Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

2016 Position Primer: IU Wide Receivers

The Hoosiers return all their top wideouts from a year ago. In this preview Peegs.com examines the IU receivers, and who are the names to know at that position.

In this preview Peegs.com examines the wideout position for the Hoosiers. This is an experienced position group that has a great deal of talent and depth. There are also a handful of newcomers that have a chance to get on the field this fall.

Position Primer: Indiana Quarterbacks

Position Primer: Indiana Linebackers

Position Primer: Indiana Tight Ends

Position Primer: Indiana Running Backs

Position Primer: Indiana Defensive Backs

Position Primer: Indiana Offensive Line

Position Primer: Indiana Defensive Line

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TOP RETURNEES

http://www.scout.com/player/176829-simmie-cobbs?s=170

CLASS: Junior

STATS: In 2015 Cobbs had 60 receptions for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns.

NOTES: Cobbs is the number one receiver for the Hoosiers after a big junior season that saw him have over 1,000 yards receiving. The Illinois native is a big, athletic wideout that has shown the ability to make difficult catches, but he sometimes struggles with drops. If he can clean that up he will go from a good Big Ten receiver to one of the best in the conference.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/136069-ricky-jones?s=170

CLASS: Redshirt Senior

STATS: In 2015 Jones had 54 receptions for 906 yards and five touchdowns.

NOTES: Jones was able to finally show what he can do when he is healthy. Foot injuries his first couple of years at IU prevented him from getting on the field, but last year he stayed healthy and he had a good season. Jones was the guy the staff looked to when they wanted to take a shot downfield. He has been mentioned a lot as a guy that had an outstanding Fall Camp.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/181708-mitchell-paige?s=170

CLASS: Redshirt Senior

STATS: In 2015 Paige had 57 receptions for 684 yards and six touchdowns.

NOTES: Paige has gone from a little known walk-on to one of the best wideouts on the top passing offense in the Big Ten. He might not be the biggest guy, but he has good speed and quickness, and he is a very smart player that runs great routes. If Paige has a linebacker covering him he will get open every single time.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/188405-nick-westbrook?s=170

CLASS: Sophomore

STATS: In 2015 Westbrook had six receptions for 69 yards and one touchdown.

NOTES: Westbrook had modest stats last fall in his true freshman year, but he showed flashes of how good he can be. The Florida native was also mentioned a lot by his teammates as being one guy who really stood out in summer workouts, and that seems to have carried over to Fall Camp. Look for his production to go up fairly significantly this fall.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/203046-luke-timian?s=170

CLASS: Redshirt Sophomore

STATS: In 2015 Timian had two receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown.

NOTES: Timian might have only caught two passes last fall but they were both big plays. The first one was at Maryland when the Hoosiers were trailing and needed a big play, and the second was in the Pinstripe Bowl that was the first score for IU after they had fallen behind 10-0. Timian transferred to IU as a walk-on from Oklahoma State. He is expected to be one of the top reserves for the Indiana offense at wideout.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/187310-donovan-hale?s=170

CLASS: Sophomore

STATS: In 2015 Hale had one reception for 10 yards.

NOTES: Hale was not much of a factor at wideout last fall with only one reception for the entire season, but his upside is very high. The Florida native came to IU as a QB but was moved to receiver in Fall Camp last year. He went back to QB for spring ball but asked to go back to receiver and that is where he was in camp this year. He looked much more comfortable at receiver and he should be a much bigger factor for the Hoosiers offense in 2016.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/178737-j-shun-harris?s=170

CLASS: Redshirt Sophomore

STATS: In 2015 Harris sat out the season as a medical redshirt.

NOTES: Big things were expected from Harris this fall after he had to sit out last year because of an ACL injury, but unfortunately he will also miss the 2016 season after suffering an ACL injury to his other knee. It is a blow for the IU passing game because Harris gives them another deep threat, and another wideout who is very difficult to defend in space.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/139465-marqui-hawkins?s=170

CLASS: Redshirt Junior

STATS: In 2015 Hawkins played in three games but did not record any stats.

