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2011 By Position: What happened and what's next? Wide Receivers

I give you the future of Buffalo receivers via <a href=""></a>
I give you the future of Buffalo receivers via

Neutz was known among the Western New York prep scouts as a guy with fantastic hands. Thankfully western new york prep stars have a way of falling through the cracks. Neutz has been amazing as a receiver, in fact he has easily been the most consistent, effective, receiver on Buffalo's roster from the first snap of the Jeff Quinn Era to his early departure from the Miami game.

The passing game all around was noticeably better than 2010. Where just four UB receivers had appreciable work in Jeff Quinn's inaugural season this year seven Bulls had more than ten catches and the team as a whole had about 60 more completed passes.

Goodbye to:

Marcus Rivers had a productive senior campaign. Aside from a few spotty instances he had this was his most reliable season with Buffalo. It's fair to say the Lackawana star did not quite live up to his career expectations but he stepped up in a big way over the past two seasons when the Bull's most needed help at the wide out spot.

Terrell Jackson lost the last half of his senior season due to an injury and while his lost was most felt in the return game there was a noticeable hole left in the lineup for a reliable third option at the wide out spot.

After a very rocky start against Pitt UB Senior Ed Young put together his best season as a Bull. He was particularly dangerous on the screen and swing passes. He was very solid following blockers on the short passes which led to, among other things, his 90 yard touchdown reception against Ohio.

Next Season's Top Three?

Alex Neutz:

Neutz is nearly a lock. He was just one of two Bulls on offense who made Phil Steel's "All MAC" team and he was nearly unstoppable before he broke his hand and UB will need that kind of production next season.

The Bulls will be sporting a new Quarterback and lose two starting receivers. So the big question is how much will defenses be able to key on Neutz? Alex has shown he can be an effective weapon but can he, and running back Branden Oliver, be the only weapons on a team with winning record?

Fred Lee:

Lee showed a lot of promise last season pulling in twenty catches as a teams 4th or 5th receiver is no small amount of work.Lees reps went up a lot after Neutz was lost against Miami. In the last four games he had 15 catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Like most of the team he had his most productive game when UB squared off with Akron

vs Akron / 11.19.11 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Fred Lee 6 52 8.7 2

Given what we saw towards the end of the season Lee may start the spring opposite Neutz because of his size.

Devon Hughes:

Hughes, like Lee, saw an uptick in his reps once Neutz went down. In the four weeks before the Miami game Hughes did not see the field. On the season his numbers were pretty comparable to Lee but his best work came against FCS opponent Stony Brook

vs Stony Brook / 9.10.11 Receiving
Rec Yards Avg TD
Devon Hughes 4 33 8.3 1

Hughes is just a bit smaller than Lee. That, and the fact he was backing up young on the slot indicate thats where he may get his first reps this spring.

Neither Hughes' or Lee's play screamed 'starter' this season. The only thing close to a lock the Bulls have this year is Neutz. Aside form that there

Player Year Games
Saron Hood JR 9
Cordero Dixon FR 3
John Dunmore FR 0
Rudy Johnson FR 1
Ron Willoughby FR 0

Don't forget About

There are a hand full other players coming into spring who may be a factor.

First and foremost among them might be Saron Hood. Hood, who was recruited as a corner but was converted to a wideout in 2010.

Hood, despite not registering a catch, was a staple on this seasons two deep. When Neutz went down and Lee began to start it was Hood who filled the need for depth.

Cordero Dixon was ranked among the Top 150 wide receivers in the nation by ESPN and saw some work on special teams this season but was not a guy who landed on the depth chart in the waning games.

One of the guys fighting for reps will be converted Quarterback Rudy Johnson. One of Maryland's best High School quarterbacks in 2009. He never cracked the roster behind center and with so many fighting for that spot he was moved to wideout.

Ron Willoughby spent his red-shirt last season. At 6-4 this is a guy who, if he fills out, can be a beast of a receiver. The Bulls can use a receiver with that height down low.

Walk on John Dunmore may be the emotional favorite. The Syracuse native came to Buffalo and earned a spot on the team when there were already eight wide-outs on the roster.

The Outlook

Every team needs a solid second receiver and right now it's impossible to know if the Bulls have that. Depth charts from 2011 make it look like you have Neutz and Lee on the outside with Hughes in the slot.

Until Lee, Hughes, or one of other receivers show they can take some pressure off of Neutz UB's receiving corps will lag a bit behind where they were this season.