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Countdown to Spring Practices – Wide Receivers

Note … This is the seventh in a series of unit-by-unit spring previews. A new unit has been previewed every few days over the past month, leading to the start of spring practices on March 29th. The running backs preview will be posted next …

Previously posted … 

Related posts … 

The Roster … 

bold = returning starter … italicized = walk-on … *= early enrollee (in school for spring practices) … TR … Transfer …

— Wide receivers (10):

  • Seniors … seniors
  • Juniors … Maurice Bell … Jaylon Jackson … Daniel Arias
  • Sophomores … Dimitri Stanley 
  • Red-shirt freshmen … La’Vontae Shenault
  • True freshmen … Brenden Rice … Montana Lemonious- Craig … Keith Miller … Michael Harrison
  • 2021 Signees … Chase Penry … Ty Robinson

The Stats … 

Hard to post impressive stats in a five-game season (CU doesn’t count bowl statistics in year-end numbers), but there are some clues as to how the 2021 season might play out in reviewing the 2020 numbers:

  • La’Vontae Shenault … 17 catches for 193 yards; no touchdowns; long of 41 yards
  • Dimitri Stanley … 16 catches for 249 yards; one touchdown; long of 55 yards (a touchdown catch v. Stanford)
  • K.D. Nixon … 10 catches for 93 yards; no touchdowns; long of 41 yards
  • Maurice Bell … 9 catches for 89 yards; one touchdown; long of 21 yards (a touchdown catch v. Utah)
  • Brenden Rice … 6 catches for 120 yards; two touchdowns; long of 61 yards (a touchdown catch v. Utah)
  • Daniel Arias … 5 catches for 88 yards; no touchdowns; long of 38 yards
  • Jaylon Jackson … 2 catches for 17 yards; one touchdown; long of 14 yards

Nationally … 

  • Red zone offense … .913 (21-of-23; 17 touchdowns; four field goals) … 14th nationally
  • Third down conversion offense … .427 (41-of-96) … 48th nationally
  • Total offense … 413.8 yds./game … 48th nationally
  • Scoring offense … 28.5 pts./game … 63rd nationally
  • Passing offense … 201.5 yds./game … 87th nationally

Comments … The surprise wasn’t that K.D. Nixon decided to move on from CU, but that he landed at USC. If you look at the above numbers, and indeed the numbers from the past few seasons, they show that Nixon, while a part of the Buff offense, was never really the showcased player. He put up numbers, but not irreplaceable numbers – and not numbers which would suggest that he will be a star receiver for the Trojans. Here’s wishing K.D. success … just not when he faces the Buffs in Folsom Field on October 2nd.

Nixon’s departure does not diminish, at least on paper, the talented group wide receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini has accumulated. The big question for the spring (and the fall) is whether La’Vontae Shenault can live up to his promise. Shenault was suspended for the first and last games of the 2020 season, and Buff fans are hopeful that will find a way to stay on the roster. Shenault was cited for his third traffic offense in the past year in February (going 93 mph on the Turnpike) before his first citations (DUI and other charges in Ft. Collins last July) were finally resolved. It would be a surprise if Shenault does not face more suspension time this fall … but hopefully not long enough to keep him from having an impact on the Buff attack.

With Nixon gone – and Shenault a question mark – the returning starting lineup for the wide receivers comes down to just one player, Dimitri Stanley. A quality player, to be sure, and a player which will hopefully have a breakout season in 2021.

But he will need help.

The trio of returning juniors will need to find their way to relevance … or risk being considered expendable if the freshmen (most notably, Brenden Rice) continue to flourish astride established star Dimitri Stanley. Maurice Bell, Jaylon Jackson and Daniel Arias have all had their moments, but they are also upperclassmen who have yet to truly make their mark. These juniors – who would be seniors in a non-COVID season – are perhaps the most interesting story to track among the receivers this spring. It could be make or break spring for this trio. The Buffs are still over the 88-scholarship limit they will be allowed this August, so some non-contributing players (especially those who are upperclassmen and could be in line to graduate and finish out their careers elsewhere) may be quietly asked to move on.

If the upperclassmen don’t shine during spring ball, then eyes will turn to the freshmen. Brenden Rice has already given CU fans a glimpse of his bright future, but we may hear more this spring about the development of Montana Lemonious- Craig and Keith Miller.

CU fans have grown accustomed to having depth – and quality depth – in the wide receiver room. However, with K.D. Nixon defecting, and the status of La’Vontae Shenault in question, all of the sudden the wide receiver corps doesn’t look as imposing as it has in years past.

This spring will be all about allaying concerns about the CU passing game in 2021 …

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One Reply to “Countdown to Spring Practices – Wide Receivers”

  1. I’m sure the blitzkrieg called Jarek Broussard had a little to do with Nixon’s decision.. Can’t blame HCKD for riding him as much either seeing as how he had little time to organize a passing attack that probably isnt exactly like Chev’s. All the running probably affected each one of these WR’s stats too.
    If Jarek can continue his acreage acquisition hopefully it will help open up the passing attack as well in this coming season. That is if we can find a QB that doesnt hallucinate a Buff jersey on opposing linebackers.

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