4 Kendall Sanders 6’1/190 Sr.
7 Omar Bayless 6’3/198 RFr.
8 Chauncey Mason 5’9/190 So.
11 Cameron Echols-Luper 6’0/191 RJr.
13 Christian Booker 5’10/177 Jr.
14 Chris Murray 5’9/181 Jr.
17 Darveon Brown 5’11/178 RFr
18 Justin McInnis 6’6/204 So.
19 Sterling Stowers 5’10/191 RJr
25 Stephen Upton 5’11/170 Fr
80 Jaylon Marshall 6’2/181 RFr
82 Brandon Bowling 5’9/169 Fr
84 Dijon Paschal 6’1/211 RJr
*86 Kendrick Edwards 6’6/215 So.
*Will sit under transfer rules
It’s hard to imagine a team losing the all-time leader in conference receptions in JD McKissic and the guy who is tied atop the single season touchdown catches list in Tres Houston, and still see that group as possibly better than it was. However, that is the position that most Red Wolf fans find themselves in entering the fall of 2016.
In four years, McKissic caught 289 balls for over 2800 yards and had 15 total touchdowns. Houston had a big 2015, averaging over 17 yards per catch for 10 touchdowns and over 600 yards of receptions.
But last year saw an influx of wide receiver transfers, starting with Cameron Echols-Luper from Texas Christian. The super-athletic Echols-Luper starred in track and saw limited action for the Horned Frogs football team. He managed only 13 catches in two seasons, but saw his impact be much higher in the return game, where he was named all Big-XII as a punt returner.
Then came the news that former Texas Longhorn Kendall Sanders was coming to join the Red Wolves. The former four-star recruit from Athens, Texas had a solid sophomore season in 2014, catching 37 balls for the Longhorns.
At semester, the coaches signed two junior college transfers in the Dodge City duo of Justin McInnis and Christian Booker. The pair combined for over 1400 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. Both are big play threats with Booker being very fast and McInnis being a big target who runs well.
Adding back to this is the leading returning receiver, Dijon Paschal. The Alabama native has been a big play threat in his time at AState, averaging just under 20 yards per catch last year while netting over 500 yards and three touchdowns.
Also returning is Chris Murray. The speedy junior suffered a bad ankle break during the Spring Game, but has been cleared for practice and is working his way back slowly. Murray worked his way into the offense last year, catching 11 balls for 187 yards and three touchdowns, but his biggest contributions may have been on special teams where he was an outstanding gunner on the punt team, routinely downing the ball or even catching it.
The three redshirted freshmen from last year, Darveon Brown, Jaylon Marshall, and Omar Bayless all figure to factor into the receiver rotation at some point this season, with Bayless seemingly getting the first crack.
Former walk-on Sterling Stowers of Highland will figure into the A-Back rotation and Special Teams, as the coaches are high on him.
Chauncey Mason bounced around this past spring, after spending 2015 on the defensive side of the ball, looking for a home and seems to have found it A-Back. The Florida native has shown a knack for being the “running back at wide receiver” that the A-Back sometimes calls for.
Freshmen Brandon Bowling and Stephen Upton also join the wide receiver corp. Bowling, an A-Back from McKinney, Texas has good speed and explosion and figures to help in the return game at some point, though he seems to be a redshirt candidate this year. Upton, a walk-on from Oklahoma is athletic and long for his size.
Kendrick Edwards is a transfer from the University of Arkansas. A mammoth receiver, he will have to sit out due to transfer rules in 2016.
There is a lot to like about the wide receivers on this team, the ability and potential are there for an explosive year, but they have to come together for that to become a reality.
Possible Depth Chart
A-Back Left WR Right WR
Cameron Echols-Luper Dijon Paschal Kendall Sanders
Christian Booker Justin McInnis Omar Bayless
Sterling Stowers Jaylon Marshall Chris Murray
Chauncey Mason *Kendrick Edwards Darveon Brown
Brandon Bowling Stephen Upton