Spring practice has come and gone, so we’re taking a look at each team’s position groups and projecting them as being in either “Great shape,” “Good shape” or “We’ll see.” Remember that the last category isn’t necessarily bad. It means what it says … we’ll see.
Up next are the Pac-12 South division’s receivers.
USC: With one of the top wide receivers in the country – if not the best – the Trojans have to feel good about their corps with JuJu Smith-Schuster headlining the group. Steve Mitchell Jr. and Darreus Rogers should continue to provide solid second and third options. Beyond them is depth with De’Quan Hampton (who made no secret this spring about wanting the ball more) and Isaac Whitney. Plus there are freshmen coming in (or already on campus) who could make immediate contributions.
Arizona: The guy to watch is Trey Griffey, who coaches say had an outstanding spring and is really growing into the role as the team’s most physical receiver. Along with Samajie Grant and Nate Phillips, the Wildcats have an enviable starting trio that should be extremely productive. There’s some depth as well with Cam Denson making the switch from corner to receiver, along with the speedy Tyrell Johnson – the team’s fastest player (if he can stay healthy). Former walk-on Abraham Mendivil has shown progress, and redshirt freshman Cedric Peterson had a strong spring.
Arizona State: The biggest addition to this group is the return of Cameron Smith, who posted 41 catches for 596 yards with six touchdowns in 2014. But he missed all of 2015 with an injury. He actually had more explosive plays that year than Jaelen Strong. He’ll be a fine complement to Tim White, who returns after posting 57 catches for 633 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Don’t be surprised, either, to see White playing some corner on third down or in nickel packages. Jalen Harvey had a strong spring, and they’ll continue to work in tight end Kody Kohl. Defensive back Gump Hayes will likely see some catches, and there’s plenty of buzz about freshman N’Keal Harry, the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver in the 2016 class.
Colorado: Devin Ross should improve on last season’s numbers (25 catches, 324 yards, two touchdowns), and Shay Fields (42-598-4) brings experience to the group. Look for those two to start at the Z and H spots. Bryce Bobo likely starts as the X receiver. Behind them are juco transfers Kabion Ento and Juwann Winfree, plus some incoming freshmen who could help immediately. Not a lot of big names, but a solid, deep group.
UCLA: The biggest spring news on this front was that defensive back Ishmael Adams was moved to the other side of the ball as a wide receiver. He’s shown what he can do with his hands on the ball as a return man and after interceptions. Coach Jim Mora said of all the defensive backs, Adams was the most logical switch because he’s shown he can be elusive. Even if Adams starts, the Bruins will still need players like Darren Andrews, Eldridge Massington, Stephen Johnson and Kenneth Walker III to step up.
Utah: The two guys making the biggest moves in spring were Caleb Repp and Kyle Fulks. Whether either ends up starting remains to be seen. But they did enough to earn snaps in the regular rotation. For now the depth chart shows Raelon Singleton, Cory Butler-Byrd and Tyrone Smith as the starters. Kenric Young should also be in the mix. A lot of question marks to go with an unnamed quarterback.