After a successful year by the wide receivers last season, the Knights looked like they would have a very strong unit for the 2008 season, as they returned the three players at wide out that had most of their receptions and receiving yards. After A.J. Guyton's injury in the spring (torn ACL), and a less than stellar beginning of summer camp things appeared to be very different. However the Knights have improved each week, and could meet the high expectations after all.
The tight end position should be an interesting one to watch this season. With the departure of Mike Meritt the Knights lose a solid blocker, but are able to replace him with Corey Rabazinski, who is a much better pass catcher and has plenty of game experience.
Starters: Corey Rabazinski (TE), Kamar Aiken (WR), Rocky Ross (WR), Brian Watters (WR)
Rabazinski had a solid camp and looks to build on that as the season progresses. He is good at everything and should be a great goal line target for Michael Greco, as he has the ability to get open and has soft hands. He will offer Greco a reliable safety valve because of his size, surprising quickness, and solid hands.
Ross is the senior of the group and is a great leader on offense. He is a terrific route runner and has good hands. His most impressive attribute though is his willingness to go over the middle and take a hit and still hold onto the ball.
As a true freshman last season Aiken dazzled, making tons of highlight reel catches. The former ESPN 150 player has great size, speed and hands, although he struggled with consistency this spring. He will start the season on the bench due to a foot injury, but is an extremely athletically gifted wide out, with big play ability and should be back within a month.
Watters will start in place of Aiken for the first couple games. He is fast and has good hands, and had one of the best camps amongst UCF wideouts.
Projected Backups: John Lubischer (TE), Sidney Haynes (WR), Khymest Williams (WR), Chad Alexander (WR), J.T. McArthur (WR), Austin Hudson (WR), Kyle Madden (TE)
Lubischer is a transfer from Duke that is a relatively unknown. He, like many of the other tight ends, had a solid camp and earned his spot on the roster.
Haynes is a tall receiver (6'4") that has the ability to go up and make plays, which should insure that he will have a great future as a position receiver. With Aiken out, Haynes will get a chance to shine, something he did through camp and the spring.
In the slot will be Williams, a small guy (5'10') with blazing speed, something that should be utilized throughout the season. Alexander, McArthur and Hudson all offer something unique and bring great depth. Madden became increasingly impressive as camp went on, and should vie for some playing time as the season progresses.
Strengths: Depth, playmaking ability; even with a harsh amount of injuries, the Knights will not see much of a drop off at receiver, as the backups often look as good as the starters. There as an abundance of talent here, with players combining terrific speed and size.
Possible Concerns: Consistency; Coach George O'Leary noted that he was concerned with drops through camp, but Coach David Kelly (WR coach) said it will come with time. The receivers progressed through camp, but they still have a tendency to make amazing catches, but drop some very catchable balls. This should be a problem that will be fixed with experience.
Position Overview: If the receivers can work on the drops just a bit more they will have a huge season. They will not see defense tougher than the one they go against every day in practice and that will serve them very well.
InsideKnights WR/TE Preview
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