The transfer portal has again been kind to the Florida State football team this offseason.
From wide receivers to linebackers to plenty in between, the Seminoles have addressed quite a few of their instant needs this offseason with transfer additions who bring college football experience to the FSU roster.
But one problem for the Seminoles was that one of their biggest needs couldn't be addressed as directly through the transfer portal.
Kick and punt returns led to FSU losing quite a bit of (sometimes not so) hidden yardage last season, playing the biggest role in the Seminoles' much maligned special teams struggles.
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Since kick and punt returners aren't recruited to do just that, FSU had to make sure that a few of the skill-position players it was bringing in through the portal could upgrade the Seminoles' return game.
Insert Oregon transfer Mycah Pittman and West Virginia transfer Winston Wright Jr., who are looking to do just that.
Pittman, an NFL legacy, brings three years of receiving experience with the Ducks to Tallahassee as a former four-star recruit in the 2019 class.
He also became Oregon's primary punt returner this past season. Of the Ducks' 17 returned punts during the 2021 season, Pittman returned 15 of them. In doing so, he averaged over 10 yards per return, returning those punts for a total of 151 yards.
His 10.07 yards per return in 2021 landed just outside the top 10 nationally.
"I feel like I can be a very versatile punt returner and have always been a returner," Pittman said.
"I've always been in the return game no matter what it was, whether it was high school, even Pop Warner I was back there catching punts. It’s definitely a thing I enjoy doing.
Against Stanford, Pittman returned four punts 49 yards. In Oregon's road win over Washington, he returned four punts for 52 yards.
Both of those individual efforts are more than the 38 total punt return yards FSU had in its 11 games against FBS competition this past season.
Pittman has displayed an ability to make a positive impact in the punt return game after catching the ball.
But after FSU fans had to watch countless punts hit the ground and keep rolling this season, they'd definitely be content just with his sure handedness.
"I pride myself in not dropping the ball back there. I never did when I was back there after all the punts that I’ve caught. I pride myself in making smart decisions, too. If there’s four guys in front of me, I’m going to fair catch it if it’s not smart to run it out or God forbid, fumble, cost the team an opportunity," Pittman said.
"Just understanding when to take it out and when to catch it. Other guys say it’s very routine for me to go out there and catch punts, looking at the rotation of the ball and understanding where it’s going to land before it lands. I feel like I can contribute a lot in that aspect of things. Like Coach (Norvell) said, there’s going to be competition and I’ll have to go show why I can be the punt returner for this football team."
Wright, along with being the Mountaineers' leading receiver each of the last two seasons, also established himself as an extremely capable kick returner in his time at WVU.
He took the lion's share of the kick return reps each of the last two seasons and took a significant step forward in 2021.
Over 23 returns last season, Wright averaged 26.65 yards per return, 20th most nationally. He returned one kickoff for a touchdown vs. Long Island University, something no FSU returner has done since Kermit Whitfield in the 2014 national championship game.
"I would say my special teams coach at West Virginia, he kind of got me where I’m at," Wright said.
"You have got to be patient and you’ve got to be fast at the same time just setting up the blocks and whatever the scheme is, you just have to set things up."
FSU's kick return game wasn't as much of a liability in 2021 as its punt returning. The Seminoles' 20.36 yards per return were middling, ranking 66th nationally and 11th out of 14 ACC teams.
But the team does have to replace Jashaun Corbin, who led the Seminoles with seven kick returns this past season and Wright seems like a prime candidate.
Reach Curt Weiler at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.
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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Mycah Pittman, Winston Wright looking to revamp FSU's return game