If Florida State is going to make the jump some experts are predicting, the offense, specifically the passing game, has to make a leap in 2022.
Of of the most exciting things about the hire of Mike Norvell was anticipating how an elite play caller like him would make the offense at FSU lethal.
Other than the running game. that hasn’t happened yet, and that’s due to the passing attack over the past two seasons. There’s a lot that goes into a good passing attack - a good quarterback, an offensive line that can protect, and playmakers that can get open.
FSU’s offensive line allowed more than three sacks a game in 2021, which has happened now four years in a row. The offense lost 351 yards in tackles for loss last season, putting them in tough down and distances which resulted in the nation’s 109th best 3rd down percentage.
While there’s excitement for the jump in both quarterback and offensive line play, today we’re going to talk about that third piece - the playmakers. Who will step up and lead this offense in 2021?
The Seminoles lose Jashaun Corbin (25 receptions) and Andrew Parchment (24 receptions) to the NFL, but their top overall threat returns. Ontaria Wilson had 23 catches in 2021, and he lead the team with just 382 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns.
Those stats need a significant improvement to help the offense not become so predictable.
Mike Norvell and his staff did a tremendous job of supplementing the depth chart through the portal this off-season. They brought in four Power-5 transfers in Winston Wright, Mycah Pittman, Johnny Wilson and Duece Spann.
Ja’Khi Douglas made some big-time plays late in the season, and Malik McClain looks to make a jump after a solid freshman season. Keyshawn Helton, Darion Williamson and Kentron Poitier round out the receivers.
Can McDonald had an interesting season in 2021. While he was underused, he made plays when given an opportunity. With question marks behind him he will need to be utilized more in an offense that is typically tight end friendly.
Throughout spring we saw some hints that the receiving corps will be better in 2022. Winston Wright was working on separation and getting off of the line before a horrible injury set him back, and Johnny Wilson showed to be a big time player that occasionally dropped the ball too much. Spann is the one that may be the best long term. At the end of spring, Pittman looked like a real threat.
What was a positive sign is the way guys like Wilson and Poitier stepped their game up, not giving the transfers any leeway or chance to separate themselves on the depth chart.
So, what’s a reasonable result from the FSU passing attack?
FSU threw for 2,419 yards in 2021. With better quarterback play and better offensive line play, it falls on the receivers. 2,800-3,000 yards is within reach for this offense. The 222.8 yards per game in 2021 was 88th nationally - that must be better.
It comes down to the attempts also. FSU was 99th in passes per game while also giving up a 10.79% sack rate.
Here are the top pass catchers for 2022:
Winston Wright: 50 catches, 550 yards, 6 TDs
Malik McClain: 35 catches, 450 yards, 5 TDs
Mycah Pittman: 30 catches, 375 yards, 4 TDs
Ontaria Wilson: 30 catches, 350 yards, 4 TDs
Johnny Wilson: 30 catches, 350 yards, 4 TDs
Cam McDonald: 25 catches, 325 yards, 4 TDs
Keyshawn Helton: 23 catches, 315 yards, 3 TDs
Ja’Khi Douglas: 20 catches, 300 yards, 3 TDs
Lawrance Toafili: 20 catches, 200 yards, 1 TD
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