It will be a new era for Florida State defensive backs as Mark Stoops joins the staff as both DBs coach and defensive coordinator. Stoops will bring a more zone based scheme that should yield more takeaways, while placing an emphasis on physical play. Stoops does not inherit much quality experience as this is a young unit.
A pair of 2009 signees are expected to start at cornerback. Sophomore Greg Reid(5-8, 175) and redshirt freshmen Xavier Rhodes(6-1, 209) would make an intriguing tandem. Reid is proven in the sense that he was fantastic as a freshmen, the loss of Patrick Robinson however means he has to continue to step up his game. What he lacks in height he makes up for by having "it"; that elusive quality that high end players possess. He brings game changing skills to the return game as well.
Rhodes will have to hold off a pair of veterans, but he received great reviews in the Spring and he is only expected to get better. His size is a real asset, particularly when paired with Reid. There is no question there will be some growing pains, but Rhodes upside will make those mistakes easier to handle.
A pair of veterans should enter August camp with a sense of urgency. Senior Ochuko Jenije(5-11, 195) started 13 games last year and had four interceptions. Jenije does not lack talent, he has been maddeningly inconsistent at times. He had a solid Spring and could easily hold Rhodes off this season with a terrific camp. While it is odd to project a past starter to a backup role, he will need to be noticeably better than Rhodes because this is clearly a team building for the future.
Junior Dionte Allen(5-11, 183) entered FSU as a big name recruit, but has yet to establish himself due to injury. It will be a big year for Allen, he has flashed his considerable talent at times and he should be considered a bit of a wildcard in this mix. JUCO signee Michael Harris(6-0, 185) is counted on some to contribute early and he certainly has the tools to do it. The issue will be how fast he can pick up the scheme.
Junior Avis Commack(6-3, 215) will try to return from a broken leg; he is also making the transition from wide receiver to cornerback.
Freshmen Lamarcus Joyner(5-8, 175) and Terrence Brooks((5-10, 180) bring two more bodies to the mix. Joyner brings big time athleticism and speed, while similar in size to Reid, his tools are different. Joyner's not only has blinding speed, he is very physical, a quality that should endear him to Coach Stoops.
The two Safety spots figure to be watched closely in camp. Sophomore Nick Moody(6-2, 230) brings a physical presence to the secondary. Moody made major strides over the second part of last season and should start at rover. With some of the size being developed in the front seven, he is yet another piece to a more physical defense.
Junior Terrance Parks(6-2, 212) should be a nice complement to Moody. The former corner has more range and ball skills, qualities that are in high demand. Parks is unproven however and thus this remains a bit of question mark moving forward.
Redshirt freshmen Gerald Demps(5-10, 206) will try to join former high school team mate Reid in the starting line-up. He is viewed as a steady performer who has a great feel for the position. Sophomore JaJuan Harley(6-2, 210) might be the most physically gifted of the safeties, but he needs that talent to translate to production. He might be a year away from really making an impact.
Redshirt freshmen Justin Bright(6-0, 185) should make an impact on special teams and provide valuable depth.
Freshmen Chad Abram(6-0, 190) could surprise in the Fall. While we would not think he would factor into the early part of the year, he could by the end. Jarred Haggins(6-0, 185) could play WR or S and figures to get a look at both places. The former QB almost certainly will need time to get acclimated.