This week's edition of Milestone Monday features Sun Devil wide receiver Kevin Ozier. Ozier is listed as the No. 1 receiver on the Arizona State depth chart, so the House of Sparky staff debates whether or not Ozier will achieve the milestone of leading the Sun Devils in receptions this year.
Ryan Bafaloukos: I do not think Kevin Ozier will lead ASU in catches in 2013. First off, I still believe that Chris Coyle is the favorite target of quarterback Taylor Kelly. I also believe that the two junior college receivers, Joe Morris and Jaelen Strong, have a chance to come in and contribute right away. So, even though Ozier is the veteran of the group and a leader off the field, I do not see him leading the Sun Devils in receptions.
Cody Ulm: I tend to side with Ryan. The Sun Devil offense is going to spread the wealth but if I had to guess, I'd say Coyle leads the team in targets. He's just the type of big, reliable target that improvising quarterbacks such as Taylor Kelly tend to find all too often. I wouldn't be surprised if Ozier leads the team in touchdown grabs though. He's flashed a knack for the red zone at times and Kelly clearly has the confidence in him in that area. Overall, I do believe Ozier will take a step forward with his work ethic. I just don't believe this system and quarterback will allow an outside receiver to lead the team in receptions.
Mitch Terrell: I'm also going to beat the same drum as Cody and Ryan, agreeing that Chris Coyle is more likely to lead the Sun Devils in receptions than Kevin Ozier. Cody makes a strong argument for Ozier to lead the team in touchdown receptions, which I can see being very likely. As far as receptions go, I could see him falling behind the likes of Coyle and Marion Grice based on the offense we've seen ran. Most of all, I think Ozier's offseason work ethic and studying of the play book could determine his overall production and involvement in the offense, as there has yet to be a Sun Devil to step up as an elite receiver. Whether it's Ozier or someone like Joe Morris or Jaelen Strong like Ryan mentioned, someone will need to take on that role in order to spread the offense and take pressure away from Grice, Coyle and most importantly Taylor Kelly. If someone can be that elite receiver the Sun Devils have yet to see over the years, the trip to the Rose Bowl will seem a lot clearer.
Ben Haber: Assessing the ASU wide receivers triggered an instant migraine in 2012, despite Kevin Ozier and company stepping up. Ozier has an incredible work ethic, which leads to overachievement. However, let's get real about Ozier, he's only 6'0 tall and doesn't posses top notch speed or elite route running skills. Therefore, there's no way Ozier leads the team in catches during 2013.
Tight end Chris Coyle deserves to be the favorite for every receiving statistic, from receptions to yards and touchdowns. In addition, Mike Norvell loves using Running back's Marion Grice and DJ Foster in the passing game, taking away Ozier's opportunities.
After witnessing first-hand the wide receivers struggles, head coach Todd Graham brought in numerous high upside targets. Jaelen Strong has already received extremely high praise, and should live up to the lofty hype. I believe Ozier can contribute for ASU, but there are simply better options for quarterback Taylor Kelly.
Kerry Crowley: Conventional logic (and everyone who wrote before me) says that Kevin Ozier will not lead the team in receptions this year. Arizona State has developed a reputation as "Tight End U" and Chris Coyle only adds to that legacy, so Coyle would be the obvious choice to lead the team in receptions for a second straight season.
However, I believe that Kevin Ozier will lead this team in catches. Why? Anyone who watched spring practices knows he's the number one option at receiver and has developed great chemistry with Taylor Kelly. Ozier isn't a guy with blazing speed or a big height advantage, but what he does have are all the qualities of a "possession receiver." Ozier runs solid routes, has strong hands, and his will to succeed is at an all-time high. Simply put, Ozier is determined to get open, and he wants the football to be in his hands.
As the team's number one option out wide this season, Ozier will have plenty of chances. Chris Coyle will still be Chris Coyle, and the running backs will still be used liberally in the slot, but Ozier will be a go-to option for Kelly against every opponent. Offensive coordinator Mike Norvell wants the receivers to have more of an impact this season, and Ozier will be the guy to lead the charge.
Last week's Milestone Monday: Will Sutton