As we get closer to the start of the 2022 Florida State Seminoles football season, we’re breaking down each of FSU’s position groups. From returning starters to incoming freshmen and transfers, we’ll take a look at all the players you need to know.
Today, the wide receivers and tight ends share the spotlight.
Much-maligned in the past few seasons, the wide receiver room got an influx of transfers during the off-season as the coaching staff seeks to boost productivity. The tight end room remains largely unchanged, though FSU needs one or two to step up if it hopes to use its tight ends to full potential in the Norvell offense.
Main names to know
Sophomore Malik McClain
Heading into his sophomore campaign, all eyes will be on Malik McClain now that he has a full year of experience under his belt. Having played in every game last year for FSU, starting 9 of 12, McClain accumulated 16 grabs for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
It was easy to see that McClain was still very much learning the ins and outs of the position along with the offense for much of the season, which is to be expected of a true freshman. However, McClain showed a propensity for blocking and now that the 6’4”, 200 pound receiver has benefitted from another year in the strength and conditioning system, he will be expected to at least double his production from last year.
Redshirt senior Camren McDonald
Returning starter Camm McDonald heads into his redshirt senior season having been named to the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List for the second consecutive year. The 6’4”, 245 pound McDonald will enter his final season as the starting tight end for FSU.
Last year, McDonald finished with 24 catches for 243 yards and two touchdowns. His totals for receptions and touchdowns ranked second on the team, which illustrates the desperate need for playmakers to step up this coming season. In his career, McDonald has 53 receptions for 549 yards and four touchdowns. He will be counted on as Jordan Travis’s safety valve and for leadership in the tight end room.
What it lacks in production, FSU makes up for with plenty of experience returning this season. Ontaria “Pokey” Wilson returns the most production, entering his final season of eligibility with 78 career receptions for 1,026 yards and eight touchdowns. Redshirt senior Keyshawn Helton brings career totals of 61 receptions for 819 yards and eight touchdowns, though he is no longer as explosive as he was prior to injuries.
Redshirt sophomore and Miami game hero Ja’khi Douglas came on strong towards the end of last year and enters this year with 644 career all-purpose yards. Douglas is definitely in line for more snaps. Fellow redshirt sophomores Darion Williamson (11 catches for 110 yards last season) and Kentron Poitier (4 catches for 22 yards) and redshirt freshman Josh Burrell (recovered from injury) will also fight for reps.
Redshirt sophomores Preston Daniel and Markeston Douglas, redshirt junior Wyatt Rector, and sophomore Jackson West all return for another season. Someone needs to step up, period.
Among the most intriguing off-season storylines was the major infusion of transfers at the wide receiver position. Winston Wright, Jr., counted on to be a difference-maker at WR and returner, is recovering from an off-season injury. While his status is unknown, those within the program are optimistic he’ll play this season. Whether he can attain the expectation of WR1 is up in the air. Perhaps the heir to that WR1 (and top returner) title, Mycah Pittman showed encouraging progress during the spring along with a toughness the WR group has lacked in recent seasons.
At 6’7”, Johnny Wilson should be a threat in the red zone and jump ball game if able to catch the ball with consistency. He will certainly be a blocking beast and will push for a starting job on the outside. Deuce Spann, though not expected to contribute much this season, is a physical specimen who rounds out the transfers. FSU notably failed to sign a prep wide receiver last cycle, and, for some closure, we do not expect Destyn Hill to join the program.
The Seminoles brought in two prep tight ends in Brian Courtney and Jerrale Powers. Neither is expected to see significant time on the field this year, but Courtney may find a role on special teams.