Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Who's going to catch the ball? Rating the receiving corps
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
I wrote yesterday that defensive ends were our last position to rate, but I forgot receivers and linebackers -- or, actually, I thought this entry and this entry did the trick but they didn't.
So there are two more...
The gist of that entry on receivers tells our story here:
Quick: Name the Pac-10's marquee receivers in 2009?
Don't look to the All-Pac-10 list. All four first- and second-team receivers are gone (Mike Thomas, Sammie Stroughter, Patrick Turner and Michael Jones).
And on the honorable mention list there's only USC's Damian Williams and Washington's D'Andre Goodwin.
In other words, everyone in the conference, other than USC, has a bit of the ole "We'll see."
- USC: Damian Williams is an All-American candidate and Ronald Johnson is a marquee athlete. They combined for 17 touchdown receptions last year -- no other returning combination in the conference is even close. And there's good young depth.
- Arizona: Mike Thomas is a big loss, but Delashaun Dean and Terrell Turner combined for 86 receptions last year. While depth is an issue, word is David Douglas and William Wright could break though.
- UCLA: Terrence Austin, Taylor Embree and Domonique Johnson combined for 127 receptions -- but only two touchdowns -- last year. Toss in talented sophomore Nelson Rosario and some touted incoming freshman and the Bruins have the "catch" side of pass-catch mostly covered.
- Arizona State: Michael Jones is gone, but Chris McGaha, Kerry Taylor and Kyle Williams are a good troika to welcome back. They combined for 81 receptions last year.
- California: This is a case of experience and potential trumping production. Just about everyone is back and the crew, led by Nyan Boateng and Verran Tucker, has a lot of talent. Much depends on guys like Michael Calvin and Marvin Jones breaking through. Injuries are an issue this spring for Calvin and maybe Boateng.
- Stanford: Starters Ryan Whalen and Doug Baldwin are both back. They combined for 64 receptions in the Cardinal's mostly anemic passing offense. There are high hopes that sophomore Chris Owusu adds some athleticism to the unit.
- Oregon: The Ducks didn't throw that well last year and their two best receivers, Terence Scott and Jaison Williams, are gone. Jeff Maehl -- 39 receptions, five touchdowns -- is the only returning receiver with double-digit receptions. Hopes are high for Chris Harper, Drew Davis, Jamere Holland and the incoming recruits, but that falls under "we'll see."
- Oregon State: Sammie Stroughter and Shane Morales were the Beavers' receiving corps last year -- see 124 receptions, nearly 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns. They're gone. Slot James Rodgers is mostly a fly sweep guy. The hope is young guys will step up.
- Washington: The good news is the entire crew is back, led by D'Andre Goodwin, who ranked among the Pac-10 leaders with 60 receptions for 692 yards. But the Huskies only had six touchdown receptions in all of 2008.
- Washington State: Brandon Gibson's 673 yards and two touchdowns represented a third of the Cougars' passing offense last year. He's gone. Jeshua Anderson caught 33 passes a year ago, but there's a lot of youth and inexperience after him.