Freshman WR is Stepping Up

Wide receiver Kenny O'Neal topped the receivers during Monday's half-scrimmage, scoring the first touchdown of the spring on a 34-yard pass from QB Xavier Lee. O'Neal is a part of a group of receivers that Bowden is hoping will step up to fill the vacancies left by last season's graduating class.


Coach Bobby Bowden has become accustomed to the situation. Good receivers turn into great receivers. Great receivers turn pro. And, once they've moved on, there are holes to fill.

So spring is the time for new players to step up. One of the up-and-coming receivers has been Kenny O'Neal, whose speed gives him the potential to be a valuable asset to the passing attack.

During Monday's half-scrimmage Xavier Lee connected with O'Neal on a deep fade route for a 34-yard touchdown, the first of the spring. O'Neal finished the day with 3 receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown.

"If our quarterbacks can get time to throw, (O'Neal) can get behind the guy," Bowden said.

Lee added, "If you try to jam him, he can speed away and make the catch."

The biggest difference this spring, according to O'Neal, is his knowledge of the offense. When he practiced last season he was just learning.

"Last year I didn't know much of the offense and I had to think about what I was going to run," O'Neal said. "Now I don't have to think as much, just do my actions."

Bowden said that O'Neal could replace departing receiver Craphonso Thorpe as the Seminoles vertical threat.

"He will come in that same category as a speed receiver," Bowden said.

O'Neal redshirted in his first year after sitting out several games while waiting for the NCAA Clearinghouse to approve his eligibility status. If O'Neal had been available last season, Bowden said his speed probably could've made an impact on the team.

"You always want to go out and give it a stab, but it's just a learning process," O'Neal said.

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