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Spring Position Previews: Special Teams

Can FSU turn around one of its worst units?

NCAA Football: Florida State at Wake Forest Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of Florida State football beginning spring football practice, Tomahawk Nation is diving in and breaking down the roster position group by position group. Today, we look at special teams.

Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell has made it no secret in the past that special teams is a vital piece of any successful program. In 2020, after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels, Norvell referred to special teams as the “backbone” of a program.

That’s why it was shocking to see the Seminoles struggle constantly from multiple special teams units.

The Seminoles ended the season ranked 127th by FEI’s special team rankings. Specifically, FSU struggled in their punt returning game, ranking 126th overall.

FSU will return both of their starting kickers but look to new faces in the return game.

Position Breakdown:

Kick-off/Field Goals names to know:

Ryan Fitzgerald (RS SO): Inconsistency from Fitzgerald led to a shaky 10/13 on field goals and 37/41 on extra points.

Aidan Shahriari (RS SO) will serve as the backup.

Of note, Parker Grothaus left through the transfer portal this offseason.

Punter names to know:

Alex Mastromanno (RS SO): The ambidextrous kicker from Australia will once again line up FSU’s starting punter. Mastromanno averaged 42.7 yards on punts last season. Per FSU’s roster site, Mastromanno enters the 2022 season with 93 consecutive punts without a touchback.

Zane Smith (RS FR) and will be the backup.

Long Snapper names to know:

James Rosenberry, Jr. (RS SO) and Garrett Murray (RS SO) will serve as FSU’s starting and reserve long snappers.

Kickoff Returners names to know:

Winston Wright (RS JR): The West Virginia Mountaineers transfer will be one of the first players to get a shot at the struggling position for the Seminoles. Wright encompassed 618 yards and 1 touchdown on 23 kickoff returns last season. His average of 26.9 yards per return was ranked 19th nationally.

Other names to know: Travis Jay (RS SO), Ja’Khi Douglas (RS SO), Corey Wren (RS SO), Rodney Hill (FR).

Punt Returners names to know:

Mycah Pittman (RS JR): Another struggling spot, another transfer brought in to shore up the unit. Pittman, an Oregon Ducks transfer, recorded 151 return yards in 15 attempts.

Other names to know: Ontaria Wilson (RS SR), Keyshawn Helton (RS SR).