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Spring Outlook: Wide Receivers

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About the only positive to come out of last years offense was the was UB's young receivers stepped up.

Going into the Coach Quinns first year at UB only one of the wide outs had any real game experience and his was the role of third chair. The threat of a non productive set of wide receivers was very real going into spring camp.

While their numbers from 2010 don't jump off the page their game play, if you watched it, did. There were a few fits of poor play but it was nothing you would not expect from a young unit. What you did see that was a bit unique is just how focused the young wide outs were.

This year instead of building from scratch the Bulls have a core of solid, and still young, receivers going into camp. If they get any kind of consistency from the quarterback this unit could be one of the most dangerous in the MAC.

This is the change from 2009 to 2010. Two of our receivers were red shirt freshman in 2009 (Neutz / Young), one was an underachieving role player (Rivers) and the other had played his career in the shadow of a UB Legend (Jackson). Yet this group played as one of the more mature units on the field.

Because of that there are not a whole lot of questions going into spring. We know the offense that coach Quinn wants to run and we know the receivers likely to be out there on most downs.

NAME Rec 2010 YDS 2010 TD 2010 Rec 2009 YDS 2009 TD 2009
Marcus Rivers 50 690 5 5 35 1
Alex Neutz 26 414 4 0 0 0
Terrell Jackson 43 397 3 25 250 0
Ed Young 20 194 5 0 0 0

 

Returning Receivers:

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Marcus Rivers:

The All-Western New York selection was expected to be UB's answer for the post Roosevelt era. But during the 2009 season Rivers had several key drops in a season when the Bulls lost  game after game by margins of less than 6.

He was considered one of the biggest question marks on the roster after last season. His physical tools were never in question but he seemed lost on the field. Rivers put doubters to rest during the camp and came out as our number one receiver.

Rivers had a break out year leading the receivers in all statistical categories and there is no reason to think that ho goes into, or comes out of, camp in any different position this season.

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Alex Neutz:

Neutz proved to be one of the more promising recruits brought in during 2008. He was a local recruit from Grand Island High School who earned the James Lofton Award as the top receiver in Western New York in 2008. He was an all state, all area, all everything kid who decided to keep his college career local.

Scouts consistently brought up his hands as his biggest asset and this past season he proved them right. Neutz had a nack for making 'oh my' catches. When a redshirt freshman to go out on the field and put up a YPC higher than 15 you know the potential is there for something special.

He filled the hole left by Brett Hamlin who also was one of our better 'hands' guys. He does not have the speed that rivers possesses but he is fast enough, and runs good enough routes, to be very dangerous this coming season.

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Terrell Jackson:

Jackson went from little used third receiver to experienced leader over the off season. The Temple Texas prospect ran for 850 yards and passed for 550 yards as the senior captain before coming to Buffalo under coach Gill.

As the most experienced wideout Jackson was key in some of the early games last season, most noticeably our game against Bowling Green where he caught seven passes for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Jackson also served as UB's main return threat last season. averagine more than ten yards per punt return and nearly 20 per kickoff return.

It's hard to see Jackson not coming out of spring ball as a starter both as a receiver and on special teams. His numbers don't jump off the page compared to Rivers but he has been a remarkably consistent receiver for years.

11231_1248272443417_1127615156_30778837_6140212_n_mediumEd Young:

Young parleyed an amazing summer camp into a key support role this season. Young, usually listed as a 'backup' receiver on the depth chart, benefited from Coach Quinn's scheme and his own knack for being in the right place to lead the team in touchdown receptions.

One of every four passes young caught ended up in the end zone despite the fact that he was pulling in less than ten yards per reception. His touchdowns went for one, five, seven, 14, and 60 yards. Against the Huskies Young was the offense completing a hat-trick, his three touchdown receptions were the only scoring that UB did that day.

He is a very reliable situational receiver who run's great routes down low and does a decent job of helping to bail out his QB by coming back to the ball.

The Sophomore has a lot of competition for playing time both by the established starters and by some of last years red shirts but even if he does not break into the starting three he will be a key part of the Bulls offense whenever they get near the red zone.

33791_184584171570006_100000552733532_569472_5835227_n_mediumFred Lee:

Lee is one of the receivers who made the most of last years spring ball to elevate his position.Whenever UB's receivers were discussed Lee's name seemed to come up.

Fred Lee impressed me the most at WR. he has the ability to adjust his body while the ball is in the air to position himself for the catch and 'box out' the corner -- Shep on UBFan.com

Unfortunately for Lee he goes into this spring on a team with four other really solid receivers and foot speed seemed to beat out body control. He certainly can find himself in the mix but 2011 has an establishment where are 2010 was a wide open field.

Last year he was the fifth guy out when UB went with a five receiver set. His numbers don't impress that much (8 receptions for 82 yards) but that's more owned by poor passing than anything Lee did. Several times throughout the season Lee got himself into a good position only to see a ball skip to his feet or fly over his head.

Lee likely goes into camp as the 4th or fifth receiver this year but with Rivers and Jackson going  into their senior year this could be the last camp where Lee is not one of the guys expected to be a starter.

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Saron Hood:

Hood came to Buffalo from San Diego. A multi-sport athlete Saraon had 27 catches for 568 yards and 12 touchdowns during his senior season.

Hood used a red shirt in 2008 and saw the field a little in 2009 but was not utilized, with any regularity, as a receiver until last season.

Even then he was fifth on the depth chart and saw only spot duty. Mainly in the fourth quarter of games when some of the other receivers got gassed. His biggest contribution came against Ball state where he had two receptions for 18 yards.

At fifth on the depth chart Saron would have had a better shot at real work had the passing game been remotely effective. As a senior he was successful on both sides of the ball, he had the football IQ to make an impact but its really hard to see him leapfrogging into the top three receivers.

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The New Guys:

The Bulls half a half dozen redshirt freshmen who will be trying to move up the food chain:

Cordero Dixon:

Dixon was a deep threat receiver in high school and coaches have described him as having that same potential at UB. In 2009 Dixon was listed as one of the top 150 receivers in the nation. 

Dixon was an accomplished returner for North Gwinnett, so it would not be surprising to see him as a potnetial kick/punt returner.

Devon Hughes:

Hughes showed a good combination of hands and speed, his explosiveness is one of the reason coach Gill's staff went after him. He wa one of the early additions during Gills last season, coming in just after Rudy Johnson.

Aaron Walters:

Aaron had 71 receptions for 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior to lead Hammond High School to a 12-1 record and state title.

Derek Brim:

Brim decided to walk on at UB over offers from several FCS schools. Brim showed very well last summer but like all the true freshmen receivers he did not see the field last season.

John Dunmore:

Dunmore was a standout receiver at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse NY.

Aaron Huber:

During his senior year Huber was named to Dick Gallagher's WNY High School Sports All-Academic team. Huber played Quarterback for Iroquois. .