Position coach: Billy Gonzales
Starters returning: 1
Lettermen returning: 3
2 Rueben Randle (6-4, 208, Jr.)
86 Kadron Boone (6-0, 195, So.)
OFF THE BENCH
33 Odell Beckham Jr. (5-11, 183, Fr.)
82 James Wright (6-2, 200, So.)
81 Armand Williams (6-3, 200, RS Fr.)
80 Jarvis Landry (6-0, 190, Fr.)
Out of action: Russell Shepard (6-1, 185, Jr.), suspended indefinitely
Veteran difference-maker: Rueben Randle
Rising star: Freshman Odell Beckham Jr.
Something to chew on: Five of the six receivers on top of the depth chart were either four- or five-star recruits coming out of high school. Of those six, five are from Louisiana (Boone is the exception – he’s from Ocala, Fla.).
Numbers of note: Other than Randle, the receivers available in the season opener have a combined six career catches for 73 yards among them.
This unit will shine if: At least two of the relatively unknown receivers step forward and supply a consistent big-play threat for quarterback Jarrett Lee to ease some of the double-team attention Randle figures to face every game. Also, the receiving corps will benefit greatly from Beckham and Landry blossoming quickly.
This unit will struggle if: The young receivers don’t get comfortable with precise route-running and finding ways to get open against the level of aggressive press coverage they’ll face against SEC secondaries.
Prediction: Randle will find the going tough early on while the young receivers around him adjust to the rigors of college-level defenses, but that will ease up quickly as Beckham emerges and either Boone or Wright becomes a reliable possession receiver. When Shepard returns, he’ll have a tough time working his way back into the starting rotation but will make a splash in a big way and in a key point of an SEC game.
Quotable: “I need to be the guy that whenever the coaches need me to make a play, I’m ready to do that whether it’s a short pass for a first down or a deep ball or whatever. I have to be there for my quarterback.” – Rueben Randle