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Analysis: FSU takes transfer route for quick fix at WR

Florida State went into the early signing day with the need to get at least one if not two receivers in the 2022 class, but instead the coaching staff came away empty.

The Seminoles head into the 2022 season with: Joshua Burrell, Ja’Khi Douglas, Keyshawn Helton, Malik McClain, Kentron Poitier, Darion Williamson, Ontaria Wilson and Jordan Young. With the return of Helton and Wilson, FSU gets two veterans who return and give some stability at a position that so desperately needs it. Helton had a very good start to his career until an injury sidetracked him in 2019. Wilson has always been up and down and that needs to stop in 2022. Receivers like Poitier and Williamson have flashed but have never been able to give you any consistency from play to play let alone week to week.

With all this uncertainty FSU was trying to upgrade the roster through the high school ranks. With the de-commitment of Devaughn Mortimer, who chose Louisville on NSD, and Kevin Coleman losing interest in FSU once OC Kenny Dillingham went west, FSU had no other choice than to travel back into the portal and pull some receivers. 

FSU targeted four receivers: Johnny Wilson, Mycah Pittman, Deuce Spann and Taj Harris. FSU was able to pull three of their targets, landing Wilson, Pittman and Spann. We will break down each of these targets and what they bring to FSU. 

Deuce Spann: (Transfer from Illinois, St. Petersburg Lakewood): Coming out of high school we had Spann as the 107th overall prospect in the Sunshine State. While a raw prospect we wrote that “His skill set is that of a prospect who can play beyond Saturdays.” We felt Spann had NFL talent. This is a prospect who is 6-foot-4 and can run. Those are two attributes that you just can’t pass up. This past season, as a freshman at Illinois, Spann moved from quarterback to receiver. He was a big-play threat, catching five passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He gives FSU just what the doctor ordered, a big receiver who can stretch the field. Big plays have been missing from FSU. We feel Spann finally gives them that option on the outside that can force opposing defenses to not stack the box. Spann has the most upside of any receiver they have brought in the past couple of seasons and we expect him to make his mark in 2022. 

Mycah Pittman: (Transfer from Oregon, Calabasas HS-California): As a freshman Pittman had 18 receptions for 227 yards and two touchdowns, he followed that up with eight receptions for 123 yards and no touchdowns and in 2021 he had 12 receptions for 197 yards and no touchdowns. Pittman was also used on special teams as a punt returner. He has displayed good hands and also has shown the ability to get open. What he lacks for an undersized receiver is that top-end gear to get separation from defensive backs. He is a smaller possession receiver. If he can have a career year and get over 25-30 receptions for FSU and have close to 500-600 yards and four-five touchdowns, Pittman will be a great addition.

Johnny Wilson: (Transfer from Arizona State, Calabasas HS-California): Intriguing. If there was one word that would describe this kid that would be it. Not since Kelvin Benjamin was on campus has FSU had a receiver with Wilson’s physical attributes. This is a high risk/high reward player to bring in. Wilson has great size and can run. He is a hybrid wide receiver-tight end. You can move him around and try and take advantage of his size. Put him on a linebacker and Wilson will run away from them. Put a defensive back on Wilson and you have a major mismatch. Of all three of the receivers FSU brought in through the portal, Wilson has the greatest upside. He is a guy that should help improve the Seminoles’ third- and fourth-down percentages. He can also be a major threat in the red zone.

Final thoughts

Developing players from high school is often a better route to rebuild a team than through the portal. FSU has had some success through the portal by landing guys like Jashaun Corbin, Jermaine Johnson and Keir Thomas. With that being said the Seminoles still only went 5-7 in 2021.

For coach Mike Norvell to have greater success at FSU it will be through the high school ranks. If you need to fill a hole in your roster, like with the receiver position, then FSU did a very good job of that with these three additions. It is a numbers game and if one of these guys ends up a starter and another a contributor then the staff did its job. We like the three players they brought in and feel that all of them can help improve what was a weakness in 2021 and make it a strength in 2022.