Next up in our preview of the Red/White game are the Wide Receivers. Monday we talked about QB’s, a position whose depth chart is pretty much chiseled in stone, while today we talk about WR’s which is…wait for the pun….a little more up in the air (worth the wait huh?).
To say we are going to miss Torrey Smith is a little like saying William Wallace is going to miss his head at the end of Braveheart. Smith only scored 12 Touchdowns, and had 1055 yards receiving. Add up the top three returning WR’s from 2010 and you get about a fraction of that production. The Terps also said good bye to Adrian Cannon who scored 1 TD and caught 36 passes for 324 yards. Yeah that doesn’t seem like much, but wait until you finish reading to judge!
So where does that leave us? Well, the depth is there on the Spring Roster (Again keep in mind, we are looking at the spring here, any incoming freshman is not going to be included, that will be in the season preview, this is the Spring Game preview). The Terps have 5 Seniors, 2 Juniors, 0 Sophomores, and 4 Freshman available for the Red/White game.
The “Veteran” of that group would be SR Quintin McCree, McCree had the most 2010 catches among the returners with 16. Those 16 combined for 180 yards. Though playing time within this group is anyone’s guess, I think we can pencil McCree in for some significant 2011 minutes.
Another WR I feel will get significant playing time is JR Kevin Dorsey. Dorsey had 15 catches for 187. Those numbers should pale in comparison to what he pulls in during the 2011 campaign. In fact I feel Dorsey could emerge as the go to WR. So seeing how he response in the Spring Game could be interesting.
Next on the experience ladder is SR Ronnie Tyler. Tyler had 13 catches last year for 149 yards. Normally you would not view that as a lot of production, but this year, that makes him our third most seasoned WR. In addition to Tyler is JR Kerry Boykins (not to be confused with Kerry Boykins Jr.). Boykins last season had 10 catches for 124 yards.
And that about wraps up the returning WR’s who put up any sort of numbers in 2010. For those calculating along, here is where we sit. Smith 67 catches for 1055 yards, returning WR’s 54 catches for 640. Anyone else a little nervous?
Then that takes us to our wild card, Cliff Tucker. Is there any player who we will learn more about on April 30th than Cliff Tucker? Probably not. Cliff was a solid Football recruit in Texas, so we have that going for us, but Randy Edsall also commented this week that “It’s obvious he hasn’t played football in 4 years.”. I can honestly see this going either way, which makes him the must watch player of the Spring. If he can successfully translate his skill sets back to Football, I could see him being a great addition, yet I can also see us sitting around at the Notre Dame tailgate in November saying “Can you believe that Cliff Tucker was on the football team at one point this year?”. It’s a guess I’m not ready to make yet! That’s why he’s the wild card.
The remaining WR’s who will use the Spring Game to help themselves move up (or down) the depth chart are, by class: Senior Punt Returner Tony Logan, the Pride of the Eastern Shore SR Webb Dulin, FR Nigel King, FR Adrian Coxson, FR Tyrek Cheesboro, and FR Devin Burns, who used to be a QB. If I’ve learned anything from College Football, at least one of these guys will emerge from this list to make an impact.
So that is how the WR Corp looks going into the Red/White game. Obviously we have a lot of experience and talent to replace, and if anyone is going to step up and begin filling those cleats, April 30th will be a key day.