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2018 FSU Spring Preview: Special teams need a breakout year

Perhaps this is the year we see athletic options at punt returner?

Miami v Florida State Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images

Florida State’s special teams have been a work in progress over the past two seasons with underclassmen Ricky Aguayo and Logan Tyler manning the kicker and punter positions, respectively.

Aguayo had a good sophomore season, converting 18 of 21 field goal attempts and hitting a career long 51-yard field goal against Wake Forest. He does not have the biggest leg in the world, but has gained consistency over his career.

With Florida State’s offense no longer running at a turtle’s pace, Aguayo should see more opportunities at field goals this year.

Last year, Tyler increased his average yards per punt from 40.3 to 43.2. He hit a career-long 61-yard punt against Duke and ranked second in the ACC with 19 punts of 50 yards or more.

Despite playing quarterback in high school, the prior coaching staff did not use Tyler’s athleticism on fake punts at all. Perhaps we see some of those this season?

With four-year starter Stephen Gabbard graduating, redshirt freshman Grant Glennon will take over the long snapping duties this season.

Florida State’s old coaching staff was notorious for using questionable options at the kick and punt returner positions.

Keith Gavin had a miraculous 66-yard kickoff return against Michigan two seasons ago, but failed to have sustained success returning kicks last year. Amir Rasul and George Campbell might also see time at kick returner this season, both of whom have elite track speed.

At punt returner, D.J. Matthews took over midway through the season after Tarvarus McFadden was benched for poor performance. It’s a safe bet that he will get a first crack at the position, but players like Levonta Taylor and Jaiden Woodbey will also get a shot at it.

With a new coaching staff in place, we might finally see some dynamic options at the returner positions. Assuming Aguayo and Tyler take another step forward as juniors, Florida State could be in for a big year on special teams. This team doesn’t need another Alabama disaster.