The receiving corps seems to be filled with talent, both young and old, but there is zero experience catching the ball behind Tim Brown, a rising senior from Miami's Northwestern HS. The summer, therefore, will be a time of research for Rutgers Football head coach Greg Schiano.
The bulk of the talent at receiver comes from a four-player deep redshirt freshman class consisting of Marcus Cooper, Keith Stroud, Tim Wright and Eddie Poole.
Unfortunately for Schiano, he only got a real look at two of the four this spring as both Cooper and Poole missed the majority of practice with injuries.
Cooper injured himself off the field in what Schiano described as a "freak accident," but will be ready for training camp, Schiano said. Poole injured his leg early in the spring and missed the rest of the practices.
In their stead, Stroud and Wright got the majority of the playing time. Although Stroud seemingly struggled to find a groove, Wright played well. Stroud worked primarily with the second and third team and turned in an unimpressive spring overall. Wright, on the other hand, used his combination of size and speed to work his way into reps with the first team in numerous circumstances.
Going into the summer the primary contenders, along with Cooper and Wright, to win the starting job alongside Brown at receiver appear to be senior Julian Hayes and junior Mason Robinson.
Hayes, with just one career catch for nine yards, has the second most experience at receiver behind Brown.
"Any experience is good experience," Hayes said after a previous practice. "I don't have a lot, but at the same time you have to take it for what it is because it's the best I can do."
Hayes practiced with the first team at the start of the spring, but saw his time decrease as Wright and Robinson excelled.
Robinson saw time at both running back and receiver during the spring but will likely remain at wide receiver for the duration of the summer as running backs Jourdan Brooks and Kordell Young return to the backfield from injury.
Although the Somerville, N.J. track star is still raw as a wide receiver, he is an enormous threat after the catch because of his talents in the open field.
Expect Robinson to finish the summer as a wide receiver, not a running back.
Late additions to the wideout competition come in the form of three true freshmen — Mark Harrison, Aaron Hayward and Mohamed Sanu.
Harrison brings much needed size to the position with his 6'4" frame and is a potential Z receiver for the Knights in the future. A freakish athlete, Harrison exhibited early signs of his potential when he notched an outstanding 39" in the vertical jump – as a mere sophomore. He flashed on to the recruiting scene during the Big Time Showcase, when he recorded a blistering 4.38-second 40-yard dash, an unheard of feat for someone nearing 225 to 230-pounds. During his senior season, Harrison recorded 61 catches for 1673 yards and 17 Tds in 11 games, and earned first team All-State honors.
Hayward, a four-star athlete from Carneys Point in South Jersey, brings even more speed to the receiver position after a successful career as a running back at Carneys Point High School. Hayward gives the RU staff significant maneuverability due to his pass catching and running abilities.
Sanu, the third freshman, arrived early in the spring and impressed at both safety and wide receiver and will continue to play both throughout training camp. Schiano compared his hitting ability to that of now Seattle Seahawk Courtney Greene as a safety, but after pulling in a touchdown in his second ever attempt at wide receiver in the Scarlet-White game, the future of South Brunswick High School's former star quarterback may be on the offensive side of the ball, as a wideout.
Make sure to also see previous Training Camp Preview installments:
Offensive Line [Non-Premium]
Training Camp Preview: Wide Receivers
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