You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Travis Rudolph welcomes leadership role with Seminoles


Florida State junior receiver Travis Rudolph led the Seminoles in catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions last season.

His goal this season is simple: Become more of a leader.

Rudolph has always been the lead-by-example type. His voice rarely rises above the conversational tone.

“I just realized that’s the role I have to play,” Rudolph said. “I feel like I definitely had to grow into it. Now it’s just natural.”

The former Cardinal Newman standout — who gained national attention last week when he befriended an autistic student while visiting a Tallahassee middle school — is a naturally talented receiver. A strong route-runner who can turn short gains into big plays with his ability to shed would-be tacklers, Rudolph caught 59 passes for 916 yards and seven touchdowns in a 2015 season that saw him emerge as FSU’s top receiver.

But coach Jimbo Fisher and receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey have asked for more from Rudolph. They want him to mentor and be vocal around a young receiving corps that includes four talented sophomores — Auden Tate, George Campbell, Nyqwan Murray and Da’Vante Phillips — as well as freshman Keith Gavin.

“He’s learning how to be professional on the field and off the field for us, taking care of his body, trying to be a leader,” Dawsey said. “He’s always worked hard on the field, but he’s definitely more mature, paying more attention to details.

“He’s taken that next step, so I’m anxious to see him this season.”

Rudolph missed about a week of preseason camp because of a minor hamstring injury but said he has felt good since his return. Even while he was out, Rudolph helped coach the younger receivers.

“When you see it from the sideline, you can see it from the coaches’ point of view,” Rudolph said. “I was just helping them out with route-running, key assignments to all of the plays.”

Rudolph enjoys his role as mentor but he’s also focusing on improving his skills. One area he needs to improve: he had nine drops in 2015, according to a film review by Pro Football Focus.

He also can improve on his consistency.His 2015 numbers were skewed by breakout games against Syracuse (five catches, 191 yards, three touchdowns) and Houston (seven catches, 201 yards, one touchdown). That’s 42.7 percent of his 2015 receiving yards in two games.

“I feel like there’s always room for improvement,” Rudolph said. “Right now I’m not satisfied with my route-running. I just want to be an elite route-runner. Just got to work on my craft with everything — that’s blocking, catching, route-running.”

Rudolph is a perfectionist, critical of his talents. But he’s already a tough one-on-one matchup for FSU’s best corner.

“I like guarding Travis,” senior Marquez White said. “He’s our best receiver. He’s one of the best receivers in the nation, in the conference. Every day, I get to compete against him. … He’s great with his routes. He’s gotten a lot smarter, he’s watched a lot of film. He runs his routes off leverage. You can tell he’s matured a lot.”

An All-ACC preseason pick, Rudolph is continuing to develop and improve. His career arc is similar to former FSU star Rashad Greene, who Rudolph has often been compared to since he arrived on campus two years ago. Through the first two years of their careers, the statistical comparison between Rudolph (97 catches, 1,471 yards, 11 TDs) and Greene is (95 catches, 1,337 yards, 11 TDs) is nearly identical.

Rudolph clearly has a long way to go to catch up to Greene, who finished as FSU’s career leader in receptions (270) and receiving yards (3,830) and now plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. But Dawsey feels there are a number of similarities between the two receivers.

“Just watching how Travis carried himself and the success he’s had on the field and in the classroom, I’m definitely seeing that type of situation when Rashad was here,” Dawsey said. “Travis is in that same mold, heading in that same direction.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Batting eighth for your St. Lucie Mets, Tim Tebow
Batting eighth for your St. Lucie Mets, Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow went shopping at a Port St. Lucie Publix Tuesday morning, stocking up on power bars, taking photos with fans who instantly recognized him. The usual. “I’m always thankful to be in Florida,” said Tebow, suddenly a member of the minor-league Port St. Lucie Mets but forevermore the Heisman Trophy legend...
Florida Atlantic’s Kalib Woods pleads not guilty to felony charges
Florida Atlantic’s Kalib Woods pleads not guilty to felony charges

Tuesday brought more news on the Kalib Woods front, adding more uncertainty to both his personal and football futures. According to Palm Beach County court records, Woods, Florida Atlantic’s top returning receiver, has pleaded not guilty to the felony battery charges stemming from an incident at an off-campus party on January 13 and waived his...
More starting to believe Clippers forward Blake Griffin could sign with Miami Heat
More starting to believe Clippers forward Blake Griffin could sign with Miami Heat

Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers scores against the Wizards during a game at the Staples Center in March. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Blake Griffin to the Miami Heat is becoming a popular theme. While many believe deep-pocketed owner Steve Ballmer will not let the five-time All-Star leave the Clippers, some are saying ...
Miami Hurricanes’ Shaq Quarterman, Mark Walton to attend 2017 ACC Kickoff
Miami Hurricanes’ Shaq Quarterman, Mark Walton to attend 2017 ACC Kickoff

Two of last year’s standouts, Shaq Quarterman (left) and Mark Walton, will represent the Hurricanes at the league’s media days. (Getty Images photos) The start of the football season must be close because we are now in “media days countdown mode.” In a mere 16 days from Tuesday, coaches and two players from each...
Miami Heat players snubbed in voting for All-Defensive teams
Miami Heat players snubbed in voting for All-Defensive teams

DeAndre Jordan of the LA Clippers shoots over Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena in December. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) By every defensive measure the Miami Heat were among the top teams in the league last season. The Heat finished fifth in the NBA in defensive rating, fifth in opponents...
More Stories