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Florida State football position preview: Wide Receivers

Scary Terry can’t do it all on his own.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 17 Boston College at Florida State Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tomahawk Nation is continuing its 2020 Florida State Seminoles season preview by breaking down each position group, from starters to contributors to potential emerging talents. We’ve given you the rundown on the quarterbacks and running backs, so now it’s time to move on to the wide receivers.

Mike Norvell has roots coaching wide receivers. His first two college assistant coaching positions including being the WR coach at Tulsa and Pitt, respectively, before he moved on to become the Offensive Coordinator and QB coach at Arizona State. The man knows what he wants in his receiving corps and it consistently shows on the field, as Norvell and OU’s Lincoln Riley are the only individuals to have coached a 1,000-yard receiver in each of the last seven seasons. Anthony Miller is perhaps Norvell’s brightest NFL star currently, but Damonte Coxie will have something to say about that once he gets to the league.

Leading Receiver Season Yardage: Florida State, Memphis, and Oklahoma, 2012-2019 | Figure: @SaiemGilani
Leading Receiver Season Yardage: Florida State, Memphis, and Oklahoma, 2012-2019

You saw the S&P+ numbers in the running back preview but let’s look at the passing numbers. In 2019, the Tigers racked up 4,177 passing yards, averaging just under 300 yards per game and scoring 33 touchdowns through the air. Wide receivers accounted for 73% of both passing yardage and touchdown catches, with Coxie leading the way in both categories. It’s important to note, however, that Norvell loves utilizing running backs with solid hands such as recent Washington draft pick Antonio Gibson in the slot.

FSU boasts a deep, talented stable of wide receivers led by future NFL draft pick Tamorrion Terry and it will be Norvell and Coach Ron Dugans’ jobs to extract as much as they can from the group. Some of them have immense potential yet to be realized, while others have battled injury or inconsistency throughout their college careers. The fact remains that this unit will need to see more production behind Terry in order to balance the offense and keep defenses honest. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Florida State wide receivers.

Tamorrion Terry, 6’4, 210 lb redshirt junior

Scary Terry is the undisputed star of this unit and one of the top wide receivers in the nation. Despite subpar QB and OL play, Terry still managed to haul in 60 catches for 1188 yards and 9 TDs last season. In his two seasons at FSU, he’s averaging an insane 20.3 yards per catch. While initially thought of as a deep threat only, Terry has also proven to be reliable on short and intermediate routes and has no problem going across the middle in traffic. His athleticism is incredible. People his size just don’t run this fast:

However, despite all his strengths and insane potential, Terry still has areas of his game to refine. His blocking is above average but not always consistent. Star wide outs tend to fall victim to taking plays off when they know the ball isn’t coming to them. Can Terry combat this and avoid disappearing when downfield blocks or jams at the line of scrimmage are needed? Can he become a vocal leader for the WR corps and mentor some of the younger players? Terry has first round NFL draft potential and scouts will be watching.

D.J. Matthews, 5’10, 154 lb senior

Matthews has had a roller coaster of a journey at FSU. The senior ranks 10th in FSU history with 582 punt return yards and 56 punt returns, boasting a career average of 10.4 yards per return. He’s accumulated 80 catches for 770 yards and 5 scores in his Seminole career, primarily working in the slot role. Matthews has the opportunity to play opposite of Terry on the outside, seeing some reps there in the short window of spring practice. However, the shifty wide out has previously battled inconsistency and disciplinary issues. FSU would love to see Matthews step up into a dependable role in his final year.

Keyshawn Helton, 5’9, 171 lb junior

Helton was enjoying a breakout campaign of sorts last year before an unfortunate injury against Clemson, prematurely ending his season. At the time, Helton was considered an emerging leader in the locker room while also second on the team in receptions, receiving yardage, and touchdowns (17 receptions for 239 yards and 3 scores). Helton has worked extremely hard to position himself for a return to the field and will be in the mix for a starting role among the WR groups as well as on the KR unit, where he returned 10 kicks for 228 yards.

Ontaria Wilson, 6’0, 174 lb redshirt junior

“Pokey” Wilson, a high school teammate of Scary Terry’s, is a converted CB who showed promise last year on offense. Reliability is the name of the game for Wilson, as he has a propensity for being right where the QB needs him to be and picking up yards after the catch. His steady hands and field vision allow him to find pockets in coverages and serve as a safety valve at times. Wilson will be heavily in the rotation, hoping to build on his 2019 season totals of 21 catches for 227 yards and a touchdown.

Jordan Young, 6’2, 208 lb redshirt sophomore

Disney, Universal Studios, SeaWorld... those are all well and good, but FSU fans hope “The Abusement Park” will also be open this season. Young’s high school highlight reel was legendary and his athleticism also showed in basketball and track, where he won a state championship in hurdling. After redshirting and battling hamstring injuries and a stacked depth chart, “IROC” looks to translate that domination into a productive campaign for the ‘Noles. Young managed 4 catches for 61 yards after primarily playing in garbage time reps last season but still showed flashes of drool-worthy potential. He is a popular pick at Tomahawk Nation to have a breakout season and could find himself on the outside opposite Terry or in the slot due to his aforementioned athleticism.

Warren Thompson, 6’3, 201 lb redshirt sophomore

Thompson made headlines last season not for his play, but for a feud with then-head coach Willie Taggart. Thompson collected 6 catches for 91 yards in the beginning of the season but disappeared soon after. With a new coaching staff, Thompson will be given a fresh start and will need to show that he is in football shape after last year’s absence. Thompson has excellent size and assuming he is in shape and mentally engaged, should find reps in the rotation this season. ‘Nole faithful hope Thompson will deliver on his 4 star potential out of high school.

Bryan Robinson, 6’1, 200 lb freshman

Robinson, FSU’s most highly-rated WR recruit in last year’s class, made a favorable impression in the spring Tour of Duty. Many onlookers noted that Robinson already looked like he belonged and was managing the transition very well. Robinson’s strengths are his smooth and precise route running, strong hands, and thick frame that will allow him to hold his own across the middle in traffic. Robinson is likely to see reps at WR and special teams this season and may work his way into the regular rotation by season’s end.

Kentron Poitier, 6’3, 200 lb freshman

Poitier is another physical specimen who was a welcome late addition to last year’s recruiting class. The freshman is a big-bodied wide receiver with good leaping ability and timing, above-average hands, and the ability to rack up yards after the catch by making the first man miss with surprising wiggle. Poitier already looks the part of a collegiate wide receiver and may avoid a redshirt if he can impress in limited opportunities on the field or on special teams.

Darion Williamson, 6’3, 180 lb freshman

Williamson is another tall wide out with above-average athleticism and a wide catch radius. The incoming freshman shows an ability to make people miss in the open field and has a strong burst, not wasting much time turning up field after catching the ball. He also shows no problem being physical, often overpowering of simply throwing away DBs at the line trying to jam him. FSU fans likely won’t see Williamson this season as he is rehabbing an ACL tear and is a likely redshirt candidate, but should be excited about his ceiling.