By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
@Tim_Linafelt on Twitter
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Louisville receiver DeVante Parker spent the first seven games of the 2014 season sidelined with a foot injury.
He returned last week — just in time for a tune-up before Florida State visits on Oct. 30 — and debuted with a nine-catch, 132-yard outburst against North Carolina State.
It was more than enough to catch the Seminoles’ attention.
“Very, very good receiver,” FSU defensive back Jalen Ramsey said. “Very dynamic. His last game, he dominated. “
With a 6-3, 211-pound frame and a 4.34 time in the 40-yard dash, Parker projects as a potential first-round draft pick. Which is why FSU’s secondary feels fortunate to have lined up across from so many talented receivers in recent years.
“It helps a lot, to be honest,” junior cornerback Ronald Darby said. “It helps you during the game, it helps you prepare. It helps you work on your technique.”
Benjamin’s last-minute touchdown catch lifted the Seminoles to the 2013 national title.
He was later drafted by Carolina in the first round and is among the favorites to win NFL offensive rookie of the year honors.
Greene, meanwhile, has been the model of consistency throughout his career and is considered the 10th-best pro receiver prospect by CBS Sports.
Parker’s closest comparison might be Benjamin, although even that might be a stretch.
The two posted similar numbers a year ago (54 catches, 1,011 yards and 15 TDs for Benjamin; 55, 885 and 12 for Parker), but the 6-5, 240-pound Benjamin is still significantly larger.
In Ramsey’s mind, defending Benjamin is as tough as it gets.
“There’s no one who compares to ‘KB,’ honestly,” Ramsey said. “I don’t feel like there’s anyone who compares to Rashad. But they give us such great practice that when it comes to game time, I feel like I’m so much prepared, ready to just go out there and play. I’m not worried about anything.”
Still, Parker and his cohorts will likely challenge an FSU defense that has at times been susceptible against the pass this season.
FSU’s pass defense, among the nation’s best last year, ranks 11th in the Atlantic Coast Conference after allowing 227.9 yards per game.
And while Louisville passing offense ranks a middling seventh in the league (225.8 yards per game), those numbers came in large part without Parker in the lineup.
“He’s a big, strong, athletic guy and I’ve known about him before,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He’s the real deal. That guy’s a heck of player.”