FSU’s Travis Rudolph was one of the most exciting playmakers in the ACC last season. Rudolph led the Seminoles with 59 receptions for 916 yards and seven touchdowns.
The sophomore emerged as FSU’s primary target despite splitting receptions with juniors Kermit Whitfield and Jesus Wilson. Rudolph is expected to keep that role in 2016.
With the Noles season just over a month away, let’s take a look at what makes the junior so explosive.
75-yard Stiff Arm TD against Syracuse
Rudolph provided one of the best highlights of 2015 against Syracuse. The play begins with quarterback Sean Maguire throwing downfield to him after he beats double coverage.
Rudolph adjusts to the pass, which seems to be overthrown enough to let the defensive backs catch up to him. He responds by breaking a pair of tackles before juking a third defender coming from his left side.
That alone would be enough to display his awesome combination of size and speed. But the highlight of the touchdown reception comes during the first of two stiff-arms within the 5-yard-line.
Rudolph makes the Syracuse defense look like a pop warner squad trying to cover a D-I college prospect. This play displays everything you would want from a big game receiver.
Rudolph showcased his size, speed and explosiveness in multiple ways during this 75-yard score. It also provides a glimpse of what FSU fans hope to see more of in 2016: Maguire and Rudolph connecting on big touchdown plays.
Goal Line score vs. Texas State
The Everett Golson project was a huge disappointment, but at least it started out on a high note. Rudolph provided the former Notre Dame quarterback with his first touchdown pass as a Seminole in Week 1 against Texas State.
While this is hardly his biggest highlight, the sophomore receiver showed the awareness to break off the defender and provide Golson with an open target on an easy drag route.
65-Yard Touchdown vs. Houston in Peach Bowl
This play is pure speed. Rudolph is about 15 yards past his primary defender when he catches the football. The only defense back remotely close to him came from across the field and there’s still a wide gap in between both players.
The sophomore got an outstanding jump off the line of scrimmage and burned past his defender. This is exactly what you hope to see from a home run threat receiver with blazing speed.
18-yard Touchdown vs. Oregon in 2015 College Football Playoff
This play was taken from the end of Rudolph’s freshman campaign in which he was second among FSU receivers in yards. The Seminoles didn’t have many highlights in their blowout loss against Oregon, excluding this 18-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston.
Rudolph makes the catch on the goal line with his body shifting towards the sideline, yet shows the awareness to contort and extend his arm past the pylon. You don’t expect to see these kinds of plays from a true freshman, but Rudolph showed the attentiveness to get the extra six points on this play.
These plays showcase why the rising junior should continue to be one of the ACC’s top playmakers in 2016 and bring explosiveness to FSU’s offense.