Florida State's four-player quarterback battle takes center stage Saturday at 2 p.m. inside Doak Campbell Stadium.
As part of an ongoing series of articles, get a glimpse of each member of FSU's 2013 signing class. Up next: dual-threat quarterback John Franklin II.
As part of an ongoing series of articles, get a glimpse of each member of FSU's 2013 signing class. Up next: cornerback Marquez White.
As part of an ongoing series of articles, get a glimpse of each member of FSU's 2013 signing class. Up next: linebacker Tyrell Lyons.
As part of an ongoing series of articles, get a glimpse of each member of FSU's 2013 signing class. Up first: tight end Jeremy Kerr.
Lawrence Dawsey enters his eighth season coaching wide receivers on the Florida State staff. Following the 2013 undefeated national championship season, Dawsey was named co-offensive coordinator and will retain his responsibilities coaching wide receivers. For the last four years, Dawsey had also served as Florida State's passing game coordinator, assisting with the game plan for Florida State's record-breaking offensive attack.
Dawsey has one of the most impressive playing rèsumès of any collegiate coach in the country, starring at wide receiver for the Seminoles from 1987-90 before being a third-round selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1991. Dawsey enjoyed a seven-season NFL career that included Sports Illustrated Rookie of the Year honors.
Florida State's wide receivers have prospered under Dawsey's direction and the 2013 season may have been the most productive for Seminole pass-catchers all-time as junior Rashad Greene, redshirt sophomore Kelvin Benjamin and senior Kenny Shaw led a record-breaking offense. Greene (1,128 receiving yards) and Benjamin (1,011) became the first Florida State receivers to gain 1,000 yards in 11 years (Anquan Boldin, 1,011, 2002). The duo became just the second pair of Garnet and Gold wide receivers to cross the 1,000-yard barrier in the same season, joining E.G. Green and Andre Cooper in 1995. Greene put together the best season of his career, tallying the second-most receptions ever by a Seminole (76) and scoring nine touchdowns, while capturing All-ACC First Team honors from the coaches and media. The 6-5, 234-pound Benjamin proved to be one of the nation's most dangerous red zone threats in just his second season on the field, leading the ACC with 15 touchdown receptions, including the game-winning scoring grab in the BCS National Championship Game. He captured SportsIllustrated.com All-America First Team accolades and was named to the All-ACC Second Team by the coaches and the All-ACC Third Team by the media. Shaw collected All-ACC Third Team accolades from the coaches and All-ACC honorable mention honors from the media after catching 54 balls for 933 yards and six touchdowns. The Seminoles' trio of wide receivers combined to catch 184 passes for 3,072 yards (16.7 ypc) and 30 touchdowns and were the driving force behind FSU's historic offense. Florida State set the FSU and ACC records for single-season total offense (7,267 yards), points per game (51.6) and yards per play (7.67) in addition to the national record for points (723). FSU led the nation with 94 touchdowns, which also was a school and ACC record. Florida State's 42 passing scores marked a school and conference record.
Following the season, Benjamin was a first-round selection (28th overall) by the Carolina Panthers in the 2014 NFL Draft - the fifth wide receiver picked in the draft. Additionally, Shaw signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns. Greene will return to the Seminoles in 2014 as unquestionably one of the nation's top wide receivers.
In Dawsey's role as the passing game coordinator, he and the wide receiver unit had direct roles in helping rookie signal caller Jameis Winston complete one of the greatest seasons by a collegiate quarterback in 2013. Winston became the youngest player ever to win the Heisman Trophy, while also nabbing the Davey O'Brien Award, Manning Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year honor and consensus All-America honors. He became the first freshman to win ACC Player of the Year honors and set the conference, FSU and national freshman record for single-season touchdown passes (40). Winston also broke the national freshman record for passing yards (4,057).
Since Dawsey added the passing game coordinator duty in 2010, Florida State has averaged over 3,600 yards through the air and 29 passing touchdowns per season.
In 2012, sophomore Greene captured honorable mention All-ACC honors and was a SI.com honorable mention All-American after leading the Seminoles with 57 receptions for 741 yards and six touchdown catches. Greene was one of seven players who averaged at least 11.0 yards per reception and caught 20 or more passes. Greene, senior Rodney Smith, Shaw, Benjamin and junior Greg Dent all recorded at least 25 receptions for 350 yards. Smith capped his four-year career by setting the FSU record for consecutive games with a reception (39). He finished his career with 106 receptions for 1,540 yards and 10 touchdowns. Dawsey was instrumental in helping the FSU offense to its most productive season ever in 2012. Florida State ranked third in the ACC in total offense (471.50) and scoring offense (39.29). Following the season, Smith signed a professional contract with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent.
