Key Depatures: Gary Bush (Graduating)
Additions: Trae Hart, First Baptist (TX) Academy; Gregory Phillips, Arabia Mountain (GA) High School; Simmie Cobbs, OPRF (IL) High School
Summary: Perhaps the most talented position group on Purdue's 2012 roster was the least utilized. The Boilermakers' promising young receiving core racked up just 117 receptions on the season. DeAngelo Yancey and B.J. Knauf emerged as the top two targets of a passing game that made strides during the tail end of the season. Cameron Posey, Danny Anthrop and Shane Mikeskey also showed potential.
Looking Ahead: The potential is certainly there for Purdue's young receiving core, but it all falls on the rest of the offense to give it a chance. If Danny Etling, the assumed starting quarterback, can continue to improve, the receivers will greatly benefit. For the passing game to succeed, the offensive line must block and a running game must exist. The receiving core could be very good, but we haven't seen it yet.
Purdue's best position group remains its best-kept secret. Maybe this will be the year the Boilermakers' receiving core breaks out.
This certainly wasn't the case in 2012, where Purdue's young receiving core hardly got a chance to shine. The unit averaged 9.75 receptions per game, far and away the lowest total in the Big Ten. This was simply a result of an entire offense that struggled all season.
The potential is there for this young receiving core. Last year, it was shown in flashes. Maybe this season, we'll see much more.
The talk starts with DeAngelo Yancey, the sophomore-to-be who emerged as Danny Etling's top target. Yancey has the size and talent to become an elite Big Ten receiver. Even head coach Darrell Hazell touted him as an NFL-type talent down the road. For now, Purdue must find ways to utilize his abilities in the offense.
Yancey recorded just 32 catches in his first season, but it was still the most among the receiving core. Now that Etling has gained comfort with the Boilermakers' West Coast look, it's likely Yancey's reception total rises much higher than this. Yancey has perhaps the brightest future of any receiver on Purdue's roster.
The Boilermakers need more from their entire receiving group. Cameron Posey was the only other receiver with more than 20 catches. Danny Anthrop and Shane Mikesky each had solid contributions while B.J. Knauf played well in his eight games. But due to deficiencies all throughout the offense, these receivers never got a chance to make a true impact. This has to change.
For Purdue's offense West Coast offense to be successful, the quarterback has to be allowed ample time in the pocket to make a play, and then put the ball in the right spot. These were two elements that were missing far too often this season, a byproduct of youth and inexperience.
Etling has all the talent to be a top-tier Big Ten quarterback, and he has the receivers to work with. This group has all the potential for a breakout season.
This could be a big year for Yancey, who I expect to post more than 50 catches. Alongside will be his fellow sophomores, Knauf, Posey and Mikesky, along with Anthrop and Dolapo Macarthy, to fill out a solid top group. It's even possible that freshmen like Trae Hart and Simmie Cobbs could see the chance to play, too.
Purdue's receiving core has the potential for a solid, much-improved season. This is undoubtedly the team's most talented, promising unit.