Spring countdown: Wide receivers

A look at the Colorado depth chart at wide receiver heading into spring ball reveals two playmakers fans know they can count on followed by a lot of questions.

Paul Richardson, Will Jefferson and Toney Clemons played a lot last season and should be big contributors again in 2011.

The question that will begin to be answered this spring at Colorado is who else will contribute at the position and who might be ready to step in if either Richardson, Jefferson or Clemons is hurt?

Redshirt freshman Keenan Canty and sophomore Jarrod Darden are the only other players on the roster at the position who were recruited to CU as scholarship athletes and neither has played on Saturdays yet.

Both have the potential to develop into contributors but can they be counted on? Probably not until they begin to produce in practices on a regular basis.

Other receivers in the mix this spring will be Kyle Cefalo, Jason Espinoza, Parker Robbins, Alex Turbow and Dustin Ebner who missed last season with an injury.

Losing Kendrick Celestine and Andre Simmons during the winter to academic problems is a big loss, but it creates plenty of opportunity for those players, most of whom are current or former walk-ons.

First-year wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy will have his work cut out for him developing a group of five or six receivers who can compete in the speedy Pac-12 next year. Building the right kind of depth at wide receiver in Boulder is probably going to take a few more years of recruiting, but this is where Kennedy must start

He will probably spend much of this spring, fall camp and next season with his fingers crossed that Richardson and Clemons don't get hurt.

Richardson is coming off a freshman season in which he caught 34 passes for 514 yards and six touchdowns. He set CU freshman records for receiving yards and touchdown catches.

Clemons was the Buffs' second leading receiver in 2010, catching 43 balls for 482 yards, but he only found the end zone three times. It's an area he would like to improve as a senior next fall.

Jefferson was yo-yoed between wide receiver and running back in 2010 by the former coaching staff. He has proven to be a capable receiver in the past and should continue to grow and mature under Kennedy and in a new system.

Adding true freshmen Nelson Spruce and Tyler McCulloch to the roster this summer will be a big boost. Both should have an opportunity to play in 2011 regardless of what happens this spring.

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