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.