Our Florida State postseason wrap-up continues with wide receiver position.
Wide receiver was one of the biggest questions that FSU had to answer with just three players on the roster that played significant snaps in 2017.
FSU returned leading wide receiver senior Nyqwan Murray, junior Keith Gavin, and sophomore D.J. Matthews in 2018, and also returned redshirt junior George Campbell, whose season ended after a groin injury just four games into the season.
Murray (4) and Matthews (1) accounted for five of the 16 touchdown passes that were thrown to receivers in 2017. No other returning receiver had a touchdown.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Tamorrion Terry also returned after not playing as a true freshman.
FSU brought in five freshmen — Tre’Shaun Harrison, Warren Thompson, Jordan Young, D’Marcus Adams, and Keyshawn Helton — wide receivers in the 2018 recruiting class to help.
So how did the unit fare in 2018?
Wide receiver went from one of the biggest questions on the roster to the offense’s biggest strength.
The wide receiver unit struggled in the first game against Virginia Tech — particularly when run blocking on the outside — but drastically improved on that front the rest of the season.
It wasn’t completely smooth sailing with a poor Notre Dame game where the receivers dropped multiple passes, but for the most part, the wide receivers stepped up when they needed to.
Terry was a breakout star for the Seminoles, though he didn’t get nearly enough touches.
He caught 35 passes, tied Murray for a team-high 744 receiving yards, and led the team with eight receiving touchdowns.
He became FSU’s big-play threat and averaged 21.26 yards per reception, which finished the regular season as the fourth-most yards per catch in college football.
Murray had an up-and-down season.
He missed the first quarter of the Syracuse game due to an unannounced suspension and then was suspended for the first half against North Carolina State for throwing a punch and being ejected in the 59-10 loss to Clemson.
Despite missing those three quarters, Murray led the team with 54 receptions and had three touchdowns.
D.J. Matthews finished with the second most receptions on the team (42) for 382 yards and a touchdown.
Gavin finally got the monkey off his back after going through his first two seasons without a receiving touchdown. He scored against Miami, but wouldn’t score again. He finished the year with 26 receptions for 415 yards.
Gavin’s playing time dipped late in the season and a couple younger players took some of his playing time.
Those players were Helton and Harrison, who only got better for the Seminoles as the season wore on.
Helton finished the season with 11 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown and Harrison had 10 receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Among the other freshmen, Thompson played in four games — mostly on special teams — and Young and Adams both didn’t play. Young dealt with a hamstring injury for most of the season.
All three will be eligible for redshirts.
Ontaria Wilson moved over from cornerback and found some playing time with four receptions for 35 yards. Campbell finished the season with four receptions for 42 yards in just seven games.
Barring a transfer or some unforeseen circumstances, Murray will be the only receiver that won’t return to FSU in 2019.
There’s a lot to like about the returning receivers and it will be considered a position of strength heading into next season.