Fall Depth Chart Projections: Special Teams

Last week, NoleGameday released initial depth chart projections for the offense and defense. Today, that continues with the special teams projections.

Florida State’s special teams unit has been disappointing, to say the least, over the past couple of seasons. Whether that’s the coverage teams, field goals, or punts, there are a lot of ways for the Seminoles to improve prior to the start of the 2020 season. Special teams were a staple of head coach Mike Norvell’s success at Memphis and he’s looking to bring those same focal points to Tallahassee.

Read more:

Norvell hired John Papuchis away from Maryland to handle special teams and defensive ends. The Terapins were amongst the upper-echelon in college football on special teams a season ago. The hope is that he’ll be able to put together the talent that former special teams coordinator’s Alonzo Hampton (2018) and Mark Snyder (2019) squandered. Papuchis inherits an FSU unit that returns multiple scholarship players but also lost senior kicker Ricky Aguayo and kick-off returner Tre’Shaun Harrison.

Here’s a closer look at the potential depth chart.


1. Ryan Fitzgerald

2. Parker Grothaus

For the first time in seven years, Florida State will field a kicker whose last name isn’t Aguayo after the graduation of Ricky Aguayo. Ryan Fitzgerald redshirted during his first season in garnet and gold but he brings an explosive leg to the position. He holds Georgia high school football records in career field goals made (51) and 50+ yard field goals made (8). Fitzgerald also knocked down 22 straight field goals during his senior season, a single-season state record. If all goes according to plan, he’ll be the starter on opening day.

Powered by RedCircle

Grothaus was the primary kick-off specialist in 2019 following Logan Tyler’s dismissal and also hit 5/6 extra points in backup duty. He’s a capable reserve who will get a chance to compete for the starting job.


1. Alex Mastromanno

2. Tommy Martin

After Tyler was dismissed from the team early in 2019, Tommy Martin took over as the starting punter for the final 12 games of the season. He punted a total of 70 times, averaging 39.2 yards per kick, with seven punts that went over 50 yards. Most impressively, he had 21 punts land inside the 20-yard line with just one touchback. He’ll compete for the starting job with incoming Australian true freshman Alex Mastromanno, who signed with the ‘Noles in February.

While Mastromanno’s never punted in a live a football game, he has a huge leg to develop and distance alone might get him on the field. If he isn’t quite ready for the FBS level, it makes sense to redshirt him with Martin in the fold.

Long Snapper:

1. Grant Glennon

A Tallahassee native, Glennon has been the primary long-snapper for Florida State’s punting unit over the last two years and took over on PATs and field goals in 2019. Barring injury, he’ll likely start again with redshirt sophomore Garrett Murray backing him up. He’s been dependable with snaps to this point in his career.

Kick-off Specialist:

1. Parker Grothaus

2. Alex Mastromanno

As mentioned previously, Grothaus took over as the kick-off specialist following Tyler’s departure from the team. He had 60 kickoffs, averaging 62.3 yards per kick, with 42 touchbacks. With one of the top touchback percentages in the ACC a year ago, it makes sense for Grothaus to be among the top contenders for this role. Mastromanno also has a big leg and if the coaches are looking for power, he’ll be involved in the competition as well.

Fitzgerald is another player to watch here.

Kick Returner:

1. Isaiah Bolden

2. Corey Wren/Keyshawn Helton

Florida State lost kick-returner Tre’Shaun Harrison to transfer over the offseason but return two players with experience at the position in cornerback Isaiah Bolden (six returns, 26 yards per return) and wide receiver Keyshawn Helton (eight returns, 28.5 yards per return). Helton suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2019 so it remains to be seen if the Seminoles will continue to use him as a returner or let him focus solely at wideout.

One player who wasn’t on the roster a season ago who will likely earn playing time at kick returner is true freshman running back Corey Wren. He has a personal best 10.41-second 100-meter dash and returned both kickoffs and punts throughout his high school career. Wren could be one of the more explosive returners we’ve seen in garnet and gold as of late.

Punt Returner:

1. D.J. Matthews

2. Travis Jay

The Seminoles return a three-year starter at punt returner in senior wide receiver D.J. Matthews, who has been reliable throughout his career. Matthews holds an average of 10.4 yards per punt return but that hit a career-low of 6.6 yards per return in 2019. He’s shown some potential, including a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown against Miami in 2018. Maybe with the changes on staff, Norvell will be able to maximize his ability.

Travis Jay redshirted in 2019 and is in the mix for playing time at defensive back, but he’s also a potential game-changer with the ball in his hands. Jay played all over the ball in high school and possesses special athleticism. He’ll fight for reps at both return spots. Wren could also earn time here as well.

Leave a Reply