Meet the New Loco Ocho

Another year, another new number eight. You may remember Nyqwan “Noonie” Murray from his heroics against Michigan in the Orange Bowl, but that was only the beginning for this special player. Two years ago, I had the privilege of watching FSU wide receivers’ go through drills. Every receiver used two hands to catch the ball in these drills, except for one: Noonie. As a true freshman, Murray was confidently snagging balls with one hand like he was OBJ. During his sophomore year, he showed flashes of his brilliance throughout the season. Now, going into his junior year, expect Murray to get the majority of targets this year. This past season, he somehow finished 3rd in receiving yards despite having only 5 catches for 46 yards going into the Clemson game. After Bobo Wilson went down with injury, Noonie rose to the occasion. He finished the season with 395 yards and five touchdowns on only 22 catches over six games. That’s good for 23% of his catches being a touchdown. With an expected increase in targets for this year, Murray should be a touchdown machine. He is an electric play-maker, precise route runner, and has the best hands on the team. Noonie is also lethal in the open field, as he possesses great vision. Watch him navigate through Clemson’s defense on this mid-screen, a play I think FSU runs a lot next year:

Pay attention to his cut on Clemson’s #18. Murray is very smooth in his movements, whether he has the ball in his hands or not. Where Noonie maybe excels the most is high pointing the ball. It is rare that a wide receiver of his size can consistently go up and get the ball in a one on one situation. In addition, Murray has incredible ball adjustment skills. It is almost Antonio Brown-esque, the way Noonie can play like a big receiver despite standing 5’11. The Michigan touchdown catch is obviously his most memorable example of adjusting and high pointing the ball, but check out what he did against Clemson:

Despite the double coverage, Murray is able to use his body to shield the defenders and catch the ball through contact. This is the play they show you in ball adjustment 101. It’s hard to believe Noonie didn’t get even more targets last year. Francois and Murray were in the 2014 recruiting class together, so this will be their third year together. Building chemistry with wide receivers is a very underrated factor in football, which is why true freshman and NFL rookies can struggle early. With repetition comes familiarity, and Francois should be very familiar with Murray by now. Expect the new Loco Ocho to lead FSU in nearly every receiving category. After all, he’s already stitched forever in Florida State history:

Full Nyqwan “Noonie” Murray highlights (via Noles Productions/YT):

Ben Brewton
Writer at Nole Gameday covering football and basketball. FSU alum. Follow me on twitter (@Ben_Brewton) and we can talk sports. On the 8th day, God created college football.

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