Welcome to the 2019 Tomahawknation wide receiver position group preview.
I’ll give my thoughts on each individual, scholarship wide receiver on the roster. What they do well; what they need to improve on and what FSU is looking for from its wide receiver group this year. I’ll also do a little starter projection assuming a four-wide set.
Coach Briles wants to add more wide receivers to this group as the depth is a little lacking but the talent level of the ones currently on campus would make most coaches including said coordinator drool.
Let’s start with the big dog, Tamorrion Terry:
Tamorrion Terry-redshirt sophomore
6’4’ 203 lbs
2018 stats- 35 catches, 744 yards, 8 TDs
Everyone’s favorite target.
Tamorrion Terry had one heck of a breakout year averaging a whopping 21.3 yards per catch; good for second best in the ACC among returning receivers behind Clemson’s Justyn Ross (21.7 yards per catch).
Tamorrion Terry is the most talented receiver FSU has had in a long time; his combination of size, speed, and athleticism is rare and you won’t find many corner-backs in the country capable of either staying in front of him or matching his physicality.
He makes the difficult look easy but sometimes he makes the easy look difficult so consistency is the name of the game for Terry this year. This is the type of offense that is going to take a lot of shots down the field and Terry is the perfect man outside to do that with. Assuming he remains healthy I expect a big-time year out of Tamorrion Terry.
6’3’ ‘223’ lbs
2018 stats- 26 catches, 415 yards, 1 TD
The senior looking to make his mark at FSU.
Keith Gavin did not have the type of year you’d expect from a junior wide receiver of his talent level. While his season totals aren’t bad they’re not enough to match the expectations of what many thought he’d be after arriving in Tallahassee.
He’s a very physical wide-receiver and a first-person off the bus type that often looks and runs smoother than what you would expect for his body type. What’s keeping from Gavin from taking his game to the next level is the lack of consistency. Gavin will go up between two defenders on 3rd & 17 to make a catch and then disappear on 1st and 10.
FSU is going to need a possession receiver on the other side of Terry that can consistently make tough catches; Gavin has shown flashes of it but can it ever be more than flashes? It’s his last year to do it.
5’10’ 156 lbs
2018 stats-41 catches, 380 yards, 1 TD
The junior that’s fully bought in and ready to ball.
DJ Matthews had consistency issues as well but was far more reliable in the slot last year than most realize. A human joystick, Matthews is almost impossible to tackle in the open field. He’s got the quick wiggle; he’ll make you miss in a phone booth. I was most impressed last year by DJ’s ability to go up and make contested catches his combination of soft hands and vertical leap make him a surprising quality contested catch receiver considering his still very slight frame.
Coach Taggart pointed out DJ as someone that really matured this off-season and really bought into the culture that FSU is building. Some people buy-in instantly and for some others it takes a minute to convince them that their way isn’t the only nor the correct way.
Matthews had 41 catches last year; highest among returning FSU receivers. Ten of those 41 catches came in the NC State; an interesting figure when you consider that projected starter James Blackman started that game last year. Look for DJ to develop into a favorite target of James this year should he be announced this year. He’s also one of the best punt returners in the country after averaging a whopping 13.5 yards per punt return in 2018
5’9’ 170 lbs
2018 stats-11 catches, 176 yards, 1 TD
The slot receiver that’s 100% dog.
The late three-star signee from the 2018 class flashed high-level ability during his freshman year in Tallahassee. I call him the rising star. He’s someone that FSU is going to get the ball on jet sweeps, in the slot and open deep. The best parts of his game are his hands, his acceleration and his power.
Helton bounces off tacklers like a man that weighs 50 pounds more than his listed 170. Word from camp is that Keyshawn Helton approaches every practice like its his last; a relentless work ethic and a desire to get better that is infectious among his teammates. Not only do I expect him to make him a big impact on the field but he’s making an impact off the field as well.
6’2’ 191 lbs
2018 stats-10 catches, 66 yards, 1 TD
The dynamo that’s going to get the ball in every way possible.
Harrison did not make much of an impact his freshman year at FSU but you did see glimpses of why he was so sought after by the FSU staff; specifically Willie Taggart. He’s someone that’s big enough to play on the outside but moves like someone the size of DJ Matthew or Keyshawn Helton; a rare combination of athleticism and quickness.
