Ash Era Countdown: Wide Receivers

The Ash Era countdown to training camp continues with an insider breakdown of the wide receiver position. No Leonte Carroo means big changes coming to the position. Which young players could step up to join a senior-heavy position group?

The Competition – There are plenty of snaps available with the fast-rotating position. Rutgers needs three or four receivers ready to go at all times. It starts with Janarion Grant and moves outside to senior classmate Andre Patton. Grant, in theory, should be a top wide receiver in the Big Ten. Between his athleticism and designed role in the Drew Mehringer offense, watch out. Patton gets his opportunity in the spotlight as well.

JANARION GRANT

RUSHINGGATTYARDSYDS/ATTLONGTDYDS/G
2013 13 0 0 -- 0 0 --
2014 13 5 52 10.4 24 0 4.0
2015 12 8 80 10.0 29 0 6.7
TOTAL 38 13 132 10.2 29 0 3.5

RECEIVINGGRECYARDSYDS/RECLONGTDYDS/G
2013 13 3 21 7.0 14 0 1.6
2014 13 25 312 12.5 53 0 24.0
2015 12 35 352 10.1 40 1 29.3
TOTAL 38 63 685 10.9 53 1 18.0

KICK RETURNGNOYARDSYDS/RETLONGTDYDS/G
2013 13 21 517 24.6 100 1 39.8
2014 13 36 910 25.3 71 0 70.0
2015 12 40 984 24.6 100 3 82.0
TOTAL 38 97 2411 24.9 100 4 63.4

PUNT RETURNGNOYARDSYDS/RETLONGTDYDS/G
2013 13 17 156 9.2 58 1 12.0
2014 13 6 45 7.5 23 0 3.5
2015 12 12 167 13.9 67 1 13.9
TOTAL 38 35 368 10.5 67 2 9.7

ANDRE PATTON

RECEIVINGGRECYARDSYDS/RECLONGTDYDS/G
2013 11 3 49 16.3 27 1 4.5
2014 9 20 223 11.2 34 3 24.8
2015 12 34 432 12.7 38 1 36.0
TOTAL 32 57 704 12.4 38 5 22.0

It gets more interesting behind those two. Vance Matthews and Carlton Agudosi should battle it out for the third starting role. John Tsimis, if healthy, is a much better fit for the new Rutgers offense. Spreading things out allows Tsimis to move the chains and find holes in coverage. Two-sport standout Jawuan Harris is the most direct competition and depth for Grant's role in the offense.

Storyline Central – Forget replacing Leonte Carroo. It isn't going to happen. Rutgers couldn't replace Ray Rice or Devin McCourty with one player, and the same goes for Carroo. For the wide receivers, this is the perfect time for a move to the power spread.

Rutgers needs to do what it, eventually, did in 2008 when Rice moved on to the NFL. Instead of forcing players into the wrong roles, Rutgers changed its offense to take advantage of new weapons like Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood. The transition took too long with a 1-5 start to the season, but the change proved for the better with an amazing finish to Mike Teel's quarterback career. Redesign, rebuild and reclaim. Rutgers has at least two play-making running backs and one of the most electric return men in college football. Start there.

Prospect Development – The late commitment from Dacoven Bailey represents the most significant addition at the position with Ahmed Bah and Mohamed Jabbie as the other newcomers.

http://www.scout.com/player/205009-dacoven-bailey?s=183

Bailey is a track star from Texas that fits the same mold as Grant and Harris as a slot-type weapon. Bah's frame creates red-zone opportunities and Rutgers hopes Jabbie brings uncle Mohamed Sanu's versatility and competitive spirit to the program. Receiving No. 6 was a nice start.

http://www.scout.com/player/191534-mohamed-jabbie?s=183

Dontae Owens saw more action than Rashad Blunt in spring when it comes to the 2015 class' push for playing time.

Chris Parker remains sidelined with a shoulder injury while fellow walk-ons Ntwademela Perry, Justice Stewart, Nixon Provillon and Alex Schoen round out the receiver room. Don't discount those players in the new offensive system.

Preseason Grade – C – Rutgers simply does not have enough proven talent and it goes back to multiple years of poor recruiting at the position in recruiting. Grant's and Patton's combined potential is dangerous in theory but the two seniors have just 120 career catches, 1,389 yards and six touchdowns – AKA one season's production from Carroo.


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