Three years ago, Greg Dent appeared to be on track to becoming one of the stars of Florida State’s offense.
Dent wasn’t the tallest or fastest Seminole receiver. But the former Glades Central star was tough, would run over the middle and was frustrating FSU’s talented defensive backs during practice.
“He was the MVP of that 2013 team in the spring,” coach Jimbo Fisher said this week. “We couldn’t cover him.”
Dent’s life and career would soon take a detour. He was arrested on a felony charge of sexual battery in June 2013. The case went to trial, and in September 2014, Dent was found not guilty of sexual assault but a jury found him guilty of a lesser charge of misdemeanor battery. He was sentenced to six months’ probation and time served.
While the case was pending, Dent was not allowed to attend FSU and he eventually landed at Division II Valdosta State in August 2015. Dent was one of the Blazers’ top receivers last fall, catching 60 passes for 863 yards and six touchdowns.
“I told him it was going to be a mental battle for him to get through this deal because there is a whole lot of stuff that is going to be said,” said Jessie Hester, the former FSU standout receiver who coached Dent at Glades Central. “He has to understand who he is and what his convictions are … It was a mental grind on him but he was able to withstand that and go on and play.”
Dent returned to Tallahassee on Tuesday to participate in FSU’s Pro Day and work out in front of NFL scouts. He received positive feedback from Fisher, who told him a few NFL teams had asked about the receiver.
“It feels good being back, even though I didn’t play here last year,” Dent said. “It’s still like family when I came back.”
Dent, who will turn 26 in June, also realizes that no matter what time he runs or how he looks in workouts, he will be asked by NFL teams about his court case.
“I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to sit there and tell what happened in detail,” Dent said. “It was just a night where two good friends, drunk and just bad signals at the end of the night turned into a bad situation. I just learned from it and made sure that I bettered myself as a man.”
Dent’s pro football future is uncertain. He could be taken in the last few rounds of the April 30 draft or could sign as an undrafted free agent. His off-field history and age will be concerns for NFL teams, but Dent hopes there is a franchise willing to draft him.
Hester has coached some talented prospects at Glades Central, including former FSU receiver and first-round NFL pick Kelvin Benjamin and Maryland cornerback Will Likely. Hester said that Dent is “the best player that I coached” at Glades Central.
An NFL receiver for 10 years, Hester thinks Dent will get a chance to play professionally.
“No question about it,” Hester said. “He’s not going to wow NFL scouts with a 40 time or vertical jump. He’s going to beat your best defensive back. He has tremendous ball skills.”