Corner competition begins right now

Now that Greg Reid has been dismissed from the Florida State football team, the Seminoles need to find a starter at the field corner position. Here are eight candidates and the odds they win the job.

Tyler Hunter

Odds: 3 to 1

Currently slated to be the nickel corner in five-defensive back formations, Hunter was one of the more hyped players of the spring after doing nothing more than contributing minimally on special teams this past season as a freshman. A sturdy 6-feet and 190 pounds, he brings the size of a safety with the speed of a corner. Another Valdosta native, just like Greg Reid, Hunter needs to make sure he keeps his eye on the prize, as it was the comments he made recently on Twitter about killing cops that ultimately led to coach Jimbo Fisher banning his players from social media.

Keelin Smith

Odds: 5 to 1

Another in a long line of hybrid defensive backs at 6-3 and 187 pounds -- two more join the program this year in Colin Blake and P.J. Williams -- Smith redshirted in 2011 and spent a good amount of time adding much-needed muscle to his wiry frame. With the passing game dominating the college game more and more these days, bigger corners that can match up with all the 6-4 and 6-5 receivers out there have become invaluable. Reid was a playmaker, but too often he proved to be ineffective in the red zone due to his 5-8, 188-pound stature.

Terrence Brooks

Odds: 6 to 1

One of the true stars of the spring, Brooks took over the starting role for the graduated Terrance Parks at safety and never gave anybody else so much as a chance to compete for the job. He provided one of the biggest highlights of the Garnet and Gold Game, intercepting an E.J. Manuel pass and returning it 49 yards for a touchdown in impressive fashion. While Brooks does have the ability to play corner at 5-11 and 196 pounds, the coaching staff was awfully excited about him at safety and might simply decide to keep him there.

Nick Waisome

Odds: 7 to 1

A genuine speedster once he gets a full head of steam, Waisome did not redshirt as a freshman like Smith -- he may as well have since he rarely saw the field. Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops sure seemed to lack confidence in the 5-10, 180-pounder, choosing to keep him on the bench even when injuries to the secondary were piling up in the Clemson and Notre Dame games. Waisome was listed as the second-team field corner behind Reid all spring long, although that doesn't mean he's first in line to be promoted to the top of the depth chart.

Xavier Rhodes

Odds: 10 to 1

It's not beyond the realm of possibility Florida State flip-flops Rhodes from boundary cornerback over to the field side since he's clearly the best player on the team at the position in the wake of Reid's departure, even if he's been the starter at boundary for the last two seasons. We know Rhodes is big at 6-2 and 209 pounds, plus he's faster than Reid, too. Field is more difficult to play than boundary because, naturally, there is more space to cover, and then the Seminoles could use one of the names above or below at the less-demanding boundary spot.

Ronald Darby

Odds: 15 to 1

Like Reid, Darby was a five-star recruit in high school and has the skills to come in and challenge for a starting job from the moment he arrives in Tallahassee. But unlike Reid, who came to FSU during the latter stages of the Bobby Bowden era, when the class-after-class talent really wasn't there, Darby joins a team with a whole bunch of four- and five-star studs in front of him. He's adequately sized at 5-11 and 187 pounds and certainly has the wheels considering that he'll also run track for the 'Noles, but it remains to be seen if he's ready for live bullets immediately.

Lamarcus Joyner

Odds: 25 to 1

Shifting from reserve corner to starting safety last year, Joyner was an instant game changer in the defensive backfield and arguably the team's best down-to-down player -- he made more plays in the first half of the Champs Sports Bowl than most safeties make in a month. Once or twice this past season, specifically the Clemson contest, Joyner was forced to slide back to corner with Reid unavailable because of an injury. However, Stoops and Co. are at their best with the 5-8, 195-punder patrolling center field, where he is a legitimate All-American candidate.

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Karlos Williams

Odds: 100 to 1

There is no question Williams is fast enough to play the corner position, even at 6-2 and 230 angry pounds, as recently he was recognized as the fastest player on the roster in terms of pure miles her hour attained at top speed -- somewhere in the 22 MPH range. He covers kicks like a man possessed and can be electrifying as a return man, too, so he has the potential to soften the blow of not having Reid anymore on special teams. While he could end up receiving more snaps on defense as well following Reid's exit, especially if Brooks heads over to corner, Williams is more likely to be a linebacker one day than a cornerback.


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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