It's another soggy day in Tallahassee, fortunately for Florida State the decision to move practice to 5:30 AM for the third day in a row helped avoid missing any more reps.
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on if you were the one waking up) practice was closed to the media today. That doesn't mean there won't be plenty of coverage coming up later though, starting with a little bit more on freshman CB Ronald Darby.
The FSU notebook in this morning's Herald mentions Lamarcus Joyner had singled out Darby as one of the early stand-outs in camp:
“I love the play of Ronald Darby,” Joyner said. “Great kid, great character, and he wants to play football. He’s out there willing to learn and get coached up, and he’s really standing out.”
Darby has been drawing rave reviews from a lot of Seminole upper-classmen and coaches lately. In fact, the state of Florida is likely to boast two of the top freshman corners in the country this season. Down in Coral Gables, Tracy Howard (who picked the U over Florida State on signing day) has emerged atop his position group and is wearing the coveted 'black jersey.'
Up in the state's capitol, where there are no practice baubles, all you have to do is listen to hear players taking notice of the Seminoles' own talented freshman corner. On day one, EJ Manuel, who isn't even on the same side of the ball mentioned Darby by name when asked who had caught his eye over the summer.
"The fact he has the raw instincts and the speed to match [them]. You know I think that's his biggest thing and that's what you want as a corner," said Manuel. "That's what Greg [Reid] did that was great, he was a very instinctive player. So hopefully Darby can come and contribute early. I think he can."
Jimbo Fisher has also been quick to point out Darby's natural ability after each practice as well.
But nobody is getting the chance to see Darby more than the other defensive backs. Manuel and Fisher are on the offensive end of the ball and see Darby during skeletons and 11-on-11's, but Mark Stoops and Lamarcus Joyner see him constantly.
I'm looking forward to getting Stoops' assessment of Darby at media day on Sunday. You can find coaches who have produced more pros on the Florida State staff, but it would be hard to find someone who has produced better pros. Just in his time at the University of Miami, Stoops worked with DB's like Ed Reed, Antrel Rolle, Sean Taylor and Phillip Buchanon. A decade later, all four would still be in the pros if not for the tragic murder of Taylor.
Point being, Stoops knows talent at defensive back having been around some of the best and I'm wondering how Darby stacks up early on in his career.
Meanwhile, safety Lamarcus Joyner thinks he stacks up pretty well. Joyner, who was a highly-recruited five star corner out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale has seen more than a few similarities between himself and the talented newcomer from Maryland.
“[He’s] a little more quiet,” joked Joyner about the similarities. “[But] he can play some football and to be honest he may be a step ahead of [where I was] the way his technique is.”