There is no question that DB Lamarcus Joyner was one of the biggest names in recruiting last season and easily one of Florida State’s most important targets. His recruitment out of Ft. Lauderdale’s prestigious St. Thomas Aquinas High School was the topic of much national attention and conversation. Joyner was named the 2010 USA Today National Defensive Player of the Year and by many accounts was the best corner in the nation. He is an electric athlete who’s physical ability can be characterized as rare and elite. Mind you, the word ‘elite’ should not be thrown around lightly, there are impressive athletes and there are elite athletes, Joyner is the latter.
Lamarcus Joyner is small in stature, standing at only 5’8 inches tall and at first glance it is easy for people to believe that his height may be his one glaring weakness. To a degree, that may be right, but Joyner has freakishly long arms and plays with an aggressive, nasty attitude and competitive fire that completely negates his lack of height in most cases. Aside from the tangible attributes, his speed, quickness, leaping ability and surprising strength for his size, Lamarcus Joyner’s personality and work ethic will be large keys to his success at FSU. By nature, he is extremely competitive and seems to play the game with a chip on his shoulder. Joyner is overtly confident and does not mind telling anyone that he feels he is a physical freak on the football field. In his defense, to those that think that may come off as cocky, Joyner’s play throughout high school and thus far being on FSU’s campus has backed up the hype and bravado.
Although Joyner himself will not be able to speak to the media until he makes significant contribution in a game, the reviews on Joyner from those close to the program have all been positive since he arrived in Tallahassee in June. He will be playing for a secondary unit that will be trying to redeem itself from a poor showing in 2009. It is believed that Joyner and other newcomer Mike Harris’ quick adaptation to the Mike Stoops defense are what led to the transfer of RS Jr. Dionte Allen. Both Joyner and Harris had apparently surpassed Allen on the depth chart, which for some was not a surprise but is still very impressive considering Lamarcus Joyner is only a true freshman, yet to play a down of live action. Initially, it is likely that Joyner will see action in nickle packages and possibly rotate behind Greg Reid, Xavier Rhodes or Ochuko Jenije at the field and boundary corner positions. What is becoming evident is that while FSU has assembled a group of very talented CB’s to compete for playing time, Lamarcus Joyner has thrown his name right in the thick of things.
As impressive as he has been on defense, Joyner’s most immediate impact is expected to come on special teams where is an incredible kick return man because of his explosive speed and impressive balance. His most obvious comparison is to FSU sophomore Greg Reid, both being highly regarded as corners out of high school but also possessing great skill with the ball in their hands. Defense and scheme are things that Joyner will grasp and adapt to over time, but the return game is something he can have a huge impact in from week one. Consequently, Joyner is the other player usually mentioned with Reid when the idea of FSU having two-way players is thrown around. Joyner seeing the field on the offensive side of the ball in his first season is unlikely, but it isn’t out of the question in his career. Aside from returning the ball, Joyner could also play a role in special teams coverage.
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