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Florida State receiver Nyqwan Murray embracing next-man-up philosophy

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Nyqwan Murray has seized his opportunity for a shot to earn some real playing time.

When Florida State leading receiver Bobo Wilson went down with an injury against Wake Forest just under a month ago, the ‘Noles turned to sophomore receiver Nyqwan Murray. In the two games since his increase of usage, the Orlando native has not disappointed.

Murray played in a limited role earlier this year, heading into that Wake Forest game with 11 career receptions, four of which came in the first three games this season. After not recording a catch in any of the next four games, the young receiver exploded for a team-leading 96 receiving yards and his first career touchdown catch in the loss to Clemson.

Following that performance, Murray showed it was no fluke, catching nine passes for another team-leading 153 receiving yards in the victory at NC State.

Although his 5’11, 176 lb. frame isn’t the ideal size for a threatening receiver, Murray uses other skills, such as his footwork and hands, to hone his game, as Florida State RB Dalvin Cook can attest:

“He might not be as tall but he plays big. He can play like it. He has some of the best hands and feet.”

Complementing his footwork ability, Murray’s dynamic speed is another aspect that FSU RB Jacques Patrick explained best,

“He's just so fast and quick twitch. He can make a guy miss in a phone booth. When he gets the ball, you've got to hold your breath every time he touches it because he's that kind of player. “

Florida State safety Ermon Lane was a receiver during fall camp and the first few weeks of the season, working with Murray extensively during practice. He was not surprised to see the former three-star recruit breakout.

“No, I’m not surprised at all. Everyone knew he could do it. He had to step up to be the player he has been in the last two weeks, and I feel he’s done a good job with that.”

Coming out of high school, Murray was the lowest-rated signee by Florida State in its 2015 class, ranked the No. 700 overall player in the nation according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. In fact, Florida State was the only ACC school other than Wake Forest and Duke to even offer him a scholarship.

In total, Murray only received eight Power 5 offers out of Oak Ridge High School in Orlando. Only three of those schools, FSU, Duke, and South Carolina, had records over .500 the season prior to his signing.

Patrick, Murray’s high school 7-on-7 teammate, was aware of the slight that Murray felt.

“He definitely plays with a chip on his shoulder, that edge,” Patrick said. “I recall, he led Orlando in receiving but wasn't the highest-recruited receiver.”

Along with his Florida State offer, Murray bypassed other schools where he could have immediately hit the playing field. At Florida State, he put himself behind numerous four and five-star recruits, needing to prove himself on the depth chart. This didn’t stop Murray.

“He knew that he could play here. He came here, and he’s showing it,” Patrick said. “He’s a great player.”

Also on that 7-on-7 team was Deondre Francois, who has continued that chemistry and connection over the past two games. In that span, Murray has been targeted 22 times, the most on the team.

Following the game vs. NC State, head coach Jimbo Fisher said the young receiver still has some technical quirks to improve on, but was pleased with his performance.

“Had a critical drop or two early in the game that cost us a big drive. There’s still a lot he can clean up...He’s got the chance to be a really good football player.”

Although not listed as a starter on the latest depth chart, Murray will continue to play a pivotal role in the Florida State offense, especially with Bobo Wilson now out for the season.