He may only have three career catches to his credit, but Florida State missed Jesus “Bobo” Wilson in the team’s close-call victory over Oklahoma State last weekend.
Wilson, a true sophomore who played sparingly a season ago as a backup behind FSU’s triple-headed receiver rotation of Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin, was expected to push for a starter’s role entering the offseason. But that plan was at least temporarily delayed when Wilson was arrested over the summer for his role in an on-campus theft of a scooter.
In July, the athletic pass-catcher pleaded no contest to a pair of misdemeanor charges for petty theft and criminal mischief.
Wilson was still permitted to practice with the Seminoles during fall camp, but—despite making the trek to Texas with his teammates for the season opener—was benched in FSU’s 37-31 triumph at AT&T Stadium. Two days later, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher announced Wilson would be available for Saturday’s home game against The Citadel.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and been very mature in handling things,” Fisher said. “I think sometimes taking a guy to a game and making him sit there is a lot worse than leaving him at home. You know, just the joy of going out there and watching your teammates when you could be part of it, I think it’s very critical to how much people depend and count on you.”
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston is counting on having another target to rely on in the passing game.
His up-and-down performance against the Cowboys was a product of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner admittedly trying too hard to duplicate last season’s heroics, while also continuing to get comfortable with his revamped receiving corps. The byproduct was a passing game that starred Greene and his 11 grabs for 203 yards and a score, but perhaps relied too much on the sure-handed senior.
Wilson still may be inexperienced, but he has been catching passes from Winston on the practice fields for more than a year.
“It puts a smile on my face because we have all of our weapons now,” Winston told the media Wednesday. “We were missing our brother at first, but now he is back. I am really excited to throw him some touchdowns.”
Added Winston: “He is kind of like Kermit [Whitfield] in a sense, but his field awareness—the way he can get open and make plays after he catches—is amazing.”
A former 3-star recruit, according to 247Sports, the 5'9", 177-pound Wilson is shifty and explosive and can play in either the slot or outside. Last season, he showed an ability to be an effective punt returner, notching 86 total yards on eight punt returns. He could be in the mix for those duties this year, although Greene is still listed as the starter in that role.
In FSU's April spring game, Wilson caught four passes for 101 yards and one touchdown.
With Wilson in the mix and Greene expected to continue his march toward virtually all of the FSU receiving records, Winston and the offense still could feature redshirt senior Christian Green (two catches for 73 yards against Oklahoma State), Whitfield, Jarred Haggins and true freshman Travis Rudolph, who saw action in the first game and could have an expanded role this weekend. Fellow rookies Ermon Lane and Ja’Von Harrison could also play roles in the offense as they get more comfortable with Winston.
For now at least, the ‘Noles get a much-needed boost from a player many expect to make an impact.
“I’m hopeful and we’ll see,” Fisher said about Wilson’s return. “But I thought Bobo had a great camp. That’s why we’ll get him back and we’ll have plans on playing him.”
Brandon Mellor is a Florida State writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Statistics courtesy of Seminoles.com. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
Follow @BrandonMellor on Twitter.