Word from camp is that Tre’Shaun Harrison has made his presence known. Harrison is someone that the staff wants to make sure that he gets the ball in his hands; whether it’s on the outside, in the slot, or even out of the backfield as a RB sometimes.
He will be a primary focus in the offense this season if the reports from camp are true. He was Coach Taggart’s top offensive target in the 2018 recruiting class for a reason.
Ontaria Wilson-redshirt sophomore
6’0’ 170 lbs
2018 stats-4 catches, 35 yards,
The DB turned WR that catches everything near him.
The redshirt-sophomore and Tamorrion Terry’s high-school teammate initially came to FSU as a defensive back before switching to wide receiver. He’s a talented wide receiver with good speed and dependable hands but it’s very crowded on the outside with Terry, Gavin, Armstrong, and Young and it would be tough for him to crack the rotation consistently.
The best way that he could get on the field would be by being dependable; FSU is going to scheme wide receivers open this year so the receiver with the most reliable hands could find himself getting the most snaps.
Warren Thompson-redshirt freshman
6’3’ 201 lbs
The Armwood firecracker that’s fluid and explosive.
A national recruit (formally No. 154 in the 247’s 2018 Composite Rankings) Warren Thompson in the absence of Tamorrion Terry has had a really good camp. He’s a big, fluid, athlete that can really run. After a year in the weight room and in the playbook Thompson is ready to make an impact for FSU this fall.
Consistency catching the ball and appropriately maintaining the level of fire he plays with (sometimes he can get a little too hyped and/or emotional) is what he’ll need to do to steal snaps away from the upperclassmen currently ahead of him on the depth chart.
Jordan Young-redshirt freshman
6’2’ 192 lbs
The Abusement Park that’s open for rides this year.
Jordan Young, the redshirt freshman out of Conyers, Georgia might be the most athletic receiver on the roster; and that’s saying something considering some of the guys already mentioned in this preview.
An injury plagued redshirt year (hamstring injuries tend to linger) had him fully red-shirting and unable to participate. A back-to-back state champion hurdler in Georgia, Young is a level of athlete that is rare even among programs like Florida State. Physically he’s everything you want in an outside receiver, big, quick & fast, physical and athleticism that extends his already his big catch radius.
D’Marcus Adams-redshirt freshman
6’0’ 180 lbs
The speed demon looking to translate that speed to the field.
Not as big or as some of the guys ahead of him on this list but he might be the fastest; a former Army All-American he was the nation’s fifth fastest 110 hurdler in 2018 so he’s got speed to burn.
This is an offense predicated on taking the top off the defense with lots of shots down the field so he can find himself a place in that role but in order to consistently get snaps, particularly from the guys ahead of him, he’ll have to improve the consistency with his hands, route-running, and physicality.
At this point in the preview I probably sound like a broken record. Rare athlete, fluid, big, fast, needs to be more consistent with catching the football and that’s because for the vast majority of these wide receivers those descriptions are true.
In regards to the depth chart this year Terry (Flanker), Matthews, and Helton (slots) are your definite starters in my opinion. Keith Gavin (Flanker, tentatively) for now but Warren Thompson and Jordan Young are coming on strong and pushing the senior.
Tamorrion Terry is the big threat this year; he’s the guy opposing defensive coordinators will scheme to try and take away first. This will create opportunities underneath or over the top for guys like Matthews, Helton, & Harrison.
FSU needs a consistent possession receiver across from Terry who can make that catch on third down when everyone is expecting Tamorrion to get the ball. Whomever proves themselves to be the most consistent catcher of the Gavin, Thompson, Young group (because FSU is going to scheme wide receivers open this year; that’s what this offense does) will be named the starter opposite Tamorrion Terry.
FSU’s wide receiver room isn’t as talented as Clemson’s or Alabama’s and they might not have as many natural catchers as a Washington State but there’s only a handful of programs with this many big-bodied, rare athletes ready to make an impact on the outside or in the slot. FSU’s group is unproven but its immense talent gives them an argument for most the talented positional group on FSU’s roster and they’re about to produce some fireworks in 2019.