Bersin could be darkhorse for WR spot

June, 9, 2014
Jun 9
8:30
AM ET
Carolina Panthers wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl has told me more than once not to overlook Brenton Bersin. Head coach Ron Rivera last week mentioned the second-year receiver out of Wofford as a player to keep an eye on.

Why?

[+] EnlargeBrenton Bersin
AP Photo/Chris KeaneIn 2010, Brenton Bersin tied Wofford's record for touchdown catches in a season. The record was set by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
"He's got some ability,'' Rivera said. "Some guys take a little time. The tough thing is he came from Wofford and they are notorious for being a tremendous running team. He blocks very, very well. We know he can block.

"He's just got to learn how to do the routes. He's doing a great job, so I believe he's going to be one of the guys that competes there.''

If you need to know more about Bersin, let me help. He's 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds. The long blond hair that flows out of the back of his helmet makes him stand out even when he's not catching passes.

The Panthers signed Bersin as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He was waived during training camp, but re-signed the following May. He was waived again in training camp, but then re-signed to the practice squad where he remained the rest of the season.

In January, he was signed to the regular roster.

As Rivera said, Wofford is notorious for being a running team. But when the Terriers threw in 2010 and 2011, Bersin was the top target more often than not.

He led the team with 32 catches for 703 yards in 2010. He also tied the school single-season record for receiving touchdowns with nine. The person he tied, by the way, was Carolina owner Jerry Richardson, who had nine touchdown catches in 1958.

Bersin led Wofford with 26 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns in 2011. He finished with 15 career touchdown catches, tied for the third most in school history -- more evidence the Terriers are a running team because the number is so low.

Bersin is a long way from making the 53-man roster, but at least he's in the mix among Marvin McNutt, Tavarres King and others in the group off 11 wide receivers competing during organized team activities.

He's not a threat for one of the top four spots that belong to free agent acquisitions Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood, and first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin.

But after those four there are no guarantees, and the Panthers are giving all the young receivers a chance to make an impression judging from the amount of repetitions they are getting.

That Bersin can block gives him an edge because the Panthers want to be a ball-control team, and that takes receivers who can block.

“One thing we’re trying to make sure is everybody’s getting a lot of reps right now,'' Rivera said. "Because when we get to training camp, we want to make sure everybody’s up to speed. We’ve made an emphasis that we’re rotating a lot of players, as much as possible.''

So if you're looking for a darkhorse at wide receiver, don't forget Bersin.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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