Alex Neutz proved he can be the number one target last season. The question is who are numbers two and three?
The UB Passing game seemed to die in the second quarter ob UB's conference game against the Miami RedHawks. It was during that quarter that Alex Neutz had his season ended by a broken wrist. The passing game had just started to become effective, averaging about 280 yards in the three games before Alex Neutz was hurt. In the following three games that number dropped to a paltry 150 yards.
The Bulls had already lost Terrell Jackson to injury and Neutz, just a sophomore, had been the Bulls most impressive receiver.
If there was an upside to this scenario it's that Fred Lee and Devon Hughes, now among our most experienced receivers, got more game experience than the would have otherwise managed had the UB depth chart remain topped by Alex Neutz (Sophomore), Ed Young (Senior), Marcus Rivers (Senior), and Terrell Jackson (Senior).
|Alex Neutz: 2010 Receiving|
Buffalo three of its top four receivers to graduation. What's left is Alex Neutz and a whole lot of questions. Many of those question have to do with the Quarterback Situation but whoever wins there will need more than one receiver.
The other likely starters, based on last years workload, are Fred Lee and Devon Hughes.
Last season Hughes saw a good deal of work for a true freshman. He was a high school track star but on the field Devon has been more of a quick, mid range guy who makes his mark with good hands than as a burner. When the Bulls struggle with the deep game it's going to need Huges to step up and add pressure defenses to play closer to the box.
|Devon Hughes 2011 Receiving|
His lone touchdown came against Stony Brook but the bulk of his yards came after Alex Neutz went down, including five catches for 33 yards against Eastern Michigan.
Fred Lee is entering his junior year after finishing fourth among all UB receivers and third against those receivers returning for this season.
|Fred Lee 2011 Receiving|
He made 18 of his 20 total catches in the last six games of the season, after Neutz and Jackson went down with injuries. His best game came against Akron, where he set career highs in catches (6), yards receiving (52) and touchdowns (2) in the 51-10 win.
Lee, like Hughes, has good body control and solid hands. He will be a threat in the mid level game and has the speed to break the occasional play.
The top three should be mostly set pretty quick but with months to go between now and kickoff there is more than a slight chance one of these guys takes a top spot.
Saron Hood, a senior, saw limited work last season with the offense but was utilized as a punt returner. He has four career catches for 33 yards. Hood is probably more likely to be an impact player on special teams then a featuer receiver.
Rudy Johnson, a true sophomore brought in by Coach Turner Gill to fight for a spot as a dual threat quarterback. Coach Jeff Quinn moved Johnson over to wide out last season. Johnson is a smart player who possess great athleticism but is still earning the ropes as a receiver in the UB offense.
Ron Willoughby, a true freshman with an impressive frame and a great set of hands. Willoughby was a bit of a rail when Coach Jeff Quinn brought him in from Avon Lake but he has packed more than 30 pounds onto his six foot four frame.
Cordero Dixon, a true sophomore who saw time in three games last season. He the closest thing to a pure deep threat on the UB roster.
This set could be among the receivers UB has there is enough talent to match anything they have had under coach Jeff Quinn. The very young players like Johnson, Willoughby, and Dixon have all had a full year in the offense, and have added to their potential with conditioning.
The Bulls main concern in the passing game is going to stand behind center. If the coaching staff comes up with a solution at Quarterback then UB may have a two dimensional offense for the first time in Jeff Quinn's tenure at Buffalo.