It was learned earlier this week that Florida State starting safety Tyler Hunter will miss the remainder of the season with a neck injury. Hunter is one of six Seminoles this season to have an interception and had eight total tackles. Hunter also tied Xavier Rhodes for the team lead with three picks a season ago.
With Karlos Williams’ transition to running back earlier in the year, the Seminoles are now particularly thin at safety. With Gerald Demps, Colin Blake and Lamarcus Brutus having just 11 combined tackles between them in their careers, Florida State will move Jalen Ramsey, a freshman cornerback, to Hunter’s position. Ramsey has spent some time at safety with Hunter on the shelf since the Bethune-Cookman game, but the gig is no longer temporary.
Like Hunter, Ramsey is one of six Seminoles this season with an interception and ranks fourth on the team with 22 total tackles. Ramsey has performed admirably in his time on the field and the freshman from Tennessee will have the bye week to become completely acclimated to his new permanent role. Nate Andrews, another freshman, will also likely see a substantial amount of time at safety.
Ramsey however, will need to learn quickly with a visit to third-ranked Clemson appearing next on the schedule. The Tigers have a Heisman hopeful quarterback in Tajh Boyd and one of the better receivers in the country at stretching the field in junior Sammy Watkins. Clemson has averaged 36 points-per-game in its last two matchups against the Seminoles including 37 last year in a 49-37 Florida State victory. Despite the win for FSU, the Seminoles yielded 290 passing yards and 426 total yards to Clemson a season ago.
The good news for head coach Jimbo Fisher, defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and the Florida State defense is that no team in the country is better at moving players from one position to another than the Seminoles. Defensive end Eddie Goldman, linebackers Terrance Smith and Dan Hicks, cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and even Hunter prior to the injury, have all played multiple positions during their Florida State careers. Despite that, the Seminoles rank third in the country in fewest points allowed and are coming off of a 63-0 victory over a ranked Maryland squad.
The added week to prepare could wind up being huge for the Seminole defense and particularly the secondary as it certainly looks to be tested a week from Saturday. The winner of the last four match-ups between the Seminoles and Tigers has gone on to represent the ACC Atlantic in the conference’s championship game and most believe that will hold true following next Saturday’s highly anticipated showdown. Though FSU has won three of the last five in the series, Florida State has not won at Memorial Stadium, a place more affectionately known as “Death Valley”, since 2001.
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