Position Review: Wide Receivers

Now that the regular season is over, Pony Stampede will review and grade all position groups. Today we take a look at the SMU wide receivers!

The Starters

Darius Johnson and Jeremy Johnson were the two most productive receivers for the Mustangs this season, combining for 128 catches for 1,426 yards but only seven touchdowns. DJ3 had a disappointing senior season after having such high expectations that Gilbert to Johnson would be one of the most potent combinations in the country. Johnson missed the Stephen F. Austin game and was held without a catch against Tulane. Johnson rebounded after the Tulane game to have his two best games against Houston and Memphis, but aside from the Rice game, was a non-factor most of the season. Jeremy Johnson also had an average season, but was more consistent than DJ3. Johnson had trouble in SMU's last two games getting the ball, having just four catches for 36 yards.

On the outside for SMU, Der'rikk Thompson and Keenan Holman were invisible most of the season. Thompson was held to three catches or less nine times this season and did not have one 100-yard game. Thompson was expected to use his speed to stretch the field for Gilbert, but his longest reception of the year was just 42 yards in the opener against Baylor.

The Other Contributors

Holman is down in other contributors because he lost his starting role for the last three games of the season and as said, was invisible most of the season. Holman, SMU's tallest starting wide out at the beginning of the season at 6-foot-1, was never able to become a consistent threat for Gilbert to go to. Holman looked lost out on the field at times and will have to fight in the spring and fall camp to regain his starting role with Austin Fuller graduating.

Zach Line was the team's fifth leading receiver and was able to draw the attention of the defenses with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, but even that did not help the receivers get even more open. The combination of Austin Fuller and Gehrig Dieter getting looks at the outside spots never really panned out and with Fuller and Dieter both gone, SMU will be very thin at receiver.

Grade: C

The Future

Not all of this is the receivers' fault with Gilbert struggling most of the year to hit open players, but a lot of it was dropped balls and lack of separation created by the receivers. SMU will have to replace DJ3 in the slot but has some burners to be able to do so. Ronnell Sims and Darius Joseph may get looks along with some of the incoming freshmen like Jarvis Baxter or Deion Sanders Jr., but it will be tough to replace someone like DJ3 for the Mustangs.

On the outside, Arrius Holleman and Keenan Holman will probably battle it out for playing time at the outside spot with Der'rikk Thompson still getting the nod at the other outside receiver. The loss of Dieter hurts depth wise on the outside as well. One thing to watch is how SMU coach June Jones incorporates Jeremiah Gaines into the passing game if he can come in and play right away. Having Gaines out on the field may help hide some of the problems in the running and passing game by having Gaines out there as a big target for Gilbert. With wide receiver being so thing look for fellow incoming freshman JaBryce Taylor and sophomore Daijuan Stewart to compete as well.

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