Florida State has holes in their secondary and on their kick and punt return units with the dismissal of Greg Reid.
With Florida State less than a week away from officially beginning preparations for the 2012 season, head coach Jimbo Fisher sent a shockingly stern message to his team by dismissing star corner and return man Greg Reid for a violation of team rules, per FSU’s official web site Seminoles.com.
The issues for Fisher now begin with replacing a starting corner and potentially the best punt returner in the nation.
As my colleague Michael Felder pointed out, dealing with the latter element of Reid’s absence may be the biggest challenge for the Seminoles.
Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops has built a solid reputation for his work with defensive backs throughout his career, and plenty of talent—albeit young and lacking notable experience—abounds for the ‘Noles to work with.
Finding a game-changing return man of Reid’s caliber is highly unlikely, but there are several explosive athletes on the roster that will get a chance to show their abilities on special teams.
When FSU officially opens camp on Aug. 6, which players will be counted on to step up to fill the new vacancies?
Here are five players—three at corner and a pair of return men—that could be in line to replace Reid.
Nick Waisome is currently listed as the backup to Reid at field corner.
The 5’10”, 180-pound sophomore appeared in 10 games last season and recorded just one tackle as a contributor mainly on special teams.
However, the Groveland, Fla. native received plenty of work in the spring and had a solid spring game, posting a pair of pass breakups and a sack.
The former 4-star recruit was rated as the nation’s second-best corner prospect in the class of 2011, and since he was an early enrollee, he has had the benefit of being in defensive coordinator Mark Stoops’ system since last January.
Reid's eventual replacement at corner could be his former prep teammate Tyler Hunter.
Tyler Hunter—a former high school teammate of Reid—is having his own off-field controversy to deal with in relation to a controversial message he sent out on Twitter, per the Orlando Sentinel.
On the field, the 6’0”, 190-pound sophomore is primed for a breakout season after impressing Fisher in the spring with his athleticism and his ability to play at several spots in the secondary.
His likely landing spot before Reid’s dismissal was the nickel corner spot vacated by the departure of Mike Harris.
With Reid gone, Hunter will likely get a chance to occupy the starting spot opposite Xavier Rhodes in FSU’s base defense.
Brooks came on strong at the end of last season, and has the versatility to start at corner or free safety.
Terrence Brooks is a versatile athlete that started his college career as a corner, but is in line to be the starter at free safety.
Of the options available to Fisher, Brooks represents the most experienced player that could take over Reid’s spot at corner.
A big factor for whether or not Fisher would consider moving Brooks back to corner could be the development of former 5-star recruit Karlos Williams—who would start in Brooks' place at safety should he move.
Another concern that could arise in moving Brooks would be the depth at both safety positions, which is not as solid as it is at corner.
Incoming freshmen Ronald Darby and Colin Blake are also options if they are able to make their adjustment to the college level quickly enough.
Greene's big play ability could be used in the return game this season.
Rashad Greene burst onto the scene last year as one of the nation’s top freshmen wide receivers, and has demonstrated the ability to be an explosive talent capable of changing a game in one play.
He is also listed as the backup to Reid on the punt-return team, and at the very least, he would give the ‘Noles a set of sure hands capable of fielding punts.
The rising sophomore has also proven to have a knack for his poise in pressure situations, which would serve him well at a position that requires an elevated level of concentration.
Marvin Bracy is an incoming freshman with world-class sprinter speed, and on a roster full of gifted athletes, the 5’9”, 165-pound Orlando native will stand out the instant he steps on the practice fields.
However, as he proved in the Under-Armour All-American game, Bracy is not a track star masquerading as a football player.
Take a look at the clip linked above as an example of his nifty footwork as a returner, and it becomes clear that his quick feet could eventually be the long-term solution to hole left by Reid’s departure.