Tallahassee, Fla. — A pair of Seminole receivers received national recognition Wednesday as senior Kermit Whitfield and junior Travis Rudolph were named to the Preseason Watch List for the 2016 Biletnikoff Award, presented annually by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation. The duo is among 53 players on the preseason watch list and the Seminoles are one of 11 schools with multiple student-athletes selected.
Whitfield finished second on the team last season in receiving yards (798) and touchdown receptions (6) and third in catches with 57 – all-single-season career bests. The Orlando, Fla., native garnered second team All-ACC honors in 2015 as a wide receiver from both the media and coaches. Whitfield was also a threat on special teams as an explosive kickoff returner, earning third team All-ACC honors as a special teams player by the coaches and honorable mention accolades from the media. Whitfield is the FSU all-time leader in kickoff return yards (1,791), as well as highest average per return (26.3) among players with at least 30 returns.
Rudolph led the team in receptions (59), receiving yards (916) and touchdown receptions (7) in 2015, setting single-season career highs in each category. He earned a spot on the All-ACC Second Team from the media and received All-ACC Honorable Mention accolades from the coaches. The West Palm Beach, Fla., native closed out the 2015 season posting single-game career-highs for both receptions (7) and yards (201) against Houston in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. It marked the first 200-yard receiving game of his career and was the most by a Seminole in a bowl game, surpassing the previous record of 195 yards set by Javon Walker against Virginia Tech in the 2002 Gator Bowl. Following the 2016 spring season Rudolph was named one of three offensive MVPs and presented with the Community Service Award.
The Biletnikoff Award is given to the country’s top receiver at any position, not merely wide receiver. It is named after NFL, College Football and Florida State Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff, who had an outstanding career for the Seminoles from 1962-64. Biletnikoff went on to a 14-year career in the NFL, including a Super Bowl Championship in 1977 where he was named Super Bowl MVP.
The list of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award will be announced November 14, while the three finalists will be chosen November 22. The 2016 Biletnikoff Award winner will be named on December 8 at The Home Depot College Football Awards Show, and will be presented his trophy at the Biletnikoff Award Banquet February 17, 2017 in Tallahassee, FL.