Position Previews: Wide Receivers
This is the fourth feature of my 2012 Position Previews, if you missed the last feature which covered OL and TE, click here.
Auburn has recruited strongly at this position recently, and it’s about time that some start to produce.
The two players you can always rely on are Lutzenkirchen and Blake, both of which have a lot of experience under their belt and have progressed rapidly in the last few years. Both will be seniors this year, so getting some production out of the younger guys will be crucial for the long-term.
So who will step up and become the second receiver option? This is one of the biggest questions I have in this offseason. We saw some brief stints of quality out of several guys last year, such as Benton and Stallworth, but neither really stayed consistent. Benton is entering his final year of eligibility and has one last chance to impress and make a name for himself. I’m a big fan of Benton, but there are doubts whether he can learn the offence quickly enough to make an impact. He’s a name to keep an eye on. Trovon Reed is a redshirt sophomore with very little experience under his belt, but his raw talent may yet develop.
There are several younger guys who have clean slates. Sammie Coates will enter his first playing year after redshirting in 2011 due to a broken foot. Coates clearly put the year to good use and spent it in the weight room, where he went from 175 in fall 2011 to over 200 pounds by spring 2012. Coates looked decent in the spring game, and will hope to build on that in fall camp. He’s a big, rangy and athletic receiver, much like Jaylon Denson, who found his primary role as a special teams enforcer last season. Denson is a good blocker, and will have an opportunity to gain a starting role if he can solidify himself as a receiving threat.
True freshman Ricardo Louis has impressed his teammates, and apparently made a good impression in summer workouts. If he stays consistent in fall camp, he might be a dark horse in the race for the no2 option. JaQuay Williams may miss the start of fall camp due to schooling, but has the physical tools and smarts to be a productive player. I’m hoping that he does everything needed to become that option.
What to expect
We already know that Emory Blake is a do it all receiver, but there is a clear opportunity for the others to impress this year and gain some playing time. I feel like the team lacks a deep threat, someone who can stretch the field and make the hard catches. We have some big, potential deep threats in Coates, Williams, Louis and Benton, so there is some reason to be optimistic. It simply comes down to who’s willing to work harder for Trooper Taylor. I think Trovon Reed might make a big impact this year, as well as see a bit more out of Benton. It’s a mixed group with potential, but when will the potential break through?