I watched every single practice this spring for Cougfan.com and the Cougar receivers were downright impressive. There were very few dropped passes. There were a lot of big plays.
You had the guys everyone expected to be rock solid, like Jared Karstetter and Marquess Wilson. And they were.
But then you add in some of the other guys who had excellent springs and what emerged was a bona-fide offensive strength, one stacked deep with a lot of talent and potential.
Guys like Kristoff Williams. He really showcased his skills and he's a different type receiver. He's a big, physical wideout who regularly "outbodied" defensive backs for the ball.
Another guy who turned heads was Bobby Ratliff. He ran mostly with the 2s but he also got in some time here and there with the 1s. And no matter what unit he was with, he looked good. He has solid hands and deceptive speed.
Don't be surprised this fall if a game is just going along, ho-hum, and then all of a sudden, bam, Ratliff or Williams, or both, make a big play.
Now when you consider both those guys are backups on the post-spring depth chart, it starts to resonate how good the Cougs can be this year at receiver. Karstetter is the starting Z receiver. And he is the Cougs' Mr. Dependable. When the offense needed a clutch play this spring, they went to him and he delivered.
What might set Karstetter apart most is how good of a deep threat he is – he has good speed but he's not the fastest WR out there. But he wins the position battle, time after time. He just makes plays.
Wilson, the Cougs' starter at the X spot was explosive this spring, and the leading receiver in the final spring scrimmage. He's coming off a sensational freshman season and although he's sure to garner more attention from opposing defenses this upcoming season, it's going to be hard to contain him if this spring was any indication.
The deciding factor for Wilson, and really for all the young receivers, this upcoming season might be found over the next few months. Wilson, as good as he was last year, wore down as the year went along, something you see in freshmen. If he and the others hit the weight room hard this summer, they should be that much more ready to excel.
The starting F receiver job in the slot was hotly contested this spring. Isiah Barton is listed atop the post-spring depth chart with Gino Simone behind him. Either of those guys could have been listed up top, it was that close a battle this spring. Barton is a vocal leader and he made some big plays. He's solid out there, nothing too spectacular, but he's consistent in getting the job done.
Simone, if he can stay healthy, something he hasn't been able to do his first two seasons, could become a significant factor. The way he runs after the catch, the way he plays the game, he gets every last bit of yardage. His hands, as has been oft-mentioned on CF.C, are excellent.
That's a deep receiving corps right there but the Cougs have more. Two true freshmen who enrolled early are in the mix post-spring.
Isiah Myers early on looked like a high schooler playing alongside college players. But that didn't last long. He improved quickly and by the end of the spring, he firmly looked like he belonged, scoring a number of touchdowns in both practices and scrimmages. He has speed, hands and advanced route running skills for a rookie.
Henry Eaddy made plays out there but he might have made his mark most as a return man in special teams. But from a receiving angle, he caught just about anything close to him. He's quick, but he's also fast once he turns it loose. He's another guy teams are going to have to account for.
Others in the mix include walk-on Bennett Bontemps, who has impressed receivers coach Mike Levenseller with his play on special teams and his knowledge of the receiver positions. Blair Bomber's knee injury, however, is expected to sideline him all of the upcoming season. Where Bomber's absence might be felt most will be on special teams in the return game. In a "normal" year, his injury might have had a bigger effect on the Cougs' receiver depth. But not this year.
OFFENSIVE PRIMER: Wide Receivers
Cougfan Top Stories
PRACTICE: WSU set a new benchmark in TNFPULLMAN – Washington State's Thursday Night Football session was not only lopsided, it was jam packed with highlight reel plays by the offense. One Cougar quarterback, along with…
CougfanYesterday at 7:28 PM
Polynesian civil rights group blasts WSUTHE WSU Student Conduct Board’s actions in the case of Washington State defensive lineman Robert Barber appear to have landed them and WSU President Kirk Schulz in the crosshairs…
CougfanYesterday at 3:10 PM
Legal expert: WSU's Barber treated unjustlyA SERIES OF CALLS and other outreach to Washington State's administration for comment on Cougar lineman Robert Barber's suspension from the university by the WSU Student Conduct…
CougfanYesterday at 12:25 PM
Q&A with Oregon State expert Angie MachadoWE WANTED THE inside scoop from the Oregon State side for when Washington State travels to Corvallis on Saturday (7:45 pm, ESPN 2). And Beaverblitz.com publisher Angie Machado didn…
CougfanYesterday at 9:59 AM