Spring practice preview: receivers

The receiving positions at BYU are sort of a mixed bag this coming spring. There is ample returning talent whose goods have been proven on the field of play, but there are also some very promising young players ready to prove their worth. They'll get a chance to do exactly that this spring.

There are plenty of good storylines at the receiver positions this spring. First and foremost will be two new coaches at both the wide receiver and inside receiver positions with newcomer Ben Cahoon and Lance Reynolds, the latter of who switched over from coaching the running backs.

How they'll coach and manage their respective position groups will certainly be well worth noting throughout the coming weeks. Changes with how they run drills, rotate their players, and other factors will be things we'll be watching on a day-to-day basis.

The Given

The two main givens at the wide receiver position are Cody Hoffman (6-4, 205 So.), who is coming off of a very promising freshman campaign, and McKay Jacobson, who may end up seeing more time at inside receiver in the slot position. Hoffman will be looking to improve on the high he ended last season with, while Jacobson looks to rebound from what was a disappointing junior year.

Jacobson is expected to spend at least some time playing the inside slot position, if not play there almost exclusively. Spencer Hafoka (6-0, 200 Sr.) has proven able to give good reps at the position as well, along with J.D. Falslev (5-8, 178 So.) and Matt Marshall (5-10, 172 Sr.)

At tight end there isn't one clear starter at the position, but there will be two proven performers at the spot in Austin Holt (6-4, 245 So.) and Devin Mahina (6-6, 236 So.). Richard Wilson (6-2, 233 So.) showed some promise as well last season, but will be sitting out during the spring as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.

The tight end was a mess for a lot of last season and subsequently saw meager production. Both Holt and Mahina showed signs of very solid play toward the end of the season, however, and will look to build upon that this spring.

The Intrigue

Most of the intrigue at the wide receiver position this spring surrounds Ross Apo (6-3, 202 Fr.). Apo wasn't able to perform throughout much of last season due to injury, but is raring to strut his stuff this spring in hoping to grab the starting receiver position opposite of Hoffman.

If Apo can prove able to man one of the starting spots, it will free up the option to play Jacobson exclusively at slot, which would be very beneficial to the offense as a whole. Apo certainly has the potential to be one of the best wide receivers ever to play at BYU.

As mentioned in the running backs preview, Drew Phillips should see a lot of looks in the slot position and at running back. There is certainly a lot of intrigue surrounding his prospects entering the spring practice session.

This reporter is very anxious to see how Jordan Smith (6-4, 205) looks coming off of his mission service. Smith looked very promising as a true freshman and could make an immediate impact if he can regain that form.

Marcus Mathews (6-5, 200 So.) has been switched back to the wide receiver position, and he'll certainly get a lot of looks to see if he can break the two-deep roster. Mathews saw some good production at tight end last season, but was moved outside during the offseason.

Other names to watch out for at outside and inside receiver include Rhen Brown (5-10, 180 Jr.), Andrew Cusick (6-5, 200 Fr.), Dallin Cutler (5-9, 175 So.), Kurt Henderson (6-2, 170 Fr.), Brady Hunt (6-2, 200 Fr.), (Cody Raymond 5-10, 175 Fr.) and Skyler Ridley (5-11, 168 So.).

At tight end, we'll be very anxious to note how Kaneakua Friel (6-5, 235 So.) looks following his mission service. Prior to his mission, he looked to have some great potential.

Other options at tight end to watch out for include Bryan Sampson (6-3, 221 Fr.), Mathew Edwards (6-3, 225 Sr.) and Matt Shriley (6-5, 230 So.)

Overall, there looks to be a lot of talent to work with this spring. With the other parts on offense looking very solid going forward, this group should prove to be both a productive and exciting one going forward.

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