March 7, 2014
Rashad Greene is used to letting his play do the talking.
In each of his three seasons at Florida State, the talented pass catcher has led the Seminoles in catches and receiving yardage and twice he has led the team in touchdown grabs. Last year, he became the first FSU player to accumulate at least 1,000 yards in a season since Anquan Boldin did so in 2002.
A precise route runner with great hands, body control and track speed, Greene has never had a problem being an impact player on the field for the `Noles.
But now, he faces a new challenge. For the first time in his career, Greene is the veteran charged with being not just a leader with actions but a leader with words, too.
With Kelvin Benjamin, who became the second 1,000-yards receiver after eclipsing that mark in Pasadena, and Kenny Shaw preparing for the NFL Draft, Greene is the team's most experienced player at wide receiver entering spring practices. Christian Green and Jarred Haggins are both seniors, but Green hasn't yet been a consistent threat and Haggins missed all of last season with an injury.
"I'm definitely trying to lead the overall team a little more than I did last year," Greene said. "Not much will change. I still have belief in all the guys that we still have here. The guys that are coming in, we are going to make sure that they get caught up on stuff but I feel like it will be the same thing next year.
"I will kind of be a little more vocal but at the same time I can only be myself. I definitely want to lead by example and if need be I definitely will speak up."
Greene hauled in 76 catches for 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns as part of FSU's title run while Green was sixth on the team with 13 grabs for 157 yards. Before he ran back the game-changing kick return against Auburn, Levonte Whitfield notched five catches for 89 yards while adding three runs for 110 yards as a true freshman.
The trio of rising sophomores will be expected to utilize spring ball to take their games to the next level and help ease the loss of proven players like Benjamin and Shaw. Whitfield, Wilson and Jones each have different but complimentary skill-sets and a collective rise in their games could keep FSU's potent aerial attack in place.
Green came to FSU with high expectations as a high four-star recruit and his final season could be the one where he gets over the hump and becomes an every-down, breakout type of player. He has shown flashes of that potential before. Haggins' return means the `Noles have one more trustworthy receiver that has experience playing in games and in big moments despite battling the injury bug throughout his career.
Fisher said at the conclusion of 4th Quarter Drills that Haggins looks the best he ever has during his four years in Tallahassee.
"[Green and Haggins] know the offense, know the system so they have an advantage to come in and get back into the system," Greene said. "And those younger guys, I feel like they are my responsibility so anything that goes wrong with them I take all fault for it because I'm the leader and I want to lead by example and make them play up to my standards. That's my goal this year focusing on the younger guys and making sure that they compete at a high level as we did last year."
With six scholarship wide receivers on the roster for spring practices, opportunity certainly awaits Green, Haggins, Whitfield, Wilson and Jones.
The Seminoles are set to add five-stars Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph and four-star Ja'Von Harrison this summer so the impending infusion of talent only adds to the pressure for the returnees to make the most of their opportunities in March and April.
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