In 2011, six different receivers averaged better than 11 yards per reception for a passing offense that produced 25 TD receptions and 3,341 yards through 13 games. Dawsey guided Greene, FSU's leading receiver, to one of the best freshman campaigns in FSU history as he posted the second-most receptions (38), receiving touchdowns (7) and third-most receiving yards (596). He ranked among the top five freshmen nationally in receiving touchdowns. Senior Bert Reed left Florida State after four years under Dawsey's tutelage among the top five Seminoles in career receptions and top 15 Seminoles in career receiving yards. Sophomore Christian Green, a converted quarterback who redshirted in 2010, broke out in 2011 leading the team with a 17.3 yard per catch average and finishing third in receiving yards.
In 2010, Dawsey added passing game coordinator to his title and four receivers caught at least 30 passes as Florida State ranked fifth in the ACC in pass receptions and sixth in receiving yards. Reed, Willie Haulstead and Smith combined for 127 receptions, 1,649 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In 2009, Dawsey tutored Rod Owens and Reed who became the first pair of Seminole receivers to collect at least 60 receptions each in the same season since 1995. Owens (61) and Reed (60) joined the prolific `95 tandem of Andre Cooper (71) and E.G. Green (60) as the only duos to match that standard in program history. Five Seminoles in 2009 - Owens, Reed, Jarmon Fortson (45), Taiwan Easterling (35) and Richard Goodman (27) - caught at least 20 passes. FSU had not had five receivers with 20 or more catches since the 1992 season.
FSU's wideouts had a hand in quarterbacks Christian Ponder and EJ Manuel becoming first round NFL draft picks. Ponder was selected with the 12th overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 NFL Draft, while Manuel was the first signal-caller off the board in the 2013 Draft, going 16th overall to the Buffalo Bills. Manuel finished his career as the FSU career-leader in completion percentage at 66.9 percent - a mark that also ranks second in ACC history. Manuel finished the 2012 season with 3,392 yards passing - the second-most in Seminole history. He finished his career third in the FSU annuals in career passing yards, third in completions and sixth in passing touchdowns.
In Dawsey's first two seasons at Florida State he helped Greg Carr climb the charts as one of the most productive receivers in school history. Greg Carr finished his career with 148 catches for 2,574 yards and 29 career touchdowns.
In 2007, Dawsey's first season, Florida State boasted three receivers - Preston Parker, De'Cody Fagg and Carr - with 700 or more receiving yards for the first time in school history.
Beyond the playing field, Dawsey has established himself as one of the nation's top recruiters. He's picked up the Seminoles' efforts in the Tampa area and helped the Seminoles attract the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in 2011. He was named one of ESPN.com's Top 25 Recruiters of the Year in 2011. Dawsey was also named the 2011 ACC Recruiter of the Year by SI.com and one of the Top 25 recruiters in the nation in 2011 and 2012 by Rivals.com. He was selected as one of the top 50 recruiters in the country by 247Sports in 2012 and 2013.
Dawsey's first coaching job came as a high school assistant at Tampa Catholic in 1998. He did not return to the sideline until serving as a training camp assistant coach with the NFL's St. Louis Rams in 2001 and returned to the high school ranks in 2002 at Blake in Tampa.
He spent the 2003 season as a graduate assistant on Nick Saban's LSU staff, where he worked with Jimbo Fisher. The Tigers posted a 13-1 record and won the BCS National Championship.
Dawsey had the opportunity to work with LSU receiver Michael Clayton, who later became the No. 1 selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and broke several of Dawsey's rookie receiving records with the club.
The season at LSU opened the door for Dawsey's first, full-time college position as he returned to Tampa as the wide receivers coach at USF from 2004-2006. As a recruiter, he was instrumental in landing the talent which helped the Bulls break on to the national scene. USF's passing offense also took flight during Dawsey's three seasons and ranked among the best in the Big East.
Dawsey was an integral part of the Seminole football dynasty as a player. His four seasons at wide receiver corresponded with the first four 10-win, top-five poll finishes by FSU. As a player, he was known for his work ethic, accountability, precision route-running, down-field blocking and the ability to rise to the occasion in big games. Those are the same qualities he has instilled in his current group of receivers.
A third-round selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1991, Dawsey enjoyed a seven-season NFL career. He also played for the New York Giants (1996), Miami Dolphins (1997) and New Orleans Saints (1999).
Dawsey was named the NFL Rookie of the Year by Sports Illustrated and named to the All-Rookie Team by Pro Football Weekly in 1991 after he led Tampa Bay with 55 receptions and set the club's rookie record with 818 receiving yards. Dawsey also led the team in receptions (60) and receiving yards (776) in 1992.
Dawsey's family also has enjoyed success as well. His daughter Dominique and son-in-law Michael Moffitt, both Florida State graduates, have each earned their M.D. at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. Dominique is a clinical resident in Anesthesiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital - a Harvard University Hospital. He and his wife, Chantal, also have a son, Lawrence, Jr., who will be a junior in high school in IB (International Baccalaureate Program).