As the 2021 preseason approaches, Warchant’s staff will examine several different “What if?” scenarios regarding the Florida State football team.
These are not predictions that these events will happen, but a hypothetical analysis of how the Seminoles’ season would be impacted if they did.
Next up in this series is a look at Kansas wide receiver transfer Andrew Parchment.
Two years ago with the Jayhawks, Parchment was one of the top playmakers in the Big 12. He caught 65 passes in 2019 for 831 yards and seven touchdowns.
Parchment’s numbers took a major dip in 2020, as did the entire Kansas program. With the Jayhawks’ offense plagued by poor offensive line and quarterback play, Parchment caught just 24 passes for 197 yards and two scores. The team didn’t win a game, and Parchment would eventually enter the transfer portal, where he would hook up with Florida State.
It will only be a one-year marriage. For Parchment, it’s a chance to finish his career on a high note and play in his home state of Florida. He believes it could springboard him to a career in the NFL.
But what could it mean for the Seminoles? If Parchment produces the type of season he did two years ago in the Big 12 — or even better — what would that mean for the entire Florida State offense and the Seminoles’ 2021 season?
That is the premise of today’s, “What if?”
What if WR transfer Andrew Parchment produces for FSU like he did in 2019?
Answering this question are panel members Gene Williams, founder and administrator of Warchant.com; Ira Schoffel, managing editor; and Aslan Hajivandi, director of digital media.
GENE: Florida State has been spoiled through the years when it comes to having elite wide receiver talent. Having one or two gamebreakers on the field every year was just a given … until it wasn’t in 2020.
The need for a difference-maker at receiver is paramount for the Seminoles in 2021. This isn’t meant to be a slight at the returning wideouts, but there isn’t a player you would consider a “go-to” target or anyone who strikes fear in an opposing secondary. Having improved play at quarterback, and an improved offensive line, should do wonders for the offense this fall. However, the ceiling for this group will be low unless at least one wide receiver steps into a lead role.
The best hope for that is grad transfer Andrew Parchment. The former Kansas Jayhawk was named the Big 12’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 2019 after leading the team with 65 catches for 831 yards and seven touchdowns. To put these numbers into perspective, Ontaria Wilson led all FSU receivers last season with just 30 catches for 382 yards and two touchdowns.
If Parchment can post similar numbers this fall, it would be a boost for an offense that struggled greatly in the passing game last season (FSU was No. 117 in passing efficiency in 2020). Having a quality receiver on the field may not be as important as who lines up behind center, but not having a real threat out wide will limit the effectiveness of any offense.
If Parchment can be that player, McKenzie Milton or Jordan Travis (or both) should have an easier path in getting the offense across the goal line in 2021.
ASLAN: This is a nice one to descend to from the dreamland stratosphere we found ourselves in ruminating about Milton being a Heisman candidate and Johnson being Peter Boulware reborn.
Whereas those exercises made us think about a ceiling, this one I think sets a floor — or at least gives you another piece of the puzzle to evaluate Jordan Travis if he’s your QB. Every position has been scapegoated since 2017, and last year it was the wide receivers’ turn. When Travis was unable to connect on passes, many quickly determined it was due to a lack of talent outside, not a lack of touch from the quarterback.
If Parchment is the guy he appeared to be in 2019, we won’t be able to pin all of the problems on the receivers. Pokey Wilson is capable of being a No. 2 receiver on a team that wins seven or eight games. So if Parchment does his part, you have a capable WR corps to judge your offense and QB play around.
A 65-catch season from Parchment and something around there from Wilson gives you a 1-2 punch similar to 2015, when Travis Rudolph caught 59 and Bobo Wilson caught 58. Now, granted, they had Dalvin Cook as the focal point of the offense, but the ‘Noles will likely have better line and QB play this season to help bridge some of the gap.
FSU had the 51st-ranked team in total offense and 38th-ranked passing offense that season — you’re probably around that neighborhood if Parchment delivers like he did two years ago.
IRA: Landing Parchment could prove to be one of the two or three biggest additions for Mike Norvell this offseason. I’m not exactly sure how FSU got to a place where there were so few proven playmakers at the receiver position, but here we are.
I understand the point Aslan was making about last season’s woes not all being on the wideouts — Travis wasn’t the most accurate passer, and the pass-protection still had plenty of issues. But at some point, an offense also needs receivers to go out and make plays. To get up in the air and win 50-50 balls. To catch short passes, elude defenders and turn those plays into 40-yard gains.
Tamorrion Terry gave FSU that type of explosiveness in 2019, when he averaged 19.8 yards per completion and hauled in nine touchdowns. And that opened things up for other receivers and the running backs. But with that big-play threat removed in 2020, defenses could crowd the line of scrimmage, challenge the wide receivers and make life miserable for whoever was trying to throw the football.
It would be a very similar scenario in 2021 if not for Parchment’s arrival. I like Ontaria Wilson and Keyshawn Helton, but we haven’t seen anything from either that makes you feel like they could be a No. 1 wideout at Florida State. If Parchment is that type of guy and commands extra attention from opposing defenses, it would allow Norvell to find more favorable matchups for Wilson, Helton and all of the younger receivers. It also could open things up for Camm McDonald and the other tight ends.
I expect FSU’s quarterback and offensive play to be improved this season. Having a legitimate No. 1 target in the passing game would take the entire offense to another level.