Position Analysis: WR & TE's
Nick previews Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Editor's Note: This is a repost of NickSkin's position previews oritinally posted in our discussion forums. Rather than lose these posts to the pruner, we felt it appropriate to repost them to the front page. Thanks to Nick for all his hard work in developing this series.
The Redhawks lost a lot of bodies last season at the WR position because of graduation including current NFLer Ryne Robinson. However, the cupboard is not bare and with proper protection, whoever is leading the Miami offense should have many targets to throw to.
The most experienced WR of the bunch is Redshirt Sophomore Dustin Woods (5'11" 188). Dustin had over 500 yards and 4 TD's last season and averaged over 20 yards per catch. Dustin missed the spring practices because of an injury but by all accounts appears to be ready to return to a starting spot this season.
Slated to return as a starter in the interior WR slot is Redshirt Junior Sean McVay (5'10" 183). Expect Miami to use Sean as many ways as possible as he's one of the quickest members of the WR unit and has the potential to make things happen after the catch.
Redshirt Freshman Armand Robinson (6'1" 197) should contend for one of the outside WR spots. After sitting out his first year, he emerged from spring drills as one of the team's top wide receivers excelling at making catches in traffic. A potential explosive WR who can also lay out an opposing defensive back. In H.S., Armand was the MVP of the Ohio North-South game.
One player who might push for playing time at the interior WR spot is former QB and Redshirt Junior Jared Elliot (6'5" 232). Elliott's shoulder injury prevents him from playing QB but Jared's an athlete who can run and has a terrific understanding of the offense. Not only that, Elliott is a terrific leader and should provide guidance to this young receiving corps.
Two other Redshirt Freshman contending for starting spots are Eugene Harris (5'10" 185) and Donovan Potter (6'2" 198). Harris has excellent hands and speed and has the highest vertical jump of anyone on the squad (38.5"). Donovan Potter was a late bloomer who worked hard during his redshirt season putting on 18lbs of muscle! Harris will push for time on the outside while Donovan plays at the inside or "H" spot.
There are two true Freshman WR's that should also push for starting time. Chris Givens (6'2" 198) was one of Miami's prized 2007 recruits. Like Armand Robinson, Givens was named the Ohio North-South MVP this summer. Jamal Rogers (5'11" 159) could be one of the fastest players on the squad. He's elusive and may be the player that Miami employs to return punts. Reports from camp this summer indicate that both Givens and Rogers are playing very well.
Miami has a stable of quality TE's this season and perhaps is the best unit since Matt Brandt left after the 2004 season. There are 3 returning letterwinners along with two promising true freshman.
Junior Tom Crabtree (6'5" 247) is the returning starter who had the most catches of any TE last season (14) and is also Miami's best blocking TE.
Pushing Crabtree is converted WR Junior Jake O'Connell (6'4" 256). O'Connell added almost 30lbs since last season and has worked very hard to be a more complete player. He scored two redzone TD's last season.
Junior Pat Shepard (6'4" 230) played mostly on special teams but may see more action this season at the TE spot as he showed a lot of progress this past spring.
Miami landed the top-2 TE's in Ohio in 2007 and I'm sure that coming into this summer both were expected to redshirt. Howerver, Ken Bruton (6'4" 240) worked his tail off after his senior football season ended putting on 20lbs of muscle. Bruton has terrific hands and may be the fastest of all the TE's. It may be difficult to keep him off the field in '07. Rob Reiland (6'3" 228) had more accolades than Bruton in High School and like Kendrick has terrific hands. There is no doubt that the TE corps is as deep and as talented as its been in years!
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