One of my favorite parts about having this space is that I can be a little bit less formal at times and give you my actual opinion as opposed to a more straight-laced news-only approach.
To be frank, sometimes the latter is preferable. Not all players are engaging and occasionally you find yourself sitting across from a guy and it's like pulling teeth to get him just to talk about how practice is going. That's why when you meet a kid that's actually got some personality – and will show it to you – it's so refreshing.
Nick Waisome is one of those players.
I got to speak with Waisome yesterday for the first time and I'm looking forward to getting to cover him over the next few years because he's definitely a character.
Waisome won the starting job at field corner, beating out Ronald Darby in a hotly contested camp battle. To listen to him talk about it though, you hear a maturity that belies his age.
"You're going to have to compete wherever you go to play," said Waisome. "I just felt like I was good enough to play and I just had to compete for a position."
There's a ton of things to like about the way Waisome has approached this camp, but we'll start with his preparation. All camp the players and coaches have talked about how Waisome had the mental edge. He really took advantage of the opportunity to learn during his freshman season and came into the summer with the mindset that he would be competing for a job.
"I knew I thought I would probably get some playing time this year so I would just try to prepare myself and be on skills more, work on my technique a lot more because I knew Mike Harris was leaving," said Waisome. "So in cases like nickel and anything like that I would try to be able to step in there."
Once Greg Reid was booted and the starting job at field corner came open, it was just a matter of stepping up his game.
"I just had to stay hungry and be on my job and make sure I don't get beat that much. I just tried to stick to my technique, listen to coach a lot, go up and watch a little bit of film and just become a better player."
Here's where Waisome distinguished himself from a lot of other players, when asked what he improved on the most this past offseason he actually gave a thoughtful response.
"My eyes," said Waisome. "I was real weak at double moves and stuff like that but I feel like my eyes have gotten a lot better. Quarterback to the receiver and then securing myself to make a play on the ball, I feel like I got a lot better at that."
"In high school you're working with receivers that aren't as fast as you so I feel like you can gamble a little bit, look back at the quarterback, but I mean now I feel like you have to try to stick your eyes on the receiver and watch if he's making a double move, you can't relax on the route really. You have to play hard every play."
Most athletes stop after saying their eyes, some may say it's helped with double moves. Very few 20 year-olds can extrapolate on the nuanced differences in the high school and college games so effortlessly.
One of the other ways Waisome shows his maturity is in his outlook on the positional battle he just won.
"You can't take it as a threat, you've just got to help each other out," said Waisome. "I don't see it as fighting for the position, if [Darby] beats me out, he beats me out. But if I'm ahead I'm still going to tell him what it is, I'm not scared or anything about him coming and playing. I mean if he starts one game, he starts one game."
As for the target Waisome will wear on his back opposite Xavier Rhodes, he looks forward to it.
"Bring it on. Bring it on, I'm ready for it, that's more plays for me I feel like."
As for some of that personality I mentioned at the top of the post, Waisome isn't bashful about his ability. He played everything in high school from Tennis to Volleyball.
"I mean I'm pretty decent at everything I do," said Waisome as laughter split through his attempt at a straight face. "I'm not going to lie."
"There's no sport I've tried that [I wasn't good at], I mean golf, I've tried but I'm not that good, I'm shooting high a little bit," joked Waisome. "That one the ball, I don't know man it's just curving on me and what not. Nick O'Leary [FSU TE, Grandson of golf legend Jack Nicklaus], I played with him one time and I wanted to just break the clubs. I rented them so I couldn't."