Just like the Florida State running backs, the Seminole receivers and tight ends didn’t get a ton of attention, but they were critical in FSU’s quest to grab BCS tickets. Despite not featuring a 1,000-yard receiver, the Seminoles have one of the finest receiving corps in the country in wide receivers Rashad Greene, Kelvin Benjamin, Kenny Shaw and tight end Nick O’Leary. Heisman-winning QB Jameis Winston spread the ball around to perfection, and will continue to do so against Auburn in the BCS Championship. In fact, there is an outside chance that FSU could have three 1,000 yard receivers by the end of the matchup with the Tigers, as Greene, Benjamin and Shaw are all within 100 yards of the milestone.
After serving as E.J. Manuel’s favorite target for two years, Greene is leading the team in receptions and yards for the third consecutive season. The 6-foot, 180 pounder out of Albany, GA earned first-team All-ACC honors after racking up 67 catches for 981 yards and nine touchdowns, catching at least three passes in every single game. Already seventh on FSU’s all-time receiving yardage list, Greene could move all the way up to fifth with just a moderately successful game against the Tigers in the BCS Championship Game.
Benjamin is Winston’s favorite target in the red zone, as his 14 receiving touchdowns were one of the big reasons that the ‘Noles snagged BCS tickets. The 6-foot-5, 234-pound redshirt sophomore is one of the most physically imposing receivers in the country, and uses his massive size to perfection on jump balls and throws downfield. Auburn cornerbacks Chris Davis and Jonathon Mincy are going to have their hands full with Benjamin, who is viewed by many as a potential first round pick in next April’s draft.
As the resident senior of the group, Shaw is the steady veteran among the receivers. Not the biggest receiver at 6-feet and 170 pounds, Shaw is slippery in the open field and dangerous after the catch, averaging nearly 18 yards a catch on his 52 receptions. He also doubles as the team’s primary punt returner, and has shown the ability to break off big returns on special teams.
Winston’s most famous target is O’Leary, who happens to be the nephew of golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Another high-profile recruit for the Seminoles coming out of high school, O’Leary has come into his own in 2013, catching 33 passes for 557 yards and seven touchdowns. He is not used much as a blocker, but more than makes up for it with his ability to provide Winston with a reliable and explosive safety net. Like Benjamin, O’Leary has a tough decision to make regarding the NFL Draft, but it is clear that he has a very bright future at the pro level.
It is going to be very difficult for the Tigers to slow down Winston and his receivers in Pasadena. Given the success the Seminoles had in through the air during their march to BCS tickets, it would not be surprising to see FSU’s receiving corps to post a monster game against Auburn.