Lamarcus Joyner will return to FSU

Updated: January 3, 2013, 7:29 PM ET
By David Hale | NoleNation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- After mulling early entry into the NFL draft, Florida State safety Lamarcus Joyner will return for his senior season, the school announced Thursday.

Joyner was a first-team All-ACC player this past season and was the on-field leader for a secondary that allowed the fewest passing yards per game in the country. At just 5 feet 8, however, Joyner's small stature figured to hamper his draft prospects had he chosen to depart for the NFL.

Joyner was indecisive immediately after Florida State's win over Northern Illinois in the Discover Orange Bowl. But after discussions with coach Jimbo Fisher, he decided to finish his college career with the Seminoles.

"Coach Fisher and I aren't finished with what we started here," Joyner said in a statement released by the school. "He said from Day One, I was going to be one of those guys that was going to help turn this program around. We've started down the right path so far but we're still not finished.

"This wasn't a decision I could make just for myself, but for my family in order to help them down the road, which is why I'm going to stay at Florida State for my last season."

Joyner returns to a talented secondary, but one that will lose All-ACC cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who has announced his intention to enter the draft, and coordinator and defensive backs coach Mark Stoops, who became the head coach at Kentucky last month.

Joyner was influential in developing young corners Nick Waisome and Ronald Darby this season, however, and he said the chance to mold the 2013 defense was a big reason to return for his senior season.

"That's a very interesting challenge," Joyner said. "For me to come back and play with whole new faces, you get to shape those young guys. They already respect you, so you kind of get to shape it. You get a totally new mentality around here. That's always fun."

Joyner finished the season with 51 tackles, one interception and five passes defensed. He also added 185 kickoff return yards, including a 90-yarder that helped key a win over Clemson.

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