Last summer the receiver position looked like a log jam for FSU football. Due to a variety of issues, the ‘Noles find themselves needing to add players at the position.
FSU football entered the 2016 season with a good combination of talent and experience at the wide receiver position. The sheer number of bodies at the position seemed to create a log jam, leaving questions as to how all of that talent could find its way onto the field.
Things change fast in college football. Fast forward to the beginning of 2017, and because of attrition the Noles need to sure up their receiver depth.
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Sep 10, 2016; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Jesus Wilson (3) returns a punt for a first half touchdown against Charleston Southern at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
FSU football was fully aware they would be losing at least two receivers after 2016 as seniors Bobo Wilson and Kermit Whitfield have exhausted their eligibility. However, because of different circumstances, the two seniors are not the only receivers FSU will be without going forward.
Due to the aforementioned log jam, playing time was diminishing for rising senior Ermon Lane. After the Louisville game Lane made the move to safety. Lane’s move has been beneficial to himself and FSU football as he seems to be a natural at safety and will look to start next to Derwin James in 2017.
Soon after Lane made the switch, FSU suspended receiver Javonn Harrison for violation of team rules. It is unclear if Harrison will be rejoining the team but we’ll consider him as a departure until it is known otherwise.
Finally we have junior receiver Travis Rudolph declaring for the NFL draft, meaning the Seminoles lose five receivers that were on the roster to begin 2016.
Nov 19, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Auden Tate (18) carries the ball as Syracuse Orange defensive back Rodney Williams (6) defends during the first quarter of a game at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
The returning receivers for FSU football are high on talent but low on experience. Luckily rising juniors Auden Tate and Nyqwan Murray gained valuable playing time in 2016 as they should be the main targets going forward.
Fighting for snaps behind them will be a group of talented youngsters, including Keith Gavin who flashed his potential on a game saving kick return in the Orange Bowl.
Highly touted prospects George Campbell and Davante Phillips will look to take the next step in their development and become the contributors many believed they could be coming out of high school. Campbell will look to stay healthy after suffering a season ending injury early in 2016.
FSU football is bringing in what some believe to be the best high school slot receiver in the country in DJ Matthews. It would have been advantageous for Matthews to enroll in January as originally planned, but that is no longer the case. Matthews will look to add depth in the slot early for FSU.
The Noles recently picked up a commit from underrated receiver prospect, Tamorrion Terry. It is rumored that Terry has been questionable to qualify; FSU will need him to be on campus this summer in order to alleviate some of the stress brought on by attrition.
With the numbers getting low at receiver, FSU football will need to bring in one more in the 2017 recruiting class. Look for the Noles to put the full-court press on Henry Ruggs III as they try to pull the promising prospect out of Alabama.
If FSU is unable to reel in Ruggs, they’re likely to have backup plans in order to secure enough depth heading into the 2017 season. Ole Miss commit D.D. Bowie and UCF commit Gabriel Davis are prime candidates for said backup plan.
In just a few short months, FSU has gone from a log jam at receiver to now being a couple injuries away from serious depth issues. The receivers on FSU’s roster are supremely talented, yet inexperienced. Ultimately, I expect the 2017 receiving corps to be a step up from 2016 but the lack of experienced depth is a concern.
Jimbo Fisher is well-aware of the consequences of not having enough depth at the receiver position; look for him to make sure the Noles bring in at least one more player to bolster the position unit.