Florida State football kicks off on Labor Day at Pitt. Tomahawk Nation previews the season up until that date by analyzing every key player and other issues facing the 2013 Seminoles.
#89 Christian Green| 6'2, 205 | RS-Jr | Wide Receiver
Background via Seminoles.com
Personal: Related to former FSU standout receiver E.G. Green...tremendous athlete and leader who directed Tampa Catholic to the 2B state championship game as a senior and the third round of the playoffs as a junior...boasted a five-star rating from Scout.com, which also listed him as the No. 5 receiving prospect nationally...held four-star rating from Rivals and was the No. 7 "athlete" nationally, the No. 9 prospect in Florida and No. 61 nationally...SuperPrep Florida 115 had him as its No. 1 player in the state...ESPN rated him the No. 9 athlete in the class and No. 53 prospect...was No. 90 prospect by MaxPreps...participated in the US Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas...checked in at No. 65 of Sporting News' 2010 Top 100 list...passed for 777 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior, while adding more than 500 rushing yards...also managed four receptions for 124 yards...a SuperPrep All-America 290 choice as the No. 3 receiver nationally...Times Union rates Green as the No. 1 "athlete" among its Florida Super 75...ranked No. 17 in Bill Buchalter's Florida 100 as an "athlete"...coveted by many schools, Green ultimately selected FSU over Georgia with Florida third in his pecking order...born August 9, 1992.
Christian Green was part of Jimbo Fisher's talented first recruiting class in 2010. He was a running/passing quarterback in high school, recruited as a wide receiver.
A shoulder injury in fall practice resulted in Green taking a red shirt his freshman season. As a talented, yet raw receiver, an extra year was probably helpful to make the transition from high school quarterback.
Patience paid off for Green in his RS freshman season. With some of the more experienced receivers getting dinged up, Green was pressed into action. He ended 2011 third in receiving with 450 yards on just 26 catches. Unfortunately, the end zone eluded Green. He came close on a few occasions (gif) either being tackled just short or inexplicably stumbling before the goal line.
What happened next in Green's career is nothing short of a mystery. This is what we said last spring about Green heading into the 2012 season:
The top priority for Green in 2012 has to be further learning and implementing the intricacies of the position. Green still seems like an athlete playing the receiver position, but 100 coaches out of 100 would take a sophomore with his physical tools.
The projection of 600 yards from spring might be a bit optimistic if Florida State employs fewer multi-receiver sets. In addition, the return of Willie Halustead from his 2011 concussions might hurt Green's quest for 600 yards.
But make no mistake, Green is one of the better sophomore receivers in the country. He has as much potential as any receiver on the roster.
None of that happened. While the potential was probably there, the production was nearly nonexistent. Green finished with just 3 catches for 32 yards. Two of those catches came against Murray St. Despite the lack of numbers, Green was still on the field a lot. His reps were more than just cleanup too. He was in a lot of four WR sets in close games.
Green went from being targeted 45 times in 2011, to just 8 in 2012. That's a reduction of about 80-percent.
When he was on the field, Green was scarcely targeted by the quarterbacks. The few opportunities he got, the QBs threw skip passes at his feet or 10 feet over his head. How much of Green's lack of production was on him, his route running, work ethic or poor QB play, is hard to say. We do know this: his impact fell below any reasonable preseason expectations.
It's also important to note that other players who battled injuries in 2011 -- players who originally were injured or had other issues giving Green his 2011 opportunity, returned in 2012 and were better than Green. Namely Greg Dent, who saw his targets increase from 16 to 40. In addition, Kelvin Benjamin's targets went from 0 to 55.
For 2013, Green's importance has increased with each passing week. A couple months ago, Florida State had enough WRs with experience to create healthy competition. Then Dent got in trouble. Then Haulstead was declared ineligible. Then news that Haggins will miss the year with an injury.
Florida State now has just four wide receivers with game experience. Removing three players from the competition results in opportunity for Green to get lots of playing time. However, there are freshman that will push him and could take snaps if he doesn't show he's earned said playing time.
While the freshman will get snaps, Green should play purely out of necessity. Greene, Shaw, and Benjamin can't play entire games. And when it comes to outside WRs, FSU is limited. Green has enough size to move outside as well. However, most of his time will likely be in relief of Shaw in the slot and in four plus WR sets.
Green showed flashes of his talent in the spring game, giving fans reason to hope for the best. He caught 6 balls for 70 yards (nope, no TD). A couple catches stick out. He snagged a short pass with one hand, in tight coverage, for a first down. He also had a catch near the sideline that showed good body control and excellent hands.
It is difficult predicting what should be expected of Green this year. If Green spent the summer adding technique to his athleticism, he could bounce back in a major way. If he gets passed by the freshman, it could be a long year with limited stats, and his future with the program entering his fifth year in 2014 will be in question.
If Green can be fourth on the team in receiving, that should be considered a nice bounceback year. Florida State doesn't need Green be an elite pass catcher (though, yes, that would be great). They do need him to be a reliable contributor that can be counted on when giving the starters a breather. In that role, he should be fine.
Christian Green Interview: August 13 (via Florida State Seminoles)