WKU Position Breakdown: Wide Receivers

An in-depth look at Western Kentucky position groups as the season opener approaches.

One of the more intriguing positions entering fall camp for Western Kentucky is the wide receiver position.

Who will be the primary pass-catchers in new head coach Bobby Petrino's vaunted offense?

Returning veteran

5-foot-10 junior receiver Willie McNeal is one wideout that should receive a heavy dosage of throws in 2013.

A freshman All-American as a kickoff returner in 2010 by the Football Writers Association of America, McNeal redshirted in 2011 due to a preseason injury before making a successful return in 2012.

The Bradenton (Fla.) native led WKU with six touchdown receptions in 2012, while also finishing second on the team in catches (43) and yards (556).

As WKU transitions to a quicker, more up-tempo offense under Petrino, look for McNeal to earn plenty of touches.

Position sleeper

While most media and fans think he's earned a starting role by now, one receiver some are still underestimating is redshirt junior Joel German.

The 6-foot, 185 pound receiver has a quality, all-around skillset that's been waiting to breakout after redshirting in 2012 due to an injury.

German has been one of the leading receivers all summer camp, excelling in jump-ball situations that come naturally to him after starring in both football and basketball at Dunbar HS (Fla.)

While McNeal will line up as a quick, speedy receiver on the outside, German could start on the other end, utilizing his soft hands and raw athleticism to stretch the field.

Breakout performer

German and McNeal both showed their veteran experience during camp, but the receiver that turned the most heads arguably was a true freshman.

Former Pleasure Ridge Park (Ky.) standout Taywan Taylor caught 52 passes for 1,169 yards and 14 touchdowns as a HS senior in 2012, and looks in-line to continue that success straight onto the field for the Toppers as a freshman.

"We're going to need some help from the wide receivers, and they certainly have the talent and the ability," said Petrino, to the media after one of many August practices. "I was really impressed with Taywan Taylor.

"He's the No. 1 guy that jumped out at us. He has the ability to catch the ball. He's big, he's 190 pounds, has great strength in his hips and legs, and he goes hard on every play. He just has an unbelievable attitude."

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