News and Notes: Brandon Williams recovered nicely from the stress fracture in his shin that kept him out of spring practices and had a great fall camp… Jonathan Orr and Brandon White look like they retained their spots as the No. 2 and No. 3 receivers, respectively… After spring, Marcus Randle El looked like the No. 6 wideout, but an excellent camp had him leap solidly into the No. 4 spot and he could press further… Jarvis Minton and Luke Swan rounded out the receivers ‘in the depth' during fall camp… Jeff Holzbauer, who was right up there with Minton for the No. 4 spot in the spring, missed all of camp due to a water skiing injury… Joe Walker also was held out of camp… The scouts included Paul Hubbard, Derek Konkol, and freshmen Elijah Theus, Joe Molenda, Matt Gifford and Shane Phillips.
Fall MVP: Brandon Williams. Finally healthy for summer conditioning and the training camp to follow, Williams was nothing short of excellent. He caught just about everything in sight and blistered defensive backs throughout camp. He displayed a burst that has been missing the past couple years, and combined an ability to make plays downfield with his always dependable consistency on possession routes.
Player on the rise: Marcus Randle El. The sophomore was very consistent and was surprisingly good at getting down field and making big plays. Even the more veteran defensive backs had a tough time holding him in check. Randle El is not a burner, but he is a nifty athlete who has a good understanding of route running. His hands were exceptional this camp.
Questions answered: Two of the three biggest questions with this corps were answered in an emphatically positive fashion. Randle El established himself as a high-caliber fourth option at receiver, a player who could be a legitimate starter now. And Williams proved that he has recovered from the recurring injury that kept him out of spring workouts the past two years.
Questions remain: The other major question was whether Jonathan Orr could assert himself as a consistent, top receiving option. This remains to be seen. Orr continues to have a penchant for the big play but he still needs to be more consistent.
Brandon White generally had a good camp, but he had spurts where his consistency wavered. At times, Jarvis Minton looks like the best receiver on the field, but about midway through camp he got into a funk and struggled to consistently catch the ball the rest of the way. Still, he made as many big plays as anyone.
Final thoughts: This is a competent receiving corps that could emerge as a highly productive unit in the Big Ten. If Orr can demand attention, Williams and Randle El could really create problems for teams. White is a capable receiver and is an exceptional blocker. Minton is an explosive talent who will have a chance to get on the field and prove himself as a playmaker.
After a very good spring, Holzbauer will have to play catch-up after missing fall camp. But heading into the summer he definitely looked like a player worthy of a spot in the rotation.
Luke Swan earned his spot in the depth by catching nearly everything thrown to him. He will help on special teams at the least.
Paul Hubbard is the most athletic receiver in the bunch and at times he looks like a star, but those moments are too few and far between for him to challenge the depth at this point.
Theus missed some time during camp. The three true freshman walk-ons looked athletic enough to compete for spots down the road, as Holzbauer and Swan have done.