Blue Raider Preview- Wide Receivers

As the season draws near continues to preview the upcoming Blue Raider season. In this segment we will take a look at the wide receivers.

Ever since Middle Tennessee decided to make the move to D-1A the Blue Raiders have been the Sun Belt's version of "Wide Receiver University", that is until 2 years ago. Since the 1998 season the Blue Raider faithful has witness great performances by players such as Kerry Wright, Tyrone Calico, Kendall Newson, Chris Henry, David Youell, Handsford Johnson, and Sulecio Sanford, to name a few.

When Coach Rick Stockstill was hired he said he wanted the offense to be exciting and play "basketball on grass". Unfortunately, last year the offense appeared to be playing in quicksand in most of the games.

Key Losses:
Pierre Ingram – Ingram caught 2 passes in 2006 for 15 yards.

Walt Bell- Bell did not have a reception is 2006.

Luke Paschall – Paschall caught 13 balls for 156 and 1 TD in 2006.

Key Returnees:
Bobby Williams- Williams caught 36 passes for 378 yards and one TD. He has put on some muscle in the off season. Williams will be entering his junior season. Hopefully he can have a break-out junior season like many past Blue Raider greats.

Desmond Gee- Receiver? Running Back? Gee does it all. Gee was probably the best overall receiver for the Blue Raiders last year as a true freshman. He caught 27 passes for 351 yards and 3 TDs. Look for the coaches to get him more involved in the passing game this year.

Jonathan Grigsby- Grigsby was very stellar for the Blue Raiders in 2006. He picked up 24 receptions for 319 yards, but failed to reach the endzone.

Taron Henry- Henry was the Blue Raiders 4th leading receiver with 16 catches for 247 yards and 1 TD.

Other returnees are Clint Corder, Stephen Chicola, Michael Cannon, Patrick Honeycutt, John Marc Stephens, Alvin Ingle, Dale Galvin, Jay Robinson and Rod Taylor.

Wes Caldwell- Caldwell is a highly touted player out of Lexington, KY. He ended his career as Lexington Catholic's all-time leading receiver with 159 receptions for 2,601 yards and 38 touchdowns. He also ranks 7th all-time in Kentucky history in touchdown receptions, ninth in catches, and 13th in yardage.

D. D. Kyles- Probably the most impressive attribute about Kyles is his speed. He was third in the state of Florida in the 100 meters as a junior.

Walter Dozier- Dozier is out of McCallie High School in Chattanooga. He was selected as All-State two years in a row and was selected as Chattanooga's Playmaker of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

Dwight Dasher – Those familiar with the Blue Raider recruiting class might question why we list Dasher as a receiver instead of quarterback. The answer is that Dasher is an athlete. He will get his shot at quarterback and will probably take some snaps in certain situations. Coach Stockstill is all about getting the quality athletes on the field, such as Gee last year. Look for Dasher to be used in several different positions this year, including receiver.

The Outlook:
1) The good news is the Blue Raiders have the majority of their receiving production back for the 2007 season. The negative is this group underachieved last year. This group has another year's experience. Look for this to be a break out year for the receiving corps.

2) It should be interesting to see if the tight ends become more a part of G.A. Mangus' offense. Clint Corder and Stephen Chicola were big parts of the offense in 2005, but in 2006 the offense was not geared toward the tight end position. Between the two for them they caught 22 passes for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns.

3) Will the freshmen play? Stockstill has proven that he is not afraid to play true freshmen if they are ready to play. Will Caldwell, Dozier, or Kyles be the Blue Raiders' next big impact player?

Blue Raider fans have really focused on the quarterback battle in the off-season, but no matter who is under center, they need someone who can catch the ball. The success of the new quarterback will rest on the shoulders of the receiving corps.

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