Lamarcus Joyner may come off as a calm and collected person, but that belies the fury that the 5-8, 195-pound junior defensive back plays the game of football with.
That fury can be a double-edge sword, though.
In high school, first at Southwest Miami and then at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, he used it to garner a 5-star rating and offers from some of the top schools in the country.
In college, it’s continued to help on the field, but learning to harness it has proven challenging at times.
Occasionally prone to emotional fits, Joyner has drawn flags in games for late hits, roughing kickers and unnecessary roughness. In practice, his propensity for hitting has occasionally lead to him laying out teammates.
Many around college football believe Joyner is poised for a big year, but to take that step he need to continue his evolution as a safety and learn to play more under control.
Joyner will tell you, part of reeling in his intensity and becoming a better leader has just meant improving his approach to the game.
“To be honest, last year I kind of went out there and played off athletic ability,” Joyner admitted.
“You know, it’s kind of tough when you’re trying to learn the game instead of actually playing it off of ability and [defensive coordinator and secondary] coach [Mark] Stoops is really helping me with that. Then you have coach Fisher on the other side helping controlling me, keeping that discipline to stay consistent. That was something I needed to improve on — to stay consistent.”
That might be tough, but it’s also going to be vital this season. Especially in practice where Joyner will need to lead by example after the team dismissed the secondary’s senior leader Greg Reid.
“It can be tough sometimes, but after a year of being a starter, being coached the right way by coach Fisher, being disciplined the right way, I can calm down now and turn it off when I need to,” Joyner said.
The key part of that sentence is, “when I need to.” For Florida State to win this year they’ll need all of Joyner’s fury — when it’s appropriate.
So far early in camp — literally early, as in at 5:30 AM workouts all this week — it has been Joyner firing up teammates and making sure the intensity level at practice is high.
“We’ve got to build that competition level to get better,” Joyner said. “We can’t come out there head down, we’ve got bring the energy. That’s what makes you better.
“To see a lot of guys feeding off the energy I bring out there is just a great feeling. I have to be more of a leader and I expect to embrace that role this year.”