Aug. 16, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Jimbo Fisher came off the field Thursday afternoon disappointed. Not in his team, which had just wrapped up a successful first scrimmage of fall camp, and not in a particular player that didn’t meet expectations or made a bad play or two.
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No, Fisher was disappointed that Greg Dent wasn’t able to participate because of a minor elbow injury he sustained at an earlier practice.
And why was FSU’s third-year coach upset that Dent, a junior wide receiver that has caught 13 career passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns, wasn’t able to scrimmage?
Because he’s been the ‘Noles’ most dangerous preseason weapon, that’s why.
“I’m going to tell you what, Greg Dent’s had the best fall of all the wide outs,” Fisher said. “By far. By far. I mean really established himself.”
This isn’t the first time that Fisher has shared his fondness for Dent’s evolution into a playmaking pass catcher.
He’s mentioned the Belle Glade, Fla. native’s name a few times this month as being a player that has impressed on the practice fields despite having to wear a non-contact jersey while making a return from a knee injury.
“You would think that he has some magic potion or something,” quarterback Clint Trickett said. “He’s been playing his butt off.”
After catching just one pass for 12 yards as a freshman in 2010, Dent hauled in 12 last year for 236 yards and two scores. Included in those totals were a field-stretching 50-yard touchdown bomb from EJ Manuel in the win over Louisiana-Monroe and his jumping and turning reception on the side of Doak Campbell’s south endzone in the win over Maryland.
Both were great plays and flashes of the potential and playmaking ability of a high school player that was once named MVP of the infamous Muck Bowl in South Florida.
But FSU’s offensive coaches wanted to see more.
“I’ve been waiting for this because I think Dent’s got a ton of ability and he’s being consistent,” Fisher said. “He’s got juice to run away from you and run with the ball.”
So while Rashad Greene gets talked about the most in the Seminoles’ receiving corps and Kelvin Benjamin has the most buzz among the wide outs, it’s the seldom-heard-from Dent that has developed into the player Fisher and his staff thought he could be when he chose FSU over Miami his senior year of high school.
A crowded depth chart, a recovering knee — and now a healing elbow — haven’t slowed that progression.
“It’s about giving the coaches and the quarterback that confidence in you that they can trust you,” said Dent, who is also in the rotation at kick and punt return. “Then you have to make something happen when you get that chance. I’m trying real hard to do that.”