Jesus Wilson Suspension Pokes Big Hole in Florida State Offense
The Florida State Seminoles are coming off a perfect season in 2013 where they had a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback who led the Noles to a BCS National Championship. They are heavy favorites to make a run at a second national championship in 2014 thanks in part to the return of Jameis Winston under center. But there is a glaring hole on the Seminole offense at receiver that just got much worse with the suspension of sophomore Jesus Wilson.
Wilson was charged with third-degree grand motor theft and has been ruled ineligible by the university until the charge has been resolved and all reinstatement requirements are met. That’s a major blow to Florida State, who spent all offseason looking for a No. 2 receiver to step up to play alongside senior Rashad Greene after losing Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw from their 2013 squad. The speedy Wilson appeared poised to take over that role after a strong spring where he quickly developed a strong connection with Winston in the passing game.
The issue for FSU now becomes where they find that second receiver. Other than Greene, no other wide receiver recorded more than 13 receptions last season and the unit as a whole struggled with inconsistency during spring practices. That creates a very muddled and undefined depth chart at receiver heading into 2014 where the Noles can’t afford a slow start to the season.
In Greene and tight end Nick O’Leary, Florida State has two reliable pass catchers for Winston to use in the passing game. But the team has to find some other impact players to step up and the search now becomes a frantic one if Wilson is lost for an extended period of time. The team will look at four-star freshmen Ja’Von Harrison, Ermon Lane, and Travis Rudolph to step in and play immmediately this fall but there’s no guarantee they’ll immediately adapt to the college level and provide the flash needed in the passing game.
As FSU gears up to defend their national title, the pieces are in place for them to dominate once again in 2014. Will the lack of proven talent at receiver following Wilson’s suspension cost the Noles some explosiveness in the passing game and make them vulnerable to an upset this fall?