FSU football team countdown moves to players No. 21 through No. 30.
football Edit

Warchant Top 40: FSU receivers highlight next group of key players (21-30)

It's time to look ahead to the 2022 Florida State football season with Warchant's annual list of the Top 40 players on the Seminoles' roster -- the players we expect to make the biggest impact for FSU this fall. (Note: This is not necessarily the 40 most talented players, but the players we believe will have the opportunity and capability to make the biggest impact this season.)

The list was compiled through voting by Warchant's Gene Williams, Ira Schoffel, Corey Clark, Jeff Cameron, Aslan Hajivandi, Tom Lang and Austin Cox.

The Top 40 will be revealed in segments, continuing today with players No. 30 through No. 21. Here is a look at No. 40 through No. 31.

Stay connected to all of your favorite FSU Sports Coverage!

*** Get the FREE Warchant App in the Apple Store or on Google Play

*** Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for fresh new videos every day

*** Sign up for our exclusive Newsletter to never miss important FSU news

Ja'Khi Douglas
Ja'Khi Douglas (Getty Images)

No. 30 Redshirt sophomore receiver Ja'Khi Douglas

Now that he's moved to receiver full-time, Douglas should be expected to make more plays than he has during his first two seasons with the Seminoles. Not that he's been completely quiet in that regard. Douglas has caught 21 passes in his career so far for 371 yards and three touchdowns — an average of almost 18 yards per reception. He had a 60-yard TD in the opener against Notre Dame in 2021 and a critical 59-yarder against Miami on the game-winning drive. He figures to be used almost exclusively in the slot, and with his speed and quickness could be a consistent matchup problem for opposing defenses. It's just a matter of how many reps he gets when he figures to be sharing slot time with Mycah Pittman, Keyshawn Helton and perhaps even Winston Wright.

Individual rankings: Gene (29), Ira (29), Corey (25), Jeff (31), Aslan (29), Tom (22), Austin (39).

Malcolm Ray (No. 99)
Malcolm Ray (No. 99) (Logan Stanford/Special to Warchant)

No. 29 Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Malcolm Ray

Showed enough flashes in 2021 that he should be counted onto be a reliable and oft-used backup for the Seminoles in 2022. Unless injuries occur, Ray won't be playing starter reps in the interior for the FSU defense, but he should still get valuable snaps when Robert Cooper or Fabien Lovett are resting. Last year, in limited action, Ray totaled 24 tackles, 5.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks. The more he played, the better he played, and he should be getting the most snaps of his career in 2022. If he could provide not only depth but quality depth, then that would allow Lovett and Cooper to be fresher in the fourth quarter. And that would be a huge boost to the Seminoles' defensive line.

Individual rankings: Gene (33), Ira (34), Corey (40), Jeff (22), Aslan (28), Tom (24), Austin (24).

Maurice Smith
Maurice Smith (FSU Sports Information)

No. 28 Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Maurice Smith

This one is a bit tricky, because it's not a guarantee that Smith will start for the Seminoles in 2022 despite starting 15 games the last two seasons. Wisconsin transfer Kayden Lyles was brought in specifically to compete with Smith for the starting job. He's older and a whole lot bigger. Smith is listed at just 271 pounds on the Seminoles' roster, and he also dealt with an injury last season that seemed to affect his play. Lyles is listed at 321. Offensive line coach Alex Atkins was very high on Smith in the spring, however, and said he's definitely a part of the plans for the line in 2022. He's never had competition like this for the starting spot, though.

Individual rankings: Gene (21), Ira (39), Corey (39), Jeff (37), Aslan (12), Tom (36), Austin (17).

Johnny Wilson
Johnny Wilson (Gene Williams/Warchant)

No. 27 Redshirt sophomore receiver Johnny Wilson

Wilson is one of the most unique players on the entire list. He hasn't done a whole lot so far in his college career, catching 18 passes for 233 yards during two years at Arizona State. But the former Top 100 prospect nationally is 6-foot-7 and can really move for someone that size. During the spring, he had flashes where he looked like the best receiver on the team, specifically on contested catches over smaller cornerbacks (and they're all smaller than him, of course). But he also had his fair share of drops. If he can eliminate the mistakes -- or at least reduce them greatly -- then he could be an enormous weapon for the FSU passing game. Quarterback Jordan Travis will have a legitimate third-down and red-zone threat who can win one-on-one battles when it matters most.

Individual rankings: Gene (11), Ira (38), Corey (21), Jeff (30), Aslan (36), Tom (28), Austin (34).

Azareye'h Thomas
Azareye'h Thomas (Gene Williams/Warchant)

No. 26 Freshman cornerback Azarehe'h Thomas

Was the most impressive freshman on the Florida State roster in the spring. Seemed to have an interception every other practice and rarely got beat even in one-on-one drills. He is a sensational athlete -- one of the best on the team already -- and showed a competitive streak that should serve him very well in the coming years. Every ball that was thrown his way, he acted as if it was his ball to catch. But he is still a true freshman. And there is a reason that only two players -- their names just happen to be Jalen Ramsey and Deion Sanders -- have started at corner in a season opener for Florida State in the last 37 years. But Thomas figures to be in the rotation for sure, and could very well work himself into a starting role by the time the year is over.

