Green Leading Way For FSU’s Open Starting WR Spot

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said senior Christian Green would start opposite senior receiver Rashad Greene if the season were to begin today.

The Seminoles held their final scrimmage of camp Tuesday before the season opener against Oklahoma State on Aug. 30.

The receiver position is the biggest question mark on the team after losing Carolina Panthers’ first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw to the NFL. The pair accounted for nearly 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns last season.

“I feel very comfortable with eight guys in that rotation right now,” Fisher said. “That’s not playing them all, but I’d feel very comfortable if they had to go into the football game.”

Green (6-foot-2, 204 pounds) caught 13 passes for 157 yards in 2013 and did not show any consistency in his first three years after catching 26 balls for 450 yards as a freshman in 2011. The competition in camp has included senior Scooter Haggins, sophomores Kermit Whitfield and Bobo Wilson and 5-star freshmen Travis Rudolph and Ermon Lane.

Fisher praised Rudolph, Lane and freshman Ja’Vonn Harrison after the scrimmage and said all three will play this season. He doesn’t plan to redshirt any of the trio.

“They had some mistakes today, but they’re really starting to understand how to play,” Fisher said. “Travis had a really good day. Ja’Vonn really grew up and had some nice plays today.

“The last three to four days we’ve really thrown and caught the ball extremely well.”

Rudolph (6-2, 184 pounds) is the most polished of the freshman, but has missed chunks of camp due to a foot injury. Lane (6-3, 206 pounds) has the most size and physicality of the three. Harrison (6-2, 197) has been in their shadow as a 4-star recruit but has been regularly mentioned by Fisher.

Wilson (5-9, 177) and Whitfield (5-7, 183) are expected to be speedy threats as slot receivers, but receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey said they can play outside, also.

Dawsey said he’s simply looking for playmakers.

“I don’t care if it’s a senior, freshman, sophomore, whoever,” Dawsey said. “I’m just looking for guys to be consistent making plays. If we have to use a committee or one steps up, it doesn’t matter. We’re just looking for consistency.”

Greene, who is ranked in the top seven in FSU history in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, has taken it upon himself to drag the rest of the group to a higher level as a leader and teacher. There’s a huge drop-off in career statistics after Greene at the moment, but neither Benjamin nor Shaw had spectacular numbers before their breakout seasons in 2013. 

“Not being cocky or anything, but I take it very seriously and I want them to take it very seriously,” Greene said. “I hold them to a higher standard than myself because without them I’m nothing. So, I definitely need my teammates to get on board with me and play to my level.”