Spring Football: Plenty Of Receivers

The position least impacted by graduation following Oklahoma State's overwhelming 58-14 win over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl is receiver. Off the two-deep, only one player does not return and that is the speedy Isaiah Anderson. All told, including walk-ons, there are 23 receivers on the Cowboys roster for spring football. That is by far more than any other position group on the squad.

Even better than the numbers of players returning is the production that is back as all five of the top receivers statistically return, including All-Big 12 sensation Josh Stewart, who finished with 101receptions for 1,210 yards, seven touchdowns, and an average of 12.0-yards per catch.

Behind Stewart's top numbers are the foursome of Charlie Moore, bowl hero Blake Jackson, freshman surprise Austin Hays, and injured standout and veteran Tracy Moore, back for a fifth season. Those four combined for 114 receptions for 1,793 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2012.

In other words, minus Anderson and running back Joseph Randle, who caught a lot of passes, Cowboy quarterbacks Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt have all of their targets returning. The plethora of established quarterbacks and wide receivers should seem like an embarrassment of riches for new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich.

Returning wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn and head coach Mike Gundy may need to be responsible for introductions for Yurcich and new inside receivers coach Jason Ray.

It actually gets better as there are another nine players who could see significant playing time, and that doesn't count incoming freshmen receivers Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples, who are really talented and capable of making a strong impression and contributions very early.

On the outside, count on C.J. Curry (forced into a medical redshirt because of a shoulder injury) and Brandon Sheperd to carve out playing time. Both impressed last season and both have good size and are gifted with strong ball skills. Curry is a little more physical and Sheperd is a little faster, but both are explosive.

Jhajuan Seales, who redshirted last season, goes in that category as well. Dunn has said that Seales may have the greatest upside of the young receivers class. He was impressive at times during drills in practice throughout the 2012 season. Smallish senior Nick Rockwell is a former walk-on who has really developed into a tough and dependable receiver. He is also a leader among the group.

Inside at the receiver position you have an interesting mix of talent including the bigger and explosive Torrance Carr, who has lots of potential but has yet to show it all. Former NEO A&M Junior College standout John Goodlett caught two touchdowns last season before a broken arm sidelined him for about six weeks.

He is pretty good as are smaller receivers like Blake Webb and the oft-injured David Glidden. All have potential to play and contribute. Keep an eye on another NEO transfer in former Edmond Memorial standout Kameron Doolittle, who was a major playmaker for the Norsemen in their conference championship in 2012.

There are also a lot of walk-ons that add depth and the ability to run drills and multiple scout groups for the defense. It's not possible to underestimate the numbers as they allow for practices to be high tempo and it is important for both sides of the ball to be comfortable with the fast pacing.

The question at receiver for the Cowboys is not whether they will be good, but which players will be responsible for making the Cowboys good at the position? Never has a situation been better described by the saying, there is strength in numbers.

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