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FSU football: Ja’Khi Douglas aiming for breakout year

In his third year, the athlete is looking to shine

NCAA Football: Florida State at Boston College Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

One word you can use to neatly sum up Florida State Seminoles football player Ja’Khi Douglas: athlete.

Douglas was a four-star prospect out of Louisiana, showing off his skill set by playing three sports — track and field and basketball the others.

His dynamic talents didn’t just result in him playing multiple sports. In high school, he played multiple positions — returner, quarterback, and receiver, doing it all at the stature of 5-foot-9, 193 pounds.

At FSU, he’s gotten reps as a running back, receiver, and on special teams. He’s come into his own as a slot receiver, with 86% of his snaps on offense coming from the spot.

Through Week 10 of the 2021 season, he had 4 targets and 4 catches. From the Miami game on (Week 11) he finished with 13 targets, 10 catches for 174 yards.

He had two iconic catches that put his full skills on display in 2021:

The 60-yard TD against Notre Dame in opening week…

He also had the first catch in the final drive vs Miami to put the ‘Noles right in scoring range...

Douglas’s straight-line speed and shiftiness makes him dangerous from the slot - and in those two plays, you can see him put his ability on full display. In both plays, he is running a slot fade and has the speed to beat defenders in space and create separation.

Last season he ranked first among FSU receivers in yards per catch at 18.2 yards with the next highest receiver being 1.5 yards less. Douglas was a legitimate deep threat specialist when the ball was thrown his way.

In the slot, he had more of his targets (6) 20+ yards downfield - more than any other part of the field gaining 164 yards on those targets.

For the early part of the season, he was utilized on offense in the Notre Dame game and Louisville and not much beyond that. But at home vs Miami he had a breakout performance, logging a season-high for targets, yards, and yards after catch.

Against Miami, he played more snaps on offense than any other week prior (24 snaps), the next week against Boston College he played even more (44 snaps), and then finally got his season-high at Florida (54 snaps).

Now heading into his third year in the program he is starting to show out in spring practice among a few other receivers. Jordan Travis clearly has developed a connection with Douglas, along with Mycah Pittman and Malik McClain, seemingly finding them more than any other targets in spring practice.

This year. Travis is aiming to push the ball downfield at a higher level and clearly has a different level of confidence throwing to these receivers. Douglas in particular should be a beneficiary of this push since he has been such a dangerous downfield threat out of the slot.

After last Thursday’s practice, Mike Norvell was extremely complimentary of Douglas and how he looked through the first seven spring practices.

“He’s making plays. He has showcased his great speed, ball skills, and confidence in the finer details of route running. We need him to be a playmaker for us and he’s shown the ability.”

Between his explosive playmaking and more targets getting thrown his way, in 2022, Douglas will have the opportunity to solidify himself as one of the standout receivers in the Seminoles' offense.