Individual rankings: Gene (18), Ira (36), Corey (32), Jeff (20), Aslan (34), Tom (25), Austin (32).

No. 25 Redshirt junior defensive back Renardo Green

Right now, seems like he might be the odds-on favorite to be the starting cornerback opposite of Omarion "Duke" Cooper. But it's not locked down by any means. He'll be competing with the likes of Thomas, Greedy Vance and Jarrian Jones among others. Green has played both corner and safety during his career at FSU, but in the spring he really seemed to find his comfort zone at corner. He rarely got beat deep and was physical at the line of scrimmage. He's about to start his fourth year at FSU and has yet to truly make an impact for the Seminoles. Maybe this is the year he becomes a consistent, viable starter for the FSU defense.

Individual rankings: Gene (32), Ira (25), Corey (27), Jeff (25), Aslan (23), Tom (29), Austin (27).

Camren McDonald
Camren McDonald (Melina Myers/USAToday Sports Images)

No. 24 Redshirt senior tight end Camren McDonald

It's one last season in Tallahassee for the California native. McDonald has played a lot of football for the Seminoles and has made some big plays over the years. But he's never developed into a star at tight end. That might not change in 2022, but he has become a dependable, consistent player for the Florida State offense. He has gotten better as a blocker and has 53 career catches for 549 yards and four touchdowns. McDonald has not proven to be a game-breaker in the passing game, but he's a sure-handed target and is the only tight end with any starting experience on the FSU offense.

Individual rankings: Gene (26), Ira (17), Corey (22), Jeff (34), Aslan (31), Tom (27), Austin (21).

Amari Gainer
Amari Gainer (Gene Williams/Warchant)

No. 23 Redshirt junior linebacker Amari Gainer

With the addition of UCF transfer Tatum Bethune to the linebacking corps, it's impossible to know how that will end up impacting Gainer's playing time in 2022. But the Tallahassee native, who led the Seminoles in tackles in 2020, should still be a key contributor for Adam Fuller's defense. Gainer is 6-foot-3, 223 pounds and a physical tackler. He's long and rangy and already has 193 career tackles heading into his redshirt junior season. He's yet to make a game-changing type impact for the 'Noles, but he's certainly proven to be a solid and capable defender. Maybe he takes that next step this season. Maybe he's unleashed more to rush the passer off the edge. Either way, Gainer figures to be an important part of the FSU defense in 2022.

Individual rankings: Gene (35), Ira (14), Corey (20), Jeff (19), Aslan (27), Tom (40), Austin (20).

Malik McClain
Malik McClain (USAToday Sports Images)

No. 22 Sophomore receiver Malik McClain

Maybe the most physically gifted receiver on the team. He's 6-4, 200 pounds and can fly. But he's still inexperienced. McClain had just 16 catches all of last season, for 190 yards and two scores. And while he had some big-time plays during the spring, he wasn't close to being one of the stars of the FSU receiving corps. But those measurables are hard to ignore. And he certainly has a chance to be one of the best on the team by the end of this year. If he continues to progress, it's hard to even put a ceiling on how good McClain could be. Right now, though, it's all speculation. He has to first win a starting job -- which won't be easy with the additions FSU has brought in at the position -- and then be consistent enough and impactful enough to maintain it. If he can do that, he might be a legitimate game-breaker for the Seminoles over the next two to three years.

Individual rankings: Gene (30), Ira (27), Corey (30), Jeff (9), Aslan (24), Tom (18), Austin (30).

Dennis Briggs
Dennis Briggs (Logan Stanford / Warchant.com)

No. 21 Redshirt junior defensive end Dennis Briggs Jr

Really seemed to be coming into his own last season before suffering a season-ending injury against Louisville. He has a similar body type to former DE Keir Thomas, and head coach Mike Norvell is no doubt hoping he can have the same level of production. Briggs isn't a lightning-quick defensive end, but he's not plodding either. He can move. And he's got serious size and strength at the position. It's not a guarantee that he will start, but he figures to play a lot. And if he can play this season like he started the last one, then that would be another big-time boost for the Florida State defensive line.

Individual rankings: Gene (19), Ira (22), Corey (17), Jeff (28), Aslan (35), Tom (23), Austin (15).


Don't miss out on our exclusive podcasts! Subscribe Today!

*** Wake Up Warchant -- Apple | Google

*** Seminole Headlines -- Apple | Google

*** The Jeff Cameron Show -- Apple | Google

Or just search for "Warchant" on your favorite podcast provider.


Talk about this story with other Florida State football fans in the Tribal Council