Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FSU needs more big plays from Keith Gavin

Keith Gavin makes his key return in last season's Orange Bowl as Michigan'sy Jordan Glasgow pursues. Florida State won 33-32. [Associated Press]

Keith Gavin makes his key return in last season's Orange Bowl as Michigan'sy Jordan Glasgow pursues. Florida State won 33-32. [Associated Press]

TALLAHASSEE — The eight games Florida State receiver Keith Gavin appeared in during his true freshman season boiled down to one play — his 66-yard kickoff return against Michigan.

It was an enormous play during the Orange Bowl, even if Gavin probably wasn't supposed to take the ball out of the end zone. The Seminoles were trailing 30-27 before Gavin hesitated, plowed over one would-be tackler and returned the kick to the Wolverines 34. Four players later, Deondre Francois threw the game-winning 12-yard touchdown pass to Nyqwan Murray with 36 seconds left.

But that play had some long-term effects, too, for Gavin.

"Obviously it boosted me up a little bit," Gavin said. "I really needed that, though, because I didn't do much my freshman year."

No, he did not. Although he played in FSU's final –four games (mostly on special teams), that return was his first career touch.

Gavin was highly recruited out of Crawfordville's Wakulla High, where he was teammates with Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks. Gavin was an Under Armour All-American, a four-star recruit and a two-time all-state player. He chose the Seminoles over Alabama and Florida, among others.

So the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Gavin had never had a year like 2016, when he sat on the bench and did little contribute.

If FSU is going to contend for a championship this year, Gavin will have to produce more than one highlight-reel kickoff return.

Although head coach Jimbo Fisher insists he isn't worried about the receiving corps' depth, position coach Lawrence Dawsey said it's the thinnest group he's had at FSU. Dawsey also said it's one of the most talented groups he's had at FSU, too.

"No doubt — the talent is there," Dawsey said.

And that leads back to Gavin.

Assuming Murray and Wharton High product Auden Tate continue to progress, FSU will need at least one more receiver to emerge, too. Maybe it's George Campbell, the former East Lake High star who missed last season with a core muscle injury. Maybe it's one of the freshmen, Tamorrion Terry or D.J. Matthews.

Or maybe it's Gavin.

It didn't come on a catch, but Gavin has already shown that he can change the game in a crunch-time situation against a big-name opponent.

"It gave me some confidence last year and coming into this season," Gavin said. "I have all the confidence now, so I'm ready."

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

FSU needs more big plays from Keith Gavin 08/09/17 [Last modified: Thursday, August 10, 2017 9:36am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)

    Golf

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  2. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb

    Blogs

    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  3. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. His ERA for past six starts: 5.29.

  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.