With the 2023 season quickly approaching we’re going to take a look at each position group to see what 2023 could potentially offer as it stands right now.
In each preview, I’ll name those I see as current impact players (players who have already produced or are expected to at a significant level) and possible contributors (players who have at least seen some playing time or have been highly regarded in practice and could contribute). This does not necessarily mean at FSU regarding the transfer players, and the returning production is from the 2022 season at each player’s respective school. Let’s get to it!
Does not include Winston Wright’s production at WVU being it was two seasons ago.*
This position group initially had a few questions but lots of potential coming into 2023. However, after Kentron Poitier’s breakout spring, Destyn Hill finally arrived on campus (and in great shape too!) Vandrevius Jacobs emerged as a breakout freshman in the spring and FSU landed impact receiver Keon Coleman (plus an upgraded TE room). I now consider this group one of the best top-to-bottom receiver rooms in the conference and even the country.
Johnny Wilson was a 6-foot-7 unstoppable force at times last season. He has legit speed and excellent body control for his size. When he decides to take over a game, there’s not much opposing defenses can do without creating mismatches elsewhere.
He returns 897 yards and ended 2022 with a monster 202-yard performance in the bowl game. He will need to be more consistent in 2023 after leading the team in dropped passes and having the lowest reception rate at 56.6%. If he can clean those things up, and reports say he has, watch out!
Keon Coleman comes in from Michigan State after a big season of his own. He racked up 58 receptions for 798 yards (13.8 YPC) and 7 touchdowns. Coleman finished with an impressive 76.1 PFF grade. Although he didn’t have the greatest quarterback play at MSU, he still put up big numbers and was slated to be their WR1 this season.
I can’t understate how big it was for FSU to get Coleman. He is already a dominant receiver on his own but will also pair nicely alongside Johnny Wilson. Both players were Top 20 in receptions over 20 yards last year, and at 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-7, defensive backs better pack a lunch because it’s going to be a long day.
Another thing I like about Coleman is that he’s proven it against power 5 defenses playing in the Big Ten, including a monster 155-yard game against rival Michigan last season. This gives you a pair of proven Power 5 receivers headed into the season. FSU hasn’t had multiple receivers cross the 500 yd mark since 2018 (T. Terry & N. Murray). I feel confident that the streak will come to an end this year. Is that important? Who knows, but every team that made the playoffs last year had two receivers go over 500.
Kentron Poitier had a breakout spring and was likely going to be WR2 until Coleman’s arrival. We’ll still see a lot of Poitier, and rightfully so. He returns the second most production from last year’s team and, at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, is another big-body receiver in garnet and gold.
Darion Williamson and Ja’khi Douglas flashed in limited touches last year while battling injury. Both should play a contributing role this year if healthy. Douglas is a burner with the speed to turn a 6-yard pass into a 60-yard touchdown. Williamson put up 98 yards on 5 receptions against BC and has impressive size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds. Despite only having 9 targets last season, Williamson had a stellar 90% catch rate!
Deuce Spann is a great athlete, but he’s still developing at the position. He looked well ahead of schedule at times but only accounted for 8 catches and 64 yards. He could find a bigger role this year, but it remains to be seen with a receiver room with a good amount of experienced talent.
Winston Wright is a name I’m watching this year. He was my x-factor player in 2022 with his proven production but the uncertainty of his return which unfortunately never happened. I think a lot of people forget how productive he was at WVU. In 2021, he accounted for 688 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns with a very nice 73.3% reception rate and 72.8 PFF grade.
He’s a gifted slot receiver with excellent speed. He may also be able to contribute on special teams as well. He had 622 yards and a touchdown as a kick returner in 2021. It appears he is back to 100% and should be ready to go for 2023.
Hykeem Williams and Vandrevius Jacobs are a pair of talented freshmen that should definitely contribute this season. Jacobs was one of the stories of the spring, and while Hykeem got off to a slow start is a physically gifted player who will certainly see the field.
Destyn Hill could also be a factor this season. Although he has not played a snap in two years, he came in looking ready to play. Hill was a highly touted recruit with incredible speed that I’m sure Norvell will find a way to get the ball in his hands.
My only concern with this group is consistency. Remember, it was mainly dropped passes that cost FSU the NC State game last season. If they are trying to make a run at the conference title and playoffs, that won’t cut it this year.
This position group looks the best it has in years, and with a proven QB1 at the helm now, they may let it rip more often, even though I suspect FSU will still be a run-heavy team. The beautiful thing we saw last year that should be the case again this season is FSU now has multiple strengths to play to.
A legit running attack will open up the pass, and if teams try to defend the pass, they can turn to the run game. FSU also has multiple receivers who are a threat, so teams will have to essentially pick their poison. FSU had the third most explosive plays in 2022, and with Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman being top 20 in deep pass catching (20+ yards), there should be plenty of fireworks from the passing game in 2023! Thank you for reading. Go Noles!
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