Florida State football kicks off on Labor Day at Pitt. Tomahawk Nation previews the season up until that date by analyzing every player and other key issues facing the 2013 Seminoles.
No. 80 Rashad Greene | 6-0, 175 | Junior | Wide Receiver
School Bio (Courtesy Seminoles.com):
Biletnikoff Award candidate who has been FSU's leading receiver for the second straight year, who will look to build upon another record setting season. Smart, speedy receiver who has great hands and explosive play-making ability. Attacks the ball in the air and can pull away from defenders with his speed after making the catch. Also will see time as a punt returner and kick returner on special teams.
Career to Date
Rashad Greene came to Florida State as a consensus four-star recruit, part of a loaded 2011 recruiting class that ranked No. 1 in the nation according to ESPN and Scout. Coach Jimbo Fisher's haul that year included a bevy of offensive weapons such as James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman, Nick O'Leary, and another highly touted wide-out in Kelvin Benjamin.
All Greene has done since arriving on campus is outshine each of the aforementioned players by leading the Seminoles in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in each of the past two seasons.
As a true freshman in 2011, Greene put together one of the finest seasons by a freshman receiver that FSU has ever seen. He hauled in 38 passes for 596 yards and seven touchdowns despite missing four games due to an achilles injury, capping the season with an MVP performance in a come-from-behind win over Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl. Not only did he display a knack for making plays, but he made them at critical times for the FSU offense.
From a leaping grab on a 56-yard touchdown heave from Clint Trickett against Oklahoma, to making big catch after big catch in the Champs Sports Bowl, Greene was dependable.
As a sophomore in 2012, he picked up where he left off. Once again recording team-highs in receptions (57), yards (741) and touchdowns (six), Greene continued to be a play-maker while also providing a steady target for EJ Manuel. He racked up 37 grabs for 487 yards and five touchdowns over FSU's last seven games (the next best reception total by any FSU WR over that same span was 17 from Kenny Shaw, while Rodney Smith's 212 yards were a distant second as well).
Greene was superb in passing situations all year long (second-and-seven or third-and-five plus), averaging 13 yards per target on such downs. He also put his ability in the clutch on display once again in the form of a 39-yard touchdown catch to bury Virginia Tech in the final minute of a Thursday night contest in Blacksburg.
By adding a pair of punt return scores and a rushing touchdown, Greene became the first 'Nole since Peter Warrick in 1999 to score on a reception, run and return in the same season. He is Florida State's most versatile offensive weapon, possessing great quickness, speed, and strong hands to boot.
The goal for FSU in 2013 with regards to Greene is simple: Put the ball in his hands.
Shaw and fellow receiver Greg Dent have proven themselves as solid second and third options, but no other pass catcher has come close to Greene as a home run threat. Until the 6-foot-6 Benjamin puts it together and brings his route running, understanding and technical skills to the level of his physical potential, Greene is undoubtedly the Seminoles' biggest vertical threat. He also has the ability to shake defenders and pick up yards after the catch on shorter routes, making him a well rounded weapon at just 175 pounds.
Amassing over 1,300 yards and 13 TDs in two seasons will have opposing defenses on high alert against Greene, but his stellar play coupled with the departure of Rodney Smith means that he will only see his targets increase in '13. Smith accounted for 57 total targets a season ago, but only hauled in 66 percent of those balls. Comparatively, Greene had a 76 percent catch rate while also averaging more yards per target (9.9 to Smith's 9.2) on 75 looks.
If Florida State can use Greene effectively, defenses could be forced to double him, which would open things up even more for Shaw, Dent and Co. to run open.
Greene could also help the team by stepping up into a more vocal leadership role, in addition to leading by example as he's been doing for some time already. Having a player the caliber of Rashad Greene will certainly help redshirt freshman Jameis Winston ease into the offense in his first year of action.
Jimbo Fisher needs to stop removing Geene, Shaw and Dent while the game is still on the line. The constant rotation hurts the chemistry between the quarterback and his receivers, and this is more true than ever with a QB in Winston who has never received a snap. Green needs to be targeted 100 times this year. Teams should know that the ball is going to Greene, and should have to devote more defensive resources to him. Fisher must instruct his quarterback that Greene does not need to be wide open to be considered open. The instruction should be that if Greene is even a little open, he should get the ball. He's proven that he can come down with the football.