Florida State safety Derwin James’ return to the football field this spring has been a welcome sight for all Seminoles fans but they might be surprised to see him out of his usual spot in the starting 22 right now.
While the jack-of-all-trades player is listed as the team’s starting safety heading into 2017, James is trying his hand at something a little different this month as he comes back from a knee injury that sidelined him for most of last year. According to ESPN.com, not only is he roaming around the field in normal spot at safety, but he’s been lining up at kick returner, defensive end, linebacker and, especially, cornerback.
“I wanted him to have that information so when we pull that book out, he knows how to play corner, he knows how to play safety, he knows how to play rush end — so we’ll mix and match him where we think we can get matchups,” head coach Jimbo Fisher told the site. “But we had to do it now and add those things to it, or we wouldn’t be able to.”
James had an impressive freshman year but was lost in Week 2 of the 2016 season with a meniscus tear. The extra versatility being shown off this spring is something for the coaching staff to have in their back pocket but also was brought about as a result of the shoulder surgery that starter Tarvarus McFadden underwent, knocking the corner out of action until fall camp.
With powerhouse Alabama looming in the opener, having flexibility on defense is no doubt a good thing for Florida State and for James, who might be lining himself up to have the next Jabrill Peppers-esque season in college football.