April 23, 2013

Prospect position breakdown: Wide receiver

The wide receiver position always has a lot of attention because of its big game breaking situations. Talent is not an issue for Florida State at this position, but having enough footballs heading into the 2013 season could be the biggest storyline.

The 'Noles currently have ten scholarship players at this position, experienced youth in this talented group. Sophomore standout Kelvin Benjamin returns, along with juniors Rashad Greene, Christian Green as well has redshirt freshman Marvin Bracy.

There will be some openings for the 2014 class as FSU will graduate six receivers - Kenny Shaw, Greg Dent, Willie Haulstead, Jarred 'Scooter' Haggins and Josh Gehres. Dent's position as wide is going to be the biggest need for FSU to fill, while Kenny Shaw is a slot receiver that can stretch the field vertically. These two players could leave a big void, with their speed and experience.

Losing Shaw and Dent to graduation is the bad news, but the good news is that the Seminoles racked up on some big time talent for the 2013 class by landing three receiver prospects. The biggest strength of this group is speed. Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield and Jesus Wilson, both will be slot receivers. Whitfield is a world-class sprinter and is widely considered one of the fastest high school prospects in the country. Wilson is equally dynamic averaging over 15 yards a catch for the Miami Columbus Explorers as a junior. Both are candidates to play special teams.

Isaiah Jones is the third member of their class and is probably the most complete receiver out of this group because of his size, physicality and ability to stretch the field as a big body. Jones was rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and is an immediate weapon for the Seminoles at the wide out position in having that physical presence.

For the 2014 recruiting class, FSU already has two early verbal commitments, both from the Miami area - Northwestern's JoJo Robinson and South Dade's C.J. Worton. Robinson is considered a firm commitment to the Noles. Worton just returned from a very good West Virginia visit, so he would be considered a soft verbal. However, he claims he is firm with his choice and he just wants to make sure of his decision. Worton's strengths are route running and his hands. He does a very good job with separation and being out in space to make things happen. Robinson on the other hand is more dangerous out in the open field with his elusiveness and is more of a vertical threat that can stretch the field.

We hear the 'Noles want to take three-four receivers for this class. That leaves one or two more spots open. Expect those spots to be wide outs rather than slot receivers. Over the past two years, FSU has loaded up on the slot position, so look for bigger sized receivers for the majority of this class.

The 'Noles top three targets on the board are Darrell Langham, Artavis Scott and Ermon Lane.

Darrell Langham of Santaluces (Lantana, Fla.) is arguably the top receiver on the board. The 6-foot-5, 215 unranked prospect consistently runs in the 4.5 range and is certain to blow up once the season begins. FSU has been targeting Langham since the middle of his junior season and was the first to build a relationship with him and his family. Langham is very high on the 'Noles and we has an offer from FSU. He is expected to camp in Tallahassee this summer. It is rare for a prospect to come out of nowhere and be a top of the receiver board, but when you have the A.J. Green type skill set of Langham (impact type receiver with his size, speed and quickness) that changes things.

While Langham has all the tools, Ermon Lane might be the most polished when you look at his skill set from top to bottom as a route runner, hands, footwork and blocking. Not only that, Lane is a home run threat anytime the ball is in his hands. The Seminoles are pushing hard and are in his top four. They trail Miami and Alabama at this point. We feel that the Crimson Tide is the team to beat. Lane loves what 'Bama has done with Amari Cooper and that's made a strong impression early on with him. Lane visited the FSU summer camp a year ago and is expected to visit this summer, but hasn't set a date. The key is to win over the family and showing a more wide open attack at FSU.

Another target high on the board is Rivals100 prospect Artavis Scott of East Lake (Tarpon Springs, Fla.). FSU likes how his change of direction and speed can dominate a game. You would be hard pressed to find a slot receiver more polished with route running and speed than Scott. Currently the FSU side feels good, not great about Scott in where they stand. Michigan and Notre Dame are some of the major competition. Aiding FSU is the fact that Scott grew up a Seminole fan and out of all the college coaches, has the best relationship with Lawrence Dawsey. Scott camped at FSU last year and is expected to visit in June.

Other prospects FSU has its eye on are Josh Malone, Malachi Dupree, Markell Pack, Dominique Booth, and Isaiah Ford.

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