July 3, 2012

Breakout Players countdown: No. 5 Tyler Hunter

Over the next few weeks Warchant.com will count down the top five breakout players for 2012. In order to qualify the player had to start six or fewer games in 2011.


Tyler Hunter (6-0/190) Valdosta, Ga. (Lowndes County HS)
Defensive back
Class this fall:
True sophomore

Injury status: None.

2011 Stats: Played in 11 games, made 3 tackles.

High School Accolades: Was a three-star prospect by Rivals.com. Rated the 33rd best safety in the country and the 35th best prospect in the state of Georgia.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution ranked Hunter No. 34 on its top 50 Georgia Recruits list for the class of 2011.

Despite quitting baseball during his senior season, Hunter was drafted in the 48th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft by the Baltimore Orioles.

Played for Georgia powerhouse Lowndes County High school in Valdosta.

Notable: Hunter would likely have been a higher rated prospect out of high school were it not for a 2009 back injury that limited his sophomore season.

This spring Hunter switched his jersey number from No. 30 to No. 1.

His father Brice Hunter was a standout receiver at the University of Georgia and played two season in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

2011 Review:
As a true freshman Hunter contributed primarily on special teams, seeing action in 11 games. The 6-foot, 190-pound Georgia native was senior Mike Harris' backup in nickel back packages and also worked as a cornerback during the season, but he rarely saw the field in defensive packages.

Spring Review: Hunter was one of the spring's rising stars for FSU, earning his way into the starting role at nickel back. Jimbo Fisher raved about Hunter on a number of occasions following practice, saying they would find a way to work Hunter into the rotation in the fall. In addition to playing nickel, Hunter also lined up at strong safety behind Lamarcus Joyner. Hunter made the switch back from cornerback to safety, his position in high school, with ease. Hunter actually said that playing nickel was much more a challenge than safety due to the fact that he had to cover so many speedy receivers in the slot. During the spring game Hunter recorded two tackles.

2012 Depth Chart Outlook: With starting corners Greg Reid and Xavier Rhodes returning for their senior season and Lamarcus Joyner still roaming around at strong safety, it appears that barring injury a starting position for Hunter is unlikely in 2012. With Terrence Brooks taking over the staring free safety job, Hunter likely will have the opportunity to make a big impact as the starting nickel back.

Hunter could be challenged for the nickel back position by fellow sophomore Nick Waisome or incoming freshmen Ronald Darby and Colin Blake, but considering he has full season and a spring under his belt it looks like Hunter will have the opportunity to come away with a number of big plays at nickel. As a true freshman Reid made a name for himself with big plays out of the nickel position, and Harris did the same in 2011. Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops has run the nickel package a heavy amount over the past few season so Hunter should have ample opportunities to contribute during his sophomore season.

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