What a difference a year makes. Coming out of last spring and going into last season the only sure thing at wide receiver was Shay Fields, who was already a star in the making. Devin Ross was a speed burner more known for questionable hands than for big time catches. Bryce Bobo showed flashes at times but in fall camp was actually talking about a move to the secondary. Everyone else was a complete unknown, and the big question on everyone’s mind was how to replace the record breaking production of Nelson Spruce.
Flash forward to April of 2017 and the only questions on anyone’s minds are how will Darrin Chiaverini find enough playing time for all the talent the Buffs have at receiver, and, is their receiver corps among the best in the nation? The answer to the first is still to be found, but the answer to the second, almost unbelievably given the last 10 years, is yes. Not only do the Buffs return every single receiver who played a significant part on CU's offense last year, but the top three of those receivers clearly cemented their positions at the top of the Pac-12 talent list. And CU is set to add a plethora of talent to the position this summer. And that’s not even the best news out of spring ball...
The best news out of spring ball was that Kabion Ento exploded out of nowhere to make a case for himself as possibly the best and most talented receiver on the team. Who saw that coming? Ento was hands down the biggest surprise and best player on the field on either side of the ball this spring. His production day in and day out was nothing short of phenomenal, and if he keeps it up he will be an NFL player. The question at this point is when? With Fields, Ross and Bobo all back and all looking as good this spring as they did last fall, and with the return of Juwan Winfree, does it make sense to redshirt Ento so that he returns in 2018 to star with Winfree when the three seniors are gone? Stay tuned, Buff fans, because it will be a question the Buffs' staff thinks long and hard about in the coming months before the 2017 season kicks off.
So what have we learned this spring at receiver?
- CU is absolutely loaded at receiver. The Buffs haven't had this much talent at the position since the early and mid-90’s. And it covers the spectrum of receivers shapes and sizes. There is speed in Fields and Ross. There is height and athleticism in Bobo, Ento and Winfree. There is the quintessential possession receiver and first down magician in Jay MacIntyre. Even Lee Walker showed something this spring.
- Darrin Chiaverini is one heck of a coach. Probably it’s fair to say we learned this last season, but he continued to demonstrate his abilities this spring as all of his players continued to improve and Ento exploded.
- There’s more of the same on the way with this year’s recruiting class. Strictly speaking this is not something we learned this spring, but it’s fair to say we learned that first class talent like Laviska Shenault, Jaylon Jackson, K.D. Nixon and Maurice Bell will likely have to take a back seat to the older guys for a season or two.
- Spring MVP at receiver: Kabion Ento by a large margin. There seemingly wasn’t a practice this spring where Ento wasn’t mentioned as one of the bright spots of the day and many of his catches were of the spectacular variety.