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

2017 March Madness: The Final Four from A to Z
2017 March Madness: The Final Four from A to Z

Running down the four-team contingent set to meet in the desert next weekend in the 2017 Final Four, in an orderly and alphabetical way . . . A is for adjustments, which have propelled Oregon in particular to the final weekend of the season. The Ducks lost senior center and rim protector Chris Boucher to a knee injury during the Pacific-12 tournament...
Resilience carries South Carolina to a most unexpected stage
Resilience carries South Carolina to a most unexpected stage

In the moments after South Carolina clinched the first Final Four berth in team history, coach Frank Martin found his 74-year-old mother, Lourdes, and finally let down his guard. The scowl softened. The lips that breathed fire now curled upward in stupefaction. “He told me, ‘I’m so happy, but please don’t cry,'” Lourdes...
Back from irregular heartbeat, Dempsey hopes for 4th Cup 
Back from irregular heartbeat, Dempsey hopes for 4th Cup 

Clint Dempsey's big, owlish eyes brightened and he smiled widely. Seven months after he was sidelined by an irregular heartbeat, he not only returned to the U.S. national team at age 34 but helped the Americans to a critical victory in World Cup qualifying with just the second hat trick of his international career.   "There's moments...
Bears' idea of sustainable success is just talk until they fix QB position
Bears' idea of sustainable success is just talk until they fix QB position

The talking point the Bears keep circling back to this offseason is that their goal is to build a team for sustainable success.  It's what team President Ted Phillips outlined in a Feb. 8 letter explaining a price increase for the vast majority of tickets at Soldier Field. It's what general manager Ryan Pace said more recently at the beginning...
Bedeviled by an elbow, but blessed with arms
Bedeviled by an elbow, but blessed with arms

The New York Mets all but encased their starting pitchers in Bubble Wrap early in spring training, hoping that reduced wear and tear would preserve their arms. But pitching injuries seem unavoidable, and the Mets are as vulnerable as any team. “We came in here saying we’ve got to try to keep these guys healthy,” manager Terry Collins...
More Stories