Spring Ball First Look – WR’s

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Spring Practices … First Look: Wide Receivers

Program Note … Spring practices will begin February 16th (Spring Game: March 17th), so over the six weeks, previews will be posted for each unit of the 2018 Colorado roster.

Previously posted: Quarterbacks … Up next: Running backs

Colorado loses three of its top ten all-time receivers, yet many Buff fans remain optimistic. While Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields, and Devin Ross posted great career stats, the consensus was that the unit as a whole under-performed last season. Two transfers – Tony Brown and Kabion Ento – and two sophomores – K.D. Nixon and Laviska Shenault – will look to continue CU’s history of producing quality wideouts.

The roster: 

Players lost (with 2017 season stats) … Bryce Bobo (50 career games; 28 starts … 62 catches for 693 yards; five touchdowns) … Shay Fields (50 career games; 46 starts … 46 catches for 623 yards; four touchdowns) … Devin Ross (49 career games; 31 starts … 43 catches for 508 yards; two touchdowns) … Johnny Huntley (11 special team points) … Lee Walker (8 special team points) …  Kevin Dement (walk-on; no stats)

WIDE RECEIVERS (11 scholarship):

Seniors: Kabion Ento; Jay MacIntyre; Juwann Winfree
Juniors: Tony Brown
Sophomores: KD Nixon; Laviska Shenault
Redshirt freshmen: Maurice Bell; Jaylon Jackson
True freshmen: Daniel Arias; Dimitri Stanley; Dylan Thomas

The stats (2017):

Jay MacIntyre … 28 receptions for 396 yards; two touchdowns

Juwann Winfree … 21 receptions for 325 yards; two touchdowns

Laviska Shenault … seven receptions for 168 yards; two carries for 4 yards

K.D. Nixon … two receptions for 17 yards; three carries for 20 yards; 11 kickoff returns for 261 yards

 

On paper, the numbers are disconcerting.

The four Colorado wide receivers who return to the roster for the 2018 season had a combined 58 receptions for 906 yards and four touchdowns last fall … about an average season for each of CU’s three departed seniors.

In most seasons, when the No. 3, the No. 7, the No. 8 receivers on a school’s all-time receptions list leave town in the same season, it’s cause for panic. However, many in the Buff Nation, while they thank and wish well Shay Fields (No. 3 in all-time receptions), Bryce Bobo (No. 7) and Devin Ross (No. 8), they aren’t too concerned about the future of the wideout position at Colorado.

While the depth chart will certainly see significant changes between now and the September 1st opener against Colorado State, it is a good place to start as spring practices get underway:

— Wide receiver (X)

Departed starter: Byrce Bobo … next on the dept chart: Laviska Shenault

One of the two prized freshmen (along with K.D. Nixon) who saw playing time in 2017, Shenault became the 15th known player in CU history to score on his first collegiate touch, as he returned a fumbled punt 55 yards for a touchdown for Colorado’s first score in the win over Texas State. Shenault also had a 42-yard reception against UCLA, and a 58-yard reception in the win over California on Oct. 28th (which was CU’s first passing play of over 50 yards on the season).

— Wide receiver (Z)

Departed starter: Shay Fields … next on the depth chart: Juwann Winfree 

Winfree played in his first Division I game since 2014 in the 2017 season opener. A junior college transfer, Winfree sat out the 2015 season, and was poised to start in 2016 before a torn ACL in August cost him another full year. Winfree cracked the starting lineup in September against Washington, but really didn’t have a breakout performance until the USC game in November. Against the 15th-ranked Trojans, Winfree had five catches 163 yards and two touchdowns – the 163 yards ranking in a tie for the fifth highest single-game total by any Pac-12 receiver and the most gained by a Buff on the season. His touchdown receptions were from 79 and 57 yards out and marked the eighth time in Colorado history that a receiver caught two passes of 50 or more yards in the same game.

