether its returning kicks as he did in the Orange Bowl for 66 yards or using his large 6’3 225 lb. frame as a blocker.
Sophomore Tarvarus McFadden has past experience returning kicks, although not at Florida State. In the 2015 Army All-American game, McFadden brought a kickoff 87-yards back for a touchdown, showing off his versatility and speed. Another candidate, sophomore Amir Rasul could see time at kick returner with his speed.
The Florida State special teams unit will be something to look out for during spring practice.