UW Dropping Ball on WR Prospect?

With more than their fair share of defensive talent in next year's recruiting class, have the Pokes forgot about the offensive side of the ball? Or are players like Juron Criner simply too good? See what the Nevada wide receiver had to say about Wyoming.

Through ten games, Juron Criner's stats are off the charts.

Maybe that's why the Cowboys have backed off on their recruiting of the athletic wide receiver.

"I guess they're kind of thinking that since I'm getting recruited big, they have no chance of getting me because they're smaller," Criner told CowboyBlitz.com on Monday. "But that's really not how I'm thinking. I'm just looking out to see what's best for me, to see where I can fit in and what program fits me best."

Wyoming is one of four schools to offer a scholarship to the 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior from Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas, but Criner's breakout season has grabbed the attention of a slew of BCS programs.

"Last year I was a slot receiver, so I did a lot of inside routes, and I was a lot slower than I am now," he said. "But over the summer, I did a lot of drills and working on speed and different little things. This year I moved to the outside receiver, and I guess all the work just paid off."

Paid off indeed. Through 10 games in 2007, Criner has 52 catches, 1,519 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns, including a long of 80 yards. At 29.21 yards per catch and a touchdown on every other grab, he is a literal game-breaker, and with a 151.9 yards-per-game average, it doesn't appear that defenses have found a way to cover him.

"Currently I'm ranked second in the nation," he said.

And that's caught the attention of a number of Division I programs. Along with offers from Wyoming, UNLV, Utah and Arizona, Criner has gotten looks from Arizona State, Kansas State, Fresno State, Nebraska and Washington.

He lists the two Arizona schools as his favorites.

"It's not really where I'm from or the location, it's just that I like the program and the team. When I was younger, I did kind of say that I liked the PAC-10 conference, but that didn't really take a play in it," he said. "What I like about Arizona and Arizona State, I like their offense, the type of offense that they run and how they pass the ball."

That may not bode well for the rush-heavy Cowboy attack, which has struggled through the air in ‘07. The Pokes average more than 100 passing yards per game less than Arizona (316.4) and more than 70 less than Arizona State (268.8).

But Criner hasn't ruled out the possibility of suiting up for Wyoming. In fact, it's almost been the other way around.

"I haven't even talked to Wyoming since like the spring," he said. "I would look more into them if they were looking more into me.

"I would learn more about what type of offense they run and what their campus is like and things like that."

Whether or not that makes any difference in the minds of UW coaches, one thing is for sure: Criner isn't slowing down any time soon. In his last four games, he has averaged 187.75 yards receiving and nearly three touchdowns per outing. Even his forty time—listed at 4.5—is dropping.

"That was before this summer when I did all my workouts and built my speed up," he said, "so I know I can get it lower."

Criner has official visits set up for Arizona and Arizona State, and his team is currently in the second round of the Nevada state playoffs.

To view Criner's player page, click here.

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