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Returning for senior season, FSU’s Nyqwan Murray has something to prove

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A big year for Noonie.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

The January 15 deadline for collegiate players to declare early for the 2018 NFL Draft has come and gone, and it appears as though Florida State wide receiver Nyqwan Murray is coming back to school. It’s a rather anticlimactic development, as this was assumed by most, but this could be a major storyline for FSU moving forward. Murray will likely be called upon to be WR1 in the 2018 season, but due to his inconsistent past, no one knows exactly how well this responsibility will be fulfilled.

Murray, the lowest-rated wide receiver of the four FSU signed in its 2015 recruiting class, broke out in 2016 after limited usage as a true freshman. In FSU’s final six games of 2016, Murray went for 395 receiving yards and five touchdowns, including two 100-yard games. After catching a pair of touchdowns in FSU’s Orange Bowl victory over Michigan, Murray was hyped to be FSU’s No. 1 receiver heading into 2017.

After a slow start to his junior campaign with 99 combined receiving yards in FSU’s first four games, Murray had 50+ yards in six of the Seminoles’ final eight games, finishing the year with four touchdowns. He finished tied with the departed Auden Tate with a team-leading 40-receptions. Up next? Now-junior Keith Gavin, with 28 catches, a player who’s also failed to achieve consistency and is still looking for his first TD grab.

The only other players with double-digit receptions last year? Two running backs (Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers) and a tight end bound for the Draft (Ryan Izzo). Then there are juniors Gavin and George Campbell, second-year players D.J. Matthews and Tamorrion Terry, and whichever wide receivers FSU lands in its current recruiting class.

Murray will be the lone scholarship senior receiver on the FSU roster. It’s his position group to lead. Florida State cannot afford him dragging his feet through off-season workouts or taking plays off in practice and games because the ball isn’t coming his way. The younger WRs have a lot to learn — and they’ll no doubt look to Murray as an example. His numbers will tell a big story. But the attitude and effort he demonstrates for the younger Seminole WRs could be just as important.

This position group has a lot to prove. And foremost among them is Noonie.