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Rector enjoying move to TE, looking for opportunity to contribute

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There were plenty of storylines surrounding FSU football prior to the cancellation of spring football due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Of course, there is the battle at quarterback, where James Blackman, Jordan Travis and Tate Rodemaker were trying to prove their mettle for first-year coach Mike Norvell. Everyone is curious to see how the offensive line will develop as the Seminoles work towards the start of the 2020 season. And then the story on defense has been the transition back to a 4-3 base front under new defensive coordinator Adam Fuller and exactly who will playing where in that defense.

One of the stories that has received less attention has been the move of Wyatt Rector, who transferred to FSU from Western Michigan as a quarterback and is now making the transition to tight end. And while FSU held only three practices this spring, two in shorts and helmets and one in full pads, Rector has not gone unnoticed as he looks to find a way to help his team on gamedays in 2020.

The move was necessary in part due to Tre’ McKitty taking the graduate transfer route to Georgia and the graduation of Gabe Nabers. That left FSU with just two tight ends, Camren McDonald and Austin White, returning from last year’s team and just three tight ends on the roster for the spring with the early enrollment of true freshman Carter Boatright prior to Rector’s move.

The Leesburg (FL) High School product is happy to have the opportunity to compete anywhere to help his team.

“Whenever Coach Norvell first got here, one of the first things he asked me was if I was willing to move positions to help the team and my instant reaction was absolutely,” said Rector of the move.

One of the reasons he was open to the move was that he felt helpless watching his team struggle last year as he sat out 2019 after transferring from Western Michigan.

“With my situation last year, I had to sit out a whole year and it kind of like tore me up inside a little bit seeing all the things that was happening on the field, knowing I could have helped at other positions, whether it was quarterback, if it was special teams,” continued Rector. “That was one of the first things he (Norvell) asked me and I told him I would play anywhere.”

Rector also believes his time at quarterback has made the transition to his new position easier.

“It’s a little different,” said Rector of playing tight end. “I think playing quarterback helped me get to know other positions. So I kind of got a step on my part with the knowledge of what the tight end has previous to what I was doing at quarterback. Knowing what he had to do with steps and everything else but obviously the blocking was new because obviously at practice when I was playing quarterback, they couldn’t touch me and everything. But I love it though. I eat it up. It’s been a good transition so far. It’s just you’ve got to keep learning and get 1 percent better every day.”

It had been several years since Rector had participated in a one-on-one blocking drill when FSU lined up to go through the Oklahoma drill last Thursday but his experience in high school gave him some idea of what he could expect.

“It was new but at my high school (where he played quarterback) they actually made me do the Oklahoma drills too,” said Rector. “So I would go against the linebackers, defensive line and everything else. So it was nice kind of getting back to that, getting a little contact in to start the practice, it felt good.”

One of the things that has helped Rector has been the addition of 16 pounds of muscle he has added since the Sun Bowl. He now weighs 236 pounds but also knows he has some growth to do at his new position from a technical aspect.

“I feel like I’ve done a good job with my route running,” began Rector on the strengths and weaknesses at tight end. “I’ve got to get better at my releases, coming off. I feel I’ve gotten better at some of the blocks but I’ve got to work better on my technique, exploding out, using my hands better.”

The redshirt sophomore is also excited about his chance to help on special teams this upcoming season.

“I feel like I did really good on special teams too,” said Rector. “I still have to get better with the mechanics and everything else but that will come but it’s Day 3 and we’ve just got to keep on getting better.”

FSU may be stuck on Day 3 for a while but Rector’s story certainly has some parallels to what is going on in the real world right now. Sometimes we have to leave our comfort zone and do what’s good for the betterment of the people around us and Rector is demonstrating the willingness to do that for his new coach and his teammates.

Comments

  1. Chris Reply

    Does the TE ever throw there ball in this offense?

    • Pat Burnham Reply

      Not that I am aware of but Wyatt looks to have good hands catching the ball and certainly isn’t afraid to stick his nose in it after what we saw from him in the Oklahoma Drill.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      I can’t think of a time I’ve seen a tight end throw the ball but the guys with the whistles get paid to adapt to the talent of their players, so…

      Over the years, FSU has converted quarterbacks to tight ends. Can anyone name one?

      • Chris Reply

        Can’t think of one, although I’m having difficulty thinking about the TEs at FSU. I could see Jimbo converting a QB to TE.

      • Bob Ferrante Reply

        Dan Kendra was more fullback than tight end. Jimbo wanted Xavier Lee to be a tight end. Who are we forgetting about?

        • Pat Burnham Reply

          Kendra was my thought to but like you classified him as a FB. I think Jimbo moved a backup QB to TE during one of his latter years at FSU but I can’t remember the name of that player.

        • Chris Reply

          I’m thinking if you move a QB to TE, it’s not because of his blocking ability but because he is an athlete. I can’t think of any pass-catchers at TE that were converted. But just like Old Joe, I might be losing a little bit upstairs.

  2. Jim Gladden Reply

    WHEN RECRUITING, you evaluate prospects as overall athletes not just locked in @ one position. When a need presents itself on the team, as a Staff you try and evaluate your squad and ask who on this team could we convert to that position of need. Examples, Odell Haggins came in here as a highly regarded Linebacker, Derrick Brooks as a safety, they were football players first. During my time at FSU there were numerous players who came in at one position but ended up playing another, if they have a Competitive HEART, they just want to be out there on the field playing.

    To this move of Rector from QB. to Tight End is a win- win situation for him and our team. He knows the offense, the coverages, and where the soft spots are in the opponent coverages. If he has the size and is tough enough to stick his nose in there to Block, that makes for a good fit.

    I recruited a HS QB out of Port Orange, FL named Tom Wheeler. He had all the qualities we just spoke about, Knowledge of coverage, toughness and WANT TO. WE Had a NEED @ TE and he was down the line on the depth chart @ QB and wanted to play somewhere. He made the move and helped us win. He was one of our stand outs in the game vs. Arizona State in Tempe.

    There are a number of players who came thru here at one position and ended up playing another. Weggie Thompson from QB to Rec. played in the NFL, Dan Kendra QB to FB. Kelli Lowerie to TE (and back to QB).

    My College Coach taught those of us who were going into Coaching that the Tight End position was the most important position on the Line of Scrimmage if you want to develop a good running game.

    So in recruiting yes you are looking for that Kid that can take you to the promised land @ QB but if he is an average Joe and can’t contribute, he can become a Locker Room Lawyer, and you don’t need that. Anyone who has played the Critical Position @ QB does have an advantage by knowing coverages, where the weaknesses of the defenses are, and should have a feel regarding how to make the offense successful PASS OR RUN. If you watch the teams that play on Sunday that are successful, almost All utilize the Tight End position. He is the forgotten man by most modern Defensive Schemes.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      I wanted to let Gladden weigh in before I mentioned Tom Wheeler, who was recruited as a QB from Spruce Creek but became a pretty sporty tight end. I didn’t see if he ever had a pass attempt. But he was a tough hombre as a blocker and had soft hands as a receiver. He is now a high school coach in Bainbridge, GA and has a son who is a good player too.

      Can anyone think of anyone else? A challenge.

  3. christopher coombs Reply

    I can see how knowing the coverages would help for getting in space. The two TEs playing in the last Super Bowl are like what Coach Gladden was describing. It was pretty evident Dan Kendra was one of those Dudes, too, and Anquan Boldin showed it at FSU and the NFL. Those guys would do anything to help the team succeed. Thanks for some interesting Seminole knowledge. I can hunker down for a while with this type of reading.

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