Fall Camp Assessment:  Receivers

Jr. WR Kasen Williams could be a big beneficiary of the up-tempo attack this season - Otto Greule Jr

With Fall Camp wrapping up, we're taking a look at the status of each of the position groups - next up are the receivers.

Projected Starters:

WR: Kasen Williams, Jr.

WR: DiAndre Campbell, RS-Jr.

WR: Jaydon Mickens, So.

TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr.

Backups:

WR: John Ross, Fr.; Kevin Smith, Sr.; Demore'ea Stringfellow, Fr.; Marvin Hall, So.; Kendyl Taylor, So.; Antavius Sims, RS-Sr

TE: Joshua Perkins, RS-So.; Michael Hartvigson, RS-Jr.

Analysis:

Despite having two highly-rated (and highly productive) receivers last year in Kasen & ASJ, as a whole this group was a disappointment and contributed to the drop-off in Keith Price's performance last year. There were too many drops, not enough open guys and not enough help when KP was flushed from the pocket. On the plus side, they did prove to be pretty good blockers, especially Campbell.

This year the group returns nearly intact with some highly rated freshmen joining the mix, and the expectation is that they will collectively take a big step forward to supplement the Big Two. While there has obviously been a lot of talk about their off-season, off-the-field issues, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that ASJ is the premiere pass-catching TE in the country, and Kasen has all-conference potential with terrific leaping skills, good size and terrific hands. They will again lead the way.

Beyond them, Campbell has emerged as a leader with his work ethic and has impressed coaches with his play. Smith has also impressed, as it appears that he is now 100% after showing signs of being limited last year as he recovered from an ACL tear in the practices leading up to the 2011 Alamo Bowl. Mickens remains a dangerous receiver with terrific quickness and an ability to get behind defenders - his biggest issue is overcoming a tendency to drop the ball. Hall has similar athletic ability, but needs to turn it up a notch as there is a wealth of young talent on the roster that could keep him on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. Sims is in his last season, and has shown flashes (including the Spring scrimmage), but usually against the 3rd string. Taylor has been a bit of a mystery - he was moved over mid-season to help bolster the depth at RB and showed a lot of promise there, but is again back with the WR group and has been quiet so far.

Where things really start to get exciting is looking at the three freshmen WR's, a troika that could rival any WR class in the country. While Stringfellow and Darrell Daniels are the most physically impressive (both are bigger than TE Perkins), it's been Ross that has grabbed the most attention. He might be the fastest guy on the team, and he possesses phenomenal cutting ability and reliable hands. If he can come close to matching in games what he's done in practices, it won't be long before he's in the starting lineup. Sark has even invoked Reggie Bush comparisons, and it should come as no surprise then that he has experimented with having Ross line up in the backfield as they seek ways of getting the ball in his hands. Stringfellow has also impressed with his study habits, his size and his ability to make tough catches in traffic, and while he hasn't been as spectacular (so far) as Ross, he seems almost certain to play. Daniels, the biggest of the bunch and with terrific speed, has struggled a bit with drops and is a definite candidate to redshirt.

At TE, Perkins has had a strong camp and appears to have passed Hartvigson on the depth. He's small for a modern TE and isn't likely to be counted on much to take on DE's and OLB's in the run game, but he could prove valuable as a receiver that can exploit the seam. Hartvigson will see action in bigger double-TE sets as he's the better blocker of the two backups. With Evan Hudson moving over to defense, it has give true freshman David Ajamu more reps and he's looked good. Before Hudson was moved the thinking was that he'd redshirt; he still probably has a greater than 50% of doing so, but he's shown enough that it's not out of the question he could see the field.

With the emphasis this year on going up-tempo, having a deep group of WR's is important so that legs stay fresh. While we can't know for sure yet just how good the quality is of the depth here, by numbers there is a lot of depth - enough so that it's possible we could see guys like Hall or Taylor take redshirts this year.

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