The Skinny: Shifting Joyner from backup cornerback to starting safety this past year was one of the major reasons why the Florida State defense became such a force once again, as the 5-8, 193-pounder has all kinds of speed in coverage but still packs a punch supporting the run. Terrance Parks is no longer a Seminole, as he is out of eligibility and recently signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent, so most FSU fans were under the impression that they were finally going to see more of Williams on defense. However, Brooks -- he remains motivated by the way he was slighted as a three-star recruit coming out of high school -- earned the assignment alongside Joyner at the outset of spring practice and never let go, and seemingly he's miles ahead of Williams at this point.
Stock Up: Few 'Noles have done more recently to up their profile within the program than Brooks, who excelled on special teams in 2011, saw some playing time as the dime back in six-DB looks and came up with the game-clinching interception in the bowl win over Notre Dame. He brings the kind of playmaking ability to the secondary that Joyner does, as evidenced by the INT of starting quarterback E.J. Manuel he returned 49 yards for a touchdown in the Garnet and Gold Game.
Stock Flat: It's admittedly beyond unfair to place Joyner in the "flat" category since he is an All-American candidate for 2012, but there are only so many safeties on the roster these days and, honestly, how much better can he get? There seemed to be two of him on the field in the first half against the Irish in the Champs Sports Bowl, although he was relatively quiet in the spring game with three tackles for the Garnet squad.
Stock Down: Believed by so many to be the most physically gifted defensive player to set sail for Tallahassee since former first-round pick Antonio Cromartie, Williams did not challenge Parks for the starting job last season and apparently failed to put up much of a fight vs. Brooks in the spring. It's no secret that coach Jimbo Fisher wanted to move the Davenport native over to offense, where his breathtaking ball skills would be put to better use, but even though Williams shot down the idea because he wants to stay on D, right now he's little more than a special teamer.
Fall Wish List: Joyner impresses scouts enough to declare a year early for the NFL Draft, Brooks makes the coaching staff look smart for going with him and Hunter finds a role for himself at nickel back.
John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
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