PART TWO- Today, I continue my pre season preview of the 2013 UConn football team with a look at the receiving corps.
The Huskies lost four valuable members of last years corps. wide outs Michael Smith and Nick WIlliams (who is raising eyebrows at Redskins camp) and tight ends Ryan Griffin and John Delahunt. In addition, wide out Tebucky Jones Jr. transferred out. The five combined for 50% of UConn’s pass completions last season.
But, I think this could be an even better group of targets for Chandler Whitmer and company. The two returning wide outs, Geremy Davis and Shakim Phillips, were the top two receivers a year ago with 44 and 32 receptions for 1,012 years. They are big targets with good hands and good speed. Davis had a breakout year last season and has had a most impressive training camp, seemingly making one big play per practice. Phillips and Whitmer had a terrific chemistry last year and it looks like nothing has changed. Shak is a prototypical wide receiver with great size, strength and hands. His longest reception a year ago was only 25 yards, UConn needs him to be more of a deep threat this season.
Deshon Foxx made an instant impression of new offensive coordinator and receivers coach T.J.Weist in the spring and has continued his good play in the summer. The converted running back has the chance to become as good a slot receiver as WIlliams. Freshman Dharmeer Bradley and Brian Lemelle, redshirt freshman John Green and junior Kamal Abrams have all shown the ability to catch the football and run with it and I would expect all of them to see significant playing time. Lemelle, the true freshman from Harrisburg, is a star in the making. Bradley, who enrolled for second semester, has also shown rapid improvement from the springtime.
Obviously, you can’t lose two veteran tight ends like Griffin (who has 7 receptions in the pre season for Houston) and Delahunt and not struggle. Glastonbury’s Sean McQuillan was having an outstanding training camp but has not practiced in a week since sustaining a concussion from a hit from Taylor Mack. Sean has good size and speed and was the #1 tight end til his injury. I am sure his status for Towson is questionable. Former Connecticut high school volleyball player of the year Spencer Parker and true freshman Tommy Myers, who has also been hobbled during the pre season, will have to step up for McQuillan until he is fit to go. A fourth player to watch is true freshman Michael Boland who was a late addition to the roster. At 6’4 250,he has the size to be a big contributor at some point.
The improvement of the receivers during the season will be critical to the ability of the Huskies to score points this season. Next up, the quarterbacks.