— Wide receiver (H)

Departed starter: Devin Ross … next on the depth chart: K.D. Nixon

Nixon is the other talented Texan who saw playing time as a freshman last fall. Like Shenault, much is expected from Nixon, a four-star recruit from CU’s Recruiting Class of 2017. Nixon played mostly on special teams in 2017, with 11 kickoff returns for 261 yards (a 23.7 yard average), and was second on the team (behind Beau Bisharat) in special teams points, leading the team with seven FFC’s (forced fair catches) and seven FDF’s (first downfield on kickoffs).

— Wide receiver (Y) (when in four-wide set)

Returning starter: Jay MacIntyre

MacIntyre is CU’s leading returning receiver, with 28 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns in 2017. In the first six games of the season he posted 13 receptions and 11 of those earned first downs, then had a season-high five receptions that went for 53 yards in the win over California and in that contest he caught a 23-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

While the depth chart suggests a starting lineup of Laviska Shenault, K.D. Nixon, Juwann Winfree and Jay MacIntyre, there are a number of other options for co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini:

Tony Brown … A red-shirt junior, Brown sat out the 2017 season in compliance with NCAA transfer rules. In 2015-16, the four-star recruit played in 24 games at Texas Tech. In his two seasons with the Red Raiders, the former Chiaverini recruit recorded 27 receptions for 378 yards and one touchdown. Buff fans will be anxious this spring to see how Brown fits into the wide receiver rotation.

Kabion Ento … A red-shirt senior, Ento last fall took the unusual step of sitting out his potential senior season. With three senior starters already in the lineup, Ento, though healthy, sat out the 2017 campaign in order to get more playing time as a senior in 2018. In 2016, Ento had eight receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns.

Maurice Bell and Jaylon Jackson … A pair of red-shirt freshmen, Bell and Jackson will have their opportunity to make a name for themselves this spring. Jackson may have seen playing time as a true freshman last fall, but suffered a broken ankle in a scrimmage on August 5th, ticketing Jackson for a red-shirt season. Bell, meanwhile, will try and remind coaches that he was the No. 8 wide receiver recruit out of the state of California from the Recruiting Class of 2017.

CU in the fall … three true freshmen: Dimitri Stanley; Daniel Arias; and Dylan Thomas. The trio of three-star recruits will enroll this summer, with the real possibility that one or more will find their way onto the field (at least on special teams) in the 2018 season.

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5 Responses to “Spring Ball First Look – WR’s”

  1. ep

    Stuart
    Are you going to bother to do a segment on TEs? or wait to see if they are finally going to become a part of the offense as receivers?
    I have to believe Chev will make them such. I will be extremely disappointed if he continues the sorry recent tradition.
    Been watching Gronk destroy and McDonald’s solid contributions last couple of days.
    Nothing annoys a D back more than having to tackle a 250 pound TE running full speed.

  2. KevMc

    I think we’re in good shape. Personally, I’m happy to see Big Drop Shay move on. Ross was good for a couple years, but pretty much absent this past season. Used to be money on the quick slant, but that play call kind of disappeared. Bobo was the real deal, IMO. Hope to see him in the NFL.

    I’m excited to see the youngsters play… and some good senior experience too. Winfree is more than solid, and watch out for Ento.

  3. Who knew LaVar K – the guy who says he only judges and critiques coaches, not players – would take the opportunity to gripe about J-Mac on the receivers post?

    Go Buffs.

    • VKBerlin

      No gripe. Just facts.

      And I hope he graduates. Would make a good graduate assistant. Says he wants to coach. What a great place to start.

      Buffs

  4. VKBerlin

    Gonna be real interesting in this section of the team.

    Little experience but lots of real/perceived talent.

    Watching the bowl games, including the championship, EXPERINCE IS OVERRATTED. TALENT WINS GAMES.

    Play the talent.

    Buffs.

    Note: I still hope Lil Mac graduates.

    Note 2: 4 mil a year and ya can’t pay your kids tuition.

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