It is one of of the most used clichés in football. "It's hard to keep talent off the field." When attending a SMU practice, it's easy to see that the wide receiver position has a lot of talent throughout the classes, but no one expected this much.
"I could see us going seven to eight deep at the position. There is some really talented kids out there. Some are further along than others because of their experience, but the experience will come. They are getting better every day," stated SMU offensive coordinator Dan Morrison. "What is really helping the young guys is that they are watching upperclassmen and learning from them. They are watching them do it right. Where as when you first put it in, it takes a long time for everyone to get it."
While Emmanuel Sanders, Terrance Wilkerson, and Aldrick Robinson have cemented themselves as starters, the battle for the fourth receiver might go down to the very last practice. Senior Justin Willis, sophomores Cole Loftin and Cole Beasley, and freshman Darius Johnson have all split time with the 1st team over the last week.
"We are trying to get three to four guys ready to play. You don't want a situation where one guy goes down, and there is a talent drop off to the next guy," said Morrison. "I think it's important to get them reps. The thing is, they are all good. You don't want to take away from guys who all have skills."
Another player that is expected to make contributions at the wide receiver position is sophomore Bradley Haynes. At 6'3, 220-pounds, Haynes has had a great camp, being the primary target on the 2nd team offense. Although he had just 16 grabs for 198 yards and two touchdowns last season, all but two of those catches came in the final three games.
From top to bottom, this is still a fairly youthful corps that relies on a number of underclassmen. Besides reducing the number of drops, Jones needs the receivers to start doing the small things for the run-and-shoot to work effectively. Overall, the athleticism and speed of the receivers is tremendous. Finding the talent to put on the field, will not be a problem.