WR #85 Ryan Moore / Senior / 6-3, 215
WR #8 Darnell Jenkins / Senior / 5-10, 195
WR #9 Lance Leggett / Junior / 6-3, 190
WR #87 Khalil Jones / Sophomore / 6-2, 220
WR #20 Terrell Walden / Junior / 5-10, 170
WR #15 Brian Monroe / Senior / 6-1, 210
*measurements as told to CanesTime staff in the spring
Moore: 28 catches, 464 yards, 4 TD, 16.6 avg
Jenkins: 25 catches, 242 yards, 2 TD, 9.7 avg
Leggett: 15 catches, 204 yards, 2 TD, 13.6 avg
Jones: 2 catches, 30 yards, 0 TD, 15.0 avg
Walden: 2 catches, 17 yards, 0 TD, 8.5 avg
Monroe: only a punter in 2005
There was a lot of attention on the wide receivers this spring with the new coach, Marques Mosely, as well as the new offensive coordinator, Rich Olson, who was brought in for all intents and purposes to get more production out of the passing game by maximizing the abilities of the wide receivers.
By all accounts, including comments by the players and coaches, the wide receivers adjusted well to the new system and they are excited about the possibilities Olson brings to the table.
The defensive backs consistently commented on the improved work ethic by the receivers on a daily basis during practices, which kept them on their toes. Quarterbacks Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman liked what they saw from their guys noting improved speed, catching ability, route-running, and focus in the spring practice.
Bottom-line is the receivers, when healthy and participating, where on the practice fields getting things done with a sense of urgency.
The 2006 projected starting receivers are Ryan Moore (split end) and Darnell Jenkins (flanker), both seniors.
Moore and Jenkins have had similar careers although Jenkins did not have two lost seasons due to injuries the way Moore has (in 2002 and 2004). However, both players have not produced at the level they were expected to when they arrived on campus due to various reasons including the system they were in.
Moore missed five spring practices due to a pulled upper leg muscle and Jenkins missed the final five practices including the spring game, with a sprained ankle.
Before Moore was hurt he was making NFL-type routes and plays according to Olson and Ryan was his biggest surprise amongst the offensive players in the spring.
If Moore has a big season he will finish his UM career in the top five in all of the major categories for a receiver--yards, receptions, and touchdowns caught.
Jenkins was solid in the spring and this is final season to prove he is a big-time receiver. He has made a number of key catches throughout his career, but holds just a 10.0 yards per catch throughout his career, which is very low for a player with his speed and ability.
Leggett responded by being a stand-up individual and answered numerous questions by the media all spring about his '05 campaign. He was honest and upfront without placing blame on anyone but himself. His efforts in the Peach Bowl, in which it appeared he didn't go 100 percent when trying to catch the ball, is highly publicized and will stick in the minds of fans until he makes big plays in 2006.
Lance got the 2006 calendar year started on the right foot when he put together solid spring practices en route to being one of the top offensive players. His performance in the spring was highlighted when he scored three touchdowns during a closed scrimmage beating the secondary deep twice.
He is expected to have a large role this season as the team could show a number of 3-receiver sets as opposed to last year when they generally had just one or two receivers on the field for the majority of the snaps.
Khalil Jones, like Leggett, did not miss a practice in the spring. He continues to prove why he is considered one of the hardest working players on the team as he routinely stayed after practice while his teammates went in. Jones understands the things he needs to improve on if he wants to be a key component of the offense and is doing everything he can to get to that point.
The spring was crucial for Jones as '06 wide receiver signee Sam Shields is expected to compete for the number four spot when he arrives on campus in the fall.
Terrell Walden is up to 170 pounds--the highest he's ever been--and feels great. Walden missed the spring and is still recovering from an ACL injury he suffered in December. He anticipates being ready for the season opener and figures to be in the mix as a returner. When healthy, he is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, players on the team.
Brian Monroe practiced at receiver last year, but this spring he was used more frequently and went through all the receiver drills. His performance in the spring game drew a lot of attention as he showed he could seperate from the cornerbacks.
Although there won't be a need for Monroe at receiver in the season, don't be surprised if he reaches his career goal of having at least one reception.
With a solid summer and fall practice session, all five of the current receivers on the roster could improve on their reception totals from a year ago.
Christopher Stock can be reached at email@example.com