As the Noles reload at wide receiver, who will get the starting nod?
For the first time in Jimbo’s era, we saw a consistent group of receivers last year led by first round draft pick Kelvin Benjamin, along with Rashad Greene opposite side. With strength out wide and no depth at tight end, the Noles utilized eleven personnel to perfection. This allowed them to take advantage of spacing, which created one on one match-ups, continuously exploiting the opposing team’s secondary.
Speculation has run all summer on who will join Rashad Greene in the starting lineup of receivers. Greene is coming off an incredible season where he had nine TD’s and over 1,100 yards receiving. This season he has an opportunity to become the all-time leader in receiving yards, passing FSU greats Ron Sellers and Peter Warrick.
At this point in the pre-season, you could roll the dice as to who will join Greene at receiver. The Noles may even open the playbook more by utilizing two tight end sets and one wideout on each side. However, I don't expect them to stray away from offensive spread sets given the talent level at QB.
FSU got three of the most touted receivers in the country for the 2014 recruiting class. Five Star receivers Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph along with four star Javon Harrison are hungry for playing time. They will push veterans such as Christian Green, Scooter Haggans, BoBo Wilson, Kermit Whitfield, and Isaiah Jones.
Bobo Wilson is suspended indefinitely following a scooter theft incident. Although he is practicing, this will knock him out of starting contention for at least the first game. Jimbo Fisher recently announced that Isaiah Jones could also be held up due to academic issues.
Scooter Haggins, a senior, is certainly the veteran of the remaining group and has playing time experience. However, Jimbo has made it very clear that the best player will play and that seniority is not the deciding factor.
Christian Green, who also saw playing time his freshman year, was lost in the depth chart his sophomore and junior season. Practice reports suggest that he has been running with the ones and even playing in the slot.
Kermit Whitfield, one of the fastest players in all of college football, could be perfect in the slot position. Fisher’s offenses have been running the bubble screen ever since he came to FSU. Kenny Shaw set the bar high last year, as he was typically the “go to” for this play call. Kermit may fill a perfect void, as his speed could be a huge asset.
Whomever lines up against Oklahoma State on August 30th will have been battle tested in camp and prepared for the task at hand.
Chant Rant Prediction:
11 Personell: Greene, Green, and Haggins
Spread Formation: Greene, Green, Haggins, and Lane
*Photo credit and speical thanks to Christopher Holder.