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Countdown to Spring Practices – Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Program Note … CU spring practices open on March 31st. Over the next few weeks, there will be a unit-by-unit preview posted every other day leading up to the start of spring ball.

Previously posted

— Wide Receivers (10) … Returning starter (bold); walk-on (italics):

  • Seniors … Daniel Arias; Maurice Bell; Jaylon Jackson; RJ Sneed (TR)
  • Juniors … none
  • Sophomores … Montana Lemonious-Craig; Chase Penry; Ty Robinson
  • Red-shirt freshmen … none
  • 2022 Signees … Grant Page (EE); Chase Sowell; Jordan Tyson

— Tight Ends (6) … Returning starter (bold); walk-on (italics):

  • Seniors … Brady Russell
  • Juniors … none
  • Sophomores … none
  • Red-shirt freshmen … Caleb Fauria; Erik Olsen; Louis Passarello; Austin Smith
  • 2022 Signees … Zach Courtney

The Stats … 

Let the hand-wringing begin. Three of the most recognizable defections from the 2021 CU roster came out of the wide receiver corps. Brenden Rice left for USC, while Dimitri Stanley (Iowa State) and La’Vontae Shenault (Alabama State) wound up in less spectacular venues. Still, instead of having almost all of the receptions and receiving yards returning from last season, almost a third of last year’s receptions and receiving yards (and four of CU’s 10 receiving touchdowns) are gone.

Well, what’s left?

Daniel Arias and Montana Lemonius-Craig are back, as is Chase Penry, all of whom saw significant playing time in 2021. Oh, and so is CU’s leading receiver from last season, tight end Brady Russell.

The 2021 stats from the remaining roster:

  • Brady Russell (TE) … 25 receptions for 307 yards
  • Daniel Arias … 19 receptions for 237 yards and a touchdown
  • Montana Lemonious-Craig … 10 receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns
  • Chase Penry … 8 receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown
  • Chris Carpenter … 7 receptions for 45 yards
  • Ty Robinson … 6 receptions 64 yards and a touchdown
  • RJ Sneed … 46 receptions for 573 yards and two touchdowns (for Baylor)

Nationally … 

  • Passing offense … 131.2 yds/game … 126th nationally
  • Total offense … 257.4 yds/game … 129th nationally
  • Scoring offense … 18.8 pts/game … 121st nationally

Comments … Would the Colorado offense have been in better shape heading into the 2022 season with Brenden Rice on the roster? Almost certainly. Can the same be said for Dimitri Stanley and La’Vontae Shenault? Perhaps not so much. Stanley (father) and Shenault (brother) certainly have strong family ties to CU receiving history, but neither Dimitri nor La’Vontae were dominant players in their time in Boulder.

Does it boil down to a trade of Brenden Rice for RJ Sneed? An oversimplification, to be sure, but CU head coach Karl Dorrell, for one, is putting a positive spin on the Transfer Portal. “The additions we made in this program are in a lot of ways a little bit more of an upgrade over things we’ve had in terms of an attrition standpoint,” Dorrell said. “We feel good about moving forward.”

With a passing offense four spots from dead last in 2021 (with three of the four teams below CU being the three service academies), almost anything would be an “upgrade” on what the Buff Nation experienced last fall.

New wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan received mixed reviews when he was hired, but received nothing but praise from his new head coach. “I remember him as a technician of the game, a very detail-oriented guy”, Dorrell said when McGeoghan was hired in January. “He was someone who you felt that when he was done playing could become a really good coaching candidate in the profession.  He’s done a reputable job at developing players wherever he’s been, and his body of work is very strong.”

The McGeoghan era begins March 31st.

Burning questions for spring … 

  • Will either of the returning senior wide receivers not named Daniel Arias, namely Maurice Bell and Jaylon Jackson, make a name for themselves this spring? The Buff roster is right up against the 85-scholarship limit, and several transfers (along the lines, in particular) are expected to be added before the start of fall camp. That means there has to be attrition elsewhere, and unproductive receivers might be asked to pursue other opportunities;
  • Is RJ Sneed the real deal? Over the course of five seasons at Baylor (I know, it sounds strange), Sneed had 133 receptions for 1,564 yards and eight touchdowns, including 573 yards and two touchdowns last fall. Sneed has proved himself against Power Five opposition, and is coming to Boulder with one season left to play. He enrolled in January, and will be on the practice field this spring. Great expectations will follow him wherever he goes;
  • Which of the underclassmen will step up? Early money would be on Montana Lemonious-Craig, but Chase Penry and Ty Robinson (along with early enrollee Grant Page) will get their chances this spring;
  • Will this be the year – insert joke here – that CU will finally utilize the tight end position? Karl Dorrell has recruited five tight ends over the past two seasons. Will they be used strictly for enhancing the rushing game, or will Brady Russell & Co. actually be considered a weapon this fall?

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3 Replies to “Countdown to Spring Practices – Wide Receivers”

  1. Met a few of them at the signing event last week. All spoke highly of the new receivers coach and offensive scheme. One thing that caught my ears. The route tree is changing, it is much more complex. Arias looks like a pro receiver. He was wearing a cast on his hand but said he going to be full go in spring.

  2. Penry and lemonious Craig had some nice moments last year. Robinson seems to have some wheels. Would love to see arias have a stellar year. Should be some good competition. 30 or so pass attempts per game?

    Go Buffs

    1. 61.2 plays per game

      50/50 HCKD says

      so ya 30 seems about right

      2022 Buff Football is great

      Note: USC AZ run 75 and 71 plays per game
      OR wsu osu run 69 and 68.plays per game

      MIddle of thepack nationally is 70 per game.

      Work to do

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