2008 CU Preview: Receivers

One reason Colorado has implemented the no-huddle into its offensive arsenal, and plans to use it in 2008, is to give itself more opportunities to score. For the offense to really click, however, it needs an explosive threat at wide receiver. The kind of player opposing defensive coordinators take extra time scheming for. The kind of player defensive backs know by name, not just by number.

The Buffs have the potential to field a wide receiver who gives opponents concern. But going into August drills, it's just that – potential. Senior Patrick Williams has the size (6-2, 205 pounds) and speed (he runs a sub-4.50 40-yard dash) to dominate defensive backs. The former high school quarterback has slowly and steadily improved as a receiver during the past three seasons. Last year, when he caught 27 passes in a starting role, was his best to date.

Sophomore Josh Smith has the ability to get behind any defense Colorado will face this fall. He was too talented to keep off the field as a true freshman in 2007, and made 23 catches with a team-high 19.6-yards per reception average. Still, Smith was raw – he played just two years of high school football prior to last season – and it showed. He failed to come up with the kind of big-play catch he's capable of, and has yet to find the end zone as a collegiate. An offseason of work should help turn more of Smith's potential into production this fall.

The Buffs' most productive receiver from last year, sophomore Scotty McKnight (43 catches, 4 TDs), will once again be one of quarterback Cody Hawkins' favorite targets. McKnight has a knack for getting open and hangs on to passes when they come his way. Redshirt-freshman Markques Simas had a good spring. He's not going to scare anyone with his speed, but looks like he has other tools to develop into a solid wide out, sooner rather than later. Sophomore Kendrick Celestine, who could be facing a redshirt situation due to grades, has good speed. Seniors Cody Crawford and Steve Melton will provide depth. Walk on Jason Espinoza turned some heads in spring with his ability to get yards after the catch.

CU tight end Riar Geer's suspension will be lifted for the fall season, pending the outcome of a sentencing hearing, scheduled for Aut. 18. (Geer's season was in jeopardy because of Geer's alleged involvement in an off-campus altercation. He missed spring ball because of it.) If Geer plays, it's big news for the Colorado offense, as Geer brings much-needed experience to the position. Geer is a solid combo end – he can block and does well as a receiver. Fellow junior Patrick Devenny had a great spring in Geer's absence, and looks to earn time as a receiver, but needs to continue to develop as a blocking tight end.

A trio of freshmen tight ends will have the chance to earn playing time this fall. Ryan Deehan has the look of a future star. He's got great size and good hands. Will Pericak played linebacker and tight end at Boulder High School and may be the most physical of the youngsters at this point. Ryan Wallace is a coach's son, and at 6-5, he's also got big-time player written all over him. One of the trio could redshirt.

The Roster
Chance Blackmon, Fr., WR, 6-3, 175
Kendrick Celestine, So., WR, 5-11, 180
11 G, 11 Rec., 151 Yds
Cody Crawford, Sr., WR, 5-11, 175
24 G, 22 Rec., 295 Yds
Ryan Deehan, Fr., TE, 6-6, 230
Patrick Devenny, Jr., TE, 6-3, 240
6 G, 1 Rec., 1 Yds, 1 TD
Jason Espinoza, R-Fr., WR, 5-8, 180
Riar Geer, Jr.., TE, 6-4, 250
24 G, 28 Rec., 289 Yds, 5 TD
Cameron Ham, So., WR, 6-1, 200
Scotty McKnight, So., WR, 5-11, 190
12 G, 43 Rec., 488 Yds, 4 TD
Steve Melton, Sr., WR, 5-11, 195
Will Pericak, Fr., TE, 6-4, 235
Devin Shanahan, Jr., TE, 6-5, 240
Markques Simas, R-Fr., WR, 6-2, 200
Josh Smith, So., WR, 6-0, 180
10 G, 23 Rec., 451 Yds
Ryan Wallace, Fr., TE, 6-5, 230
Luke Walters, Jr., TE, 6-3, 235
Patrick Williams, Sr., WR, 6-2, 205
36 G, 74 Rec., 748 Yds, 1 TD


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