Bold Prediction No. 1: Murray leads the team in receiving yards

As we creep closer to the start of the season, we here at NoleGameday are making some early bold predictions for the 2017 season. There are many interesting aspects about this upcoming squad and storylines that we may start to take shape throughout the course of the season. From who leads the team in receiving yards to the state of the backup quarterback unit, let’s take a look at how things might turn out next year.

Right now, the wide receiver corps is in a state of transition. Gone are Travis Rudolph, Bobo Wilson and Kermit Whitfield, three players who have been mainstays of the passing game for the past couple of seasons. None of them were draft picks, but they were good college players who made life easy for the quarterbacks on Florida State’s roster.

The two main playmakers that are returning are Auden Tate and Nyqwan “Noonie” Murray. Both showcased their potential over the course of last season. Tate emerged as a red-zone threat while Murray displayed his big-play ability, especially after his two-touchdown performance against Michigan.

It’s fair to say that Tate and Murray are 1A and 1B at the wide receiver position right now. Both are capable of being a No. 1 receiver at the college level. Tate brings elite size to the position at 6-5, 225-pounds, taller than any defensive back Florida State will see this year. Murray is smaller at 5-11, 176-pounds, but has showcased a good route tree and an ability to take the top off a defense.

With that being said, I’m going to call for Murray to lead this team in receiving yards in 2017.

Yes, Tate has a size advantage, but sub-six foot receivers like Rudolph and Rashad Greene have led the Seminoles in receiving yards for some time now. Greene was one of the most advanced route runners in college football during his time while Rudolph certainly showcased elite potential throughout his career.

Murray brings a different element to the table. Yes, there have been some questions about his effort, but his overall body of work as a sophomore proved that he is capable of being a No. 1 receiver at the college level.

The junior receiver showed up on some of the biggest stages last year. He caught six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown versus Clemson, nine passes for 153 yards against North Carolina State, and two passes for 104 yards and a pair of scores versus Michigan.

Adding to the hype is the fact that Murray’s name has been added to the early Heisman odds, sitting at an outsider’s shot at 100/1. His own teammate, Rudolph, went on the record and compared Murray to five-time Pro Bowler Antonio Brown.

Look for Murray to become Francois’ top target in 2017. With another year under his belt, he will have a better understanding of the playbook and route tree. If he can pair that with his big-play ability (like he showed versus Michigan), then Murray will have a great shot to be Florida State’s first 1,000-yard receiver since Greene departed following the 2014 season.

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