Spring Review: The Receivers

Rutgers needed to find receivers capable of playing with consistency during spring practice, and a pair stood out. With Quron Pratt and Tim Wright joining Mohamed Sanu and Mark Harrison, the Scarlet Knights now have four receivers they believe they can count on when the season begins. However, did anyone else stand out, or is there tons of room for a few of the incoming freshmen to earn spots?

There were no major injuries to impact the 2010 season, which was the most important non-development of spring practice.

The most important development of spring practice was the play of receivers Tim Wright and Quron Pratt.

With Tim Brown now with the New York Giants, and given the lack of depth Rutgers dealt with during the 2009 season, something had to happen at the receiver position in the spring.

That materialized with the player of Wright and Pratt.

Wright, who is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, is physical receiver with speed. He caught the ball in traffic and made difficult catches look routine, ran good routes and showed an improved ability to block. At his size, he can also be an asset in the red zone, and has the size advantage against cornerbacks.

Pratt's ability was shown in a short flash last season when he caught one pass for 14 yards before an ankle injury ended his season. Luckily for him, it transpired in the first half of the season, and since he played in only two games, he was eligible to medically red-shirt.

That the coaching staff elected to play Pratt as a true freshman spoke of his ability, and during spring practice he showed why there is so much promise of what he can be.

Pratt spent much of the spring playing in the slot, where Brown excelled last season in leads the Scarlet Knights with 55 catches, 1,150 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. But don't expect Pratt to be a carbon copy of Brown.

In fact, there styles are different. At 5-foot-7, 160 pounds, Brown was pure speed. The threat of getting beat deep forced defenses to give Brown room underneath.

Pratt is 6-foot, 175 pounds, but doesn't possess the game-breaking speed. However, Pratt understands how to find openings in the defense and get open, and he showed good hands.

The biggest issue with Pratt is strength, but spending the next few months with Rutgers strength and conditioning coach Jay Butler should help a great deal.

Of course, neither Wright nor Pratt are proven game players, and that will be needed to take the pressure off sophomores Mohamed Sanu and Mark Harrison.

Sanu continued his business-as-usual approach throughout the spring. He was consistently open, was able to use his 6-2, 215-pound frame to gain superior position on defensive backs and was able to stretch the field.

Sanu also ran the "Wildcat'' package effectively.

The gifted Harrison performed better as the 15-session practices wore on, and his effort was markedly better for it. He consistently gave quarterback Tom Savage a big target over the middle, and despite his 6-3, 230-pound size, Harrison has the ability to make the vertical passing game work.

Beyond those four, though, plenty of the inconsistencies plaguing the receivers last season remained present.

Keith Stroud, Aaron Hayward, Julian Hayes, Eddie Poole and Carl Harris each had moments of bliss, but it was too often followed by dropped passes or inadequate blocks.

Strides were made, especially at the top of the receivers list, in spring practice. But there is also plenty of room for incoming freshmen Brandon Coleman, Jeremy Deering, Jordan Thomas, Jawaun Wynn, JT Tartacoff and Tejay Johnson to make an impact.

Scarlet Report Top Stories