NOTES: Hawkins transferred to IU before the 2015 season from UAB along with running back Jordan Howard. While Howard made an immediate impact at IU, Hawkins has struggled to get on the field. He has good size and athleticism, but things have yet to click for him with the Hoosiers. It will be interesting to see what kind of factor he can be this fall.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/159583-isaac-griffith?s=170

CLASS: Redshirt Junior

STATS: In 2015 Griffith had five receptions for 54 yards in five games before going down with a season-ending knee injury.

NOTES: Griffith was having a solid 2015 season before suffering a knee injury that ended his year at Penn State. The Fort Wayne native is most likely out for the 2016 season as well as his knee has not responded after being surgically repaired. It is a tough blow for a guy who has had to face a great deal of adversity since coming to IU.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/181946-isaac-james?s=170

CLASS: Redshirt Freshman

STATS: James spent the 2015 season as a redshirt.

NOTES: James was having a solid Fall Camp last year when he got a little banged up. Because of the time he missed the staff decided to redshirt him. He has looked good in camp this year and looks to be the top back-up at slot receiver behind Mitchell Paige. James is a dynamic player that gives the Hoosiers a big play weapon at that slot position.

NEWCOMERS

http://www.scout.com/player/178025-ricky-brookins?s=170

CLASS: Redshirt Sophomore

NOTES: Brookins has been at running back the first few years of his Indiana career, but in the spring he got some reps at slot receiver. He seemed to be back at running back this fall, but after J-Shun Harris was lost for the season with another knee injury the staff decided to move Brookins to wideout to give them more depth at the slot position. As a RB in 2015 Brookins carried the ball 10 times for 72 yards.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/196598-philip-benker?s=170

CLASS: Freshman

NOTES: Benker has good size for the wideout position at around 6’2 and 200 pounds. With all the talent and experience in front of him he is probably a strong candidate to redshirt this fall, but down the road he should be a solid receiver on the outside for the Indiana passing attack.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/193467-kiante-enis?s=170

CLASS: Freshman

NOTES: Enis was a very productive high school running back, and that is the position he started his IU career at in Fall Camp, but he has since been moved to wideout. At the receiver position he is another big target that has good speed and athleticism. Because he is so new to the position he might be a year away from being a major factor, but he has the physical skills to be a good player.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/192329-taysir-mack?s=170

CLASS: Freshman

NOTES: Mack originally committed to Rutgers but he started to look around after the Scarlet Knights went through a coaching change. Up until Signing Day everyone expected him to stick with Rutgers, but he decided to sign with the Hoosiers. He has shown flashes in Fall Camp of why the IU staff was so excited to land him, and he has a chance to get on the field this year.

 

http://www.scout.com/player/183722-jonah-morris?s=170

CLASS: Freshman

NOTES: Morris was another late get for the Indiana staff in the 2016 recruiting class. He originally committed to Michigan State, but they were planning on using him on defense and he wanted to play receiver. He visited Indiana just a few weeks before Signing Day and liked what IU told him about being a receiver for them. He has great size and athleticism and has a chance to be a special player for the Hoosiers.

ANALYSIS

The Hoosiers had the top passing attack in the Big Ten in 2015 and they return all of their top targets from a year ago. Of course the quarterback will be new, but he will have a very deep and talented group of wideouts to throw the ball to. It starts with junior Simmie Cobbs and redshirt seniors Ricky Jones and Mitchell Paige. That trio combined to haul in over 170 passes and more than 1,600 yards with 15 touchdowns. Cobbs gives you a big, physical target on the outside, while Jones has shown to be a good down the field threat, and Paige is very good at working the middle of the field. There is also good depth behind the three starters with Nick Westbrook, Donavan Hale and Luke Timian on the outside, while Isaac James and Ricky Brookins look to be the top back-ups behind Paige in the slot. Brookins was moved to slot WR from RB after J-Shun Harris suffered another season-ending knee injury. There are also a couple intriguing newcomers in Taysir Mack and Jonah Morris. Mack looks like he could be in the rotation early on, while Morris appeared to be slowed by an injury early in camp which has most likely put him behind the others. Kiante Enis is another freshman that has a chance to possibly see some playing time even though he just made the move to wideout in Fall Camp. Overall this is a very talented group of receivers that has size and speed and guys who really know how to play the position. As long as the QB play is where it needs to be it should be another productive season for the Indiana receiver group.


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