Kyle Okita

Making the Grade: Wide Receivers

With the 2016 season in the books, we’re taking a look back at each position group — as well as handing out final grades. Up now are the receivers/tight ends.

Wins

Let’s be honest, it was a tough year for this group, especially considering the fact that receiver was considered by many to be a strength going into the season. Sadly, the unit might have been the most frustrating by year’s end. To be fair though, the QB play most of season didn’t do the receivers any favors. Well, and once Noah Togiai was lost for the season after one game (he was injured on the opening kick-off of the Beavers second game vs. Idaho State), the tight end position became a non-factor, as Togiai and Ricky Ortiz combined for 9 receptions, 65 yards, and two TDs.

That said, the receivers did a good job blocking throughout the season, especially during running plays. For example, during the Idaho State game, Jordan Villamin and Ortiz delivered great blocks that sprung Victor Bolden loose during his 92-yard TD run. Despite Villamin’s struggles in the passing game this year, he really improved his blocking skills. Timmy Hernandez was another strong blocker this season.

When the ball was in his hands, Victor Bolden made several highlight-reel plays, none bigger than his 75-yard catch and run for TD against Stanford that pulled the Beavers within three points. His playmaking ability will be missed next season. However, Seth Collins had several spectacular catches, so if he comes back strong, he might be able to help fill Bolden’s void.

Opportunities

The receiving corps could have a totally different look in 2017, as it’s very possible the Beavers could break in all new starters — due to the loss of Boldin and a possible influx of incoming talent. But at the same time, Villamin, Collins, and Hernandez probably will have every chance to make strong cases. So, the competition should be fierce this spring and fall.

Because if things hold steady recruiting-wise and the Beavers are able add Jamire Calvin to the mix, they would be bringing in arguably the top group of receivers in program history. Calvin and Isaiah Hodgins are highly coveted 4-stars, and combined with the other wide receivers coming in, provide a great blend of speed, athleticism, and size. There are a lot of unknowns, but also potential at the position, making it a good bet that it can rebound next season and be more consistent.

One certainty is that return of a healthy Togiai would be a huge boost. He’s a great athlete and a big receiving threat for the Beavers. In fact, I had him pegged as a breakout player last season before he got hurt. He would provide at the very least a nice safety valve for his QB. If his blocking is improved, even better!

Final Grade: D

MAKING THE GRADE FEATURES

Quarterback

Running Back

Offensive Line

Defensive Backs


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