Florida State Football: Rashad Greene Could Be 'Noles Best WR of All-Time

Bob Ferrante@@bobferranteContributor IAugust 29, 2014

If there's one thing missing from Rashad Greene's game, it's the flash. 

The Florida State senior will showcase his speed and soft hands. He's a smooth route-runner but also a tenacious blocker.

What's lacking is the flash. The prima donna mentality that is almost engrained in the DNA of an elite receiver is sorely lacking.

Greene has built quite the resume through quiet consistency. He's led FSU in receptions three straight seasons and could become the first Seminole to do that in four consecutive years.

He is fourth on FSU's all-time list for career receptions (171), sixth in career receiving yards (2,465) and seventh in career receiving touchdowns (22).

FSU career receiving yards leaders
1. Ron Sellers1966-683,598
2. Peter Warrick1996-993,517
3. E.G. Green1994-972,920
4. Kez McCorvey1991-942,660
5. Greg Carr2005-082,574
6. Rashad Greene2011-present2,465
FSU media guide

Greene, not surprisingly, isn't concerned with the fact that he's within striking distance of placing his name atop FSU's lists.

"It's definitely not something that I set up as an individual goal," Greene said. "It's just a part of the work that I put in, and that's the result. That's a great accomplishment, but at the same time I don't think it will hit me until I am done playing football."

Greene only needs 10 touchdowns to pass Peter Warrick for the all-time lead. That's more than Greene has ever had in a single season at FSU, but it's possible if he stays healthy, is productive and FSU could play a 15-game season if they reach the national title game.

FSU career receiving TDs leaders
1. Peter Warrick1996-9931
2. E.G. Green1994-9729
2. Greg Carr2005-0829
4. Barry Smith1970-7225
5. Andre Cooper1993-9624
6. Ron Sellers1966-6823
7. Rashad Greene2011-present22
FSU media guide

Greene was an All-ACC pick in 2013, but his name was left off the major All-American teams despite grabbing 76 receptions (the second highest in a single season in school history) for 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns. The AP team, for example, selected a first, second and third team but did not mention Greene.

Part of that is Greene's consistency was often overlooked because he was part of a trio of talented receivers last year with Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin, both of whom are now in the NFL.

But ESPN analyst Desmond Howard, a Heisman Trophy winner and receiver at Michigan in the 1990s, loves Greene. Howard argues that there simply weren't enough receptions to go around between the trio—as well as standout tight end Nick O'Leary.

Still, Greene has been the primary target, first for quarterback EJ Manuel in 2011 and '12 and then for Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston last season. Greene missed a few games as a freshman with an ankle injury yet still led FSU in receptions with 38. He had 58 catches in 2012 before a breakout junior season.

"It's very challenging to do that year after year after year," Howard said. "That speaks volumes to me. After one season, if you're the leading receiver on a team, coming into the next season everybody's defensive scouting report is going to be, 'We have to take this kid away. He was the leading receiver a year ago, so we have to give him extra attention.'

"For him to be able to do that for three seasons is nothing short of remarkable."

His production year after year has put him in select company. The easiest of the records to break would be career receptions. Greene is just 42 away from Ron Sellers, and that's a number that he could reach in early November (he's averaged 4.6 receptions per game in his career but hit 5.4 catches per game in 2013).

FSU career receptions leaders
1. Ron Sellers1966-68212
2. Peter Warrick1996-99207
3. Kez McCorvey1991-94189
4. Rashad Greene2011-current171
FSU media guide

Greene was a star prospect coming out of Fort Lauderdale's St. Thomas Aquinas in 2011. As a senior he had 43 receptions for 943 yards (21.9 yards per catch) with 13 touchdowns.

Yet Greene was often overlooked by fans who were more enamored with another receiver from the 2011 class: Benjamin. He was taller (6'5") and bigger (260 pounds) and physically looked like an impossible matchup for college corners.

But Benjamin turned out to be a project, a receiver who needed to redshirt and then more time to refine his skills. Greene, however, arrived polished and ready to contribute.

"In camp his freshman year, I realized that this kid was going to have a chance to be a good football player," said FSU receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey, who was a Seminoles wideout and played for seven seasons in the NFL in the 1990s. "I knew he had a chance to be special if he worked hard."

Greene did just that. He caught a touchdown pass in his first five games as a freshman and capped 2011 with 99 receiving yards and a 15-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown in a bowl win over Notre Dame.

In 2012, he became the first Seminole since Peter Warrick in 1999 to score receiving, rushing and return touchdowns in the same season. Greene contributed in every game as FSU won an ACC title, but it may not have happened had he not taken a short catch from Manuel and sprinted 39 yards in the final minute to defeat Virginia Tech on the road in November.

Last year, he had five 100-yard games and sparked FSU's biggest wins en route to a title. In an October top-five showdown at Clemson, Greene caught eight passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He added a season-high nine receptions for 147 yards against Auburn in the national title game, including a 49-yard catch-and-run down to the Tigers' 23 with 1:05 left. In a game full of big plays, that was right up there—and it set up Winston's game-sealing touchdown toss to Benjamin in the final seconds.

He has at least three receptions in 19 straight games.

"Consistency," Dawsey said. "Showing up in the big games. Making plays."

Greene contemplated (briefly) leaving for the NFL after his junior season. He knew Shaw was a senior and would be gone. Benjamin was a draft-eligible redshirt sophomore and was weighing his options.

But just days after the win over Auburn, Greene had made up his mind to stay.

"I considered it at one point, but then I realized that I could never get this time back," Greene said. "All of the advice that I got from people (was) it's no rush. You can never return to college and have that experience at any point in your life but you can always go to the NFL. I wanted to get my degree, that's something that my father wanted me to achieve."

Try picturing an FSU receiving corps in 2014 without Shaw, Benjamin and Greene. His decision to return was huge for Winston and the offense.

"It's real big," Winston said. "He's a true brother to me. When adversity hit our team, we got that brotherhood together. I love him."

Greene felt there was more to accomplish. A degree. Another national title. But Greene also wanted to take FSU's young wide receivers under his wing. He wanted to mentor sophomores like Kermit Whitfield, Jesus Wilson and Isaiah Jones as well as freshmen Travis Rudolph, Ermon Lane and Ja'Vonn Harrison.

Greene is extremely soft spoken. But he is a leader (often by example) and loves to teach.

"(I) just try to be a leader to those younger guys because I knew we were restocking at receiver," Greene said. "Show them the way so that they could always have that trait to pass it on and pass it on."

And thus Greene has a chance to pass all of the FSU receiving greats. Many of the numbers Greene is chasing belong to Ron Sellers, an FSU star in the 1960s. Sellers is atop FSU's career charts in receptions (212) and receiving yards (3,598). Greene is pursuing Warrick, who had 31 TD receptions from 1996-99.

"I think he's outstanding," Sellers said of Greene. "One of the greatest receivers of all time at Florida State."

Perhaps, by the end of the season, the greatest.

Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report, all quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Stats and records courtesy of FSU media guides. Follow Bob on Twitter. All recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.


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