Continuing with our segment of breaking down your 2008 Arizona State Sun Devil football team, lets take a look at one of the most key pieces to Erickson's spread offense: receiver.
With base sets using 3 receivers, and many formations with 4 and 5 receivers, receiver is one of the most important offensive positions on the team. With new offensive coordinator Rich Olson making depth and versitility a key issue lets take a look at where we stand.
1. Michael Jones, 6'4 203 LBS, RS Senior
Mike Jones. Who? Sorry, I could not help myself. Anyway, the presumed number 1 receiver this season is coming off his most productive year at ASU. He has developed a solid rapport with Rudy and has become a truly viable option to stretch the field and catch the jump ball.
A fantastic two sport athlete (Jones was selected in the 29th round by the New York Yankees in the 2008 draft) Jones is prepped for a monster year. The only question marks I have with him are - how tired is he after the long baseball season? and has he put on any strength? Last year he was a little timid in times when he was fighting for the balls against safety help.
Overall, Jones is set and I could easily see another 10 TDs and over 1,000 yards for our big #1 target.
2. Chris McGaha, 6'1 193 lbs, RS JR
Love this guy. It is not a stretch to call McGaha ASU's "Wes Welker". He catches everything thrown his way, has solid run after catch ability, and is not afraid to go across the middle. Absolutely valuable in a spread offense, McGaha should see his numbers climb further. Hopefully Rudy can find the guy for more than 1 TD this year.
3. Kyle Williams, 5'10 185 lbs, Junior
2007 Stats - 29 receptions, 360 yards, 12.4 average, 6 TD, Lng 35.
Kyle Williams, son of Chicago White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams, has become an all-purpose threat for the Sun Devils. He got noticeably more comfortable as the year wore on and has great speed and field vision. It will be important for him to work on his routes and his focus, because at times he would quit on his routes if he felt the ball was not coming his way.
4. Kerry Taylor, 6'0 191, Soph
See Cory's writeup below.
The battle for the last few receiver spots will be pretty intense. Some of the candidates are:
Nate Kimbrough (RS Senior, 6'1, 208) : The former top recruit who has fallen by the wayside. Kimbrough's injury and disciplinary history is long and storied. If he can pull it together he could be a weapon.
Gerrell Robinson (Freshman, 6'4, 210): The current top recruit from Erickson's 2007 class, Robinson is a freak of an athlete. Rated as the #77 player in the nation by Rivals.com and the #1 player in the state of Arizona, Robinson could be one of the team's Freshman Phenoms. If he can adapt to the offense, the sky is the limit. Played three positions his senior year in high school totaling 843 yards through the air, 543 yards on the ground, and 524 yards receiving.
Brandon Smith (RS Junior, 6'2, 213): A no show in 2007 after a promising 2006 campaign, Smith is just hoping to get on the field. Bulked up by adding 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason and scored a 44 yard touchdown in the spring game for the white team. Wait and see.
Kemonte Bateman - the highly touted freshman might be academically ineligible...
A.J. Pickens - Redshirt candidate..but good enough recruit that he could earn a spot.
T.J. Simpson - Redshirt freshman who might find his way onto the field at some point.
Dustin Driscoll - Walk on, only here for injury depth.
Tony Simmons - Walk on transfer from University of San Diego.
Allante Battle - Redshirt?
Bryant Piva - Walk on depth
Gerald Montgomery - Walk on depth
Brian Matsumoto - Same thing
Overall - A+
With a gamut of talent, athleticism, and fantastic depth, ASU's WR corps are looking great for the upcoming season. With some established players, and some amazing talent incoming, Rudy has nothing to worry about this season from his receivers..the line is another story.