When David Hale from ESPN said the FSU football wide receiver room was the worst in the ACC before the 2021 season began, I thought, is that possible? I know 2020 was a crazy year with COVID, and FSU has struggled with quality and consistency at the QB position since the 2016 season with Deondre Francois.
The latter wasn’t elite by any means, but having the greatest FSU running back of all time in your backfield covers several issues. Nevertheless, I looked at who was returning from last year’s squad, and it was bleak. Ontaria Wilson led the team with 31 receptions and 391 yards but has been injury-prone. Keyshawn Helton wasn’t the same player after a devastating leg injury, and all of the remaining receivers had fewer than 10 receptions in 2020.
FSU signed Malik McClain, a blue-chip wide receiver who early enrolled, along with three-star Joshua Burrell, also an early enrollee. As an FSU football fan, we hope three things come to fruition. Jordan Travis becomes a better passer, the offensive line protects him, and Wilson, Helton, and 1-2 from the young receivers begin to emerge.
We find out Travis hasn’t taken the step some thought he did as a passer early in the season, the offensive line gets banged up, and the wide receivers can’t consistently get open against anyone with a pulse.
I criticized Kenny Dillingham and Mike Norvell for how they handled the quarterback issues in the first few games, and rightfully so because that cost FSU at least 1-2 wins.
They were throwing to guys vertically that couldn’t get open, and I wrote specifically about how they needed to find an identity as a team. To their credit, they did so and worked wonders scheming guys open. No disrespect, but scheming guys open that are not No. 1 or No. 2 receivers. Jordan Travis showed some flashes as a passer in the last few games of the season.
That’s why the staff needed to infuse that unit with better talent in the 2022 recruiting cycle. They found a gem in the rough with Devaughn Mortimer and had five-star Kevin Coleman in their grasp for much of the recruiting cycle. Mortimer flipped to Louisville on Early Signing Day and Coleman will likely sign elsewhere, leaving FSU with zero wide receivers signed in mid-December.
The only thing left to do was crush it in the transfer portal, with the hopes of signing multiple guys that could enroll in the spring and get a head start on learning the offense so they could become contributors in the 2022 season. That’s easier said than done, but here we are.