2013 Spring Football Roster Breakdown - Wide Receiver

William Mancebo

The Buffaloes of Colorado are putting in their offseason work, so we're doing ours at the Ralphie Report. In today's positional breakdown, we check out the wide receivers.

One could make the argument that the wide receivers are the Buffs most talented and deepest unit. That's a little scary, considering how they produced last year, but we're getting some pieces back, and there are some young guys that will benefit greatly from a full offseason of work and practice. Improvements in this area won't matter if we don't get improved quarterback play, but that's a different discussion for a different day. Here we go!

Wide Receiver:

  • Jarrod Darden, Sr - This is his last shot to get on the field as a Buffalo, but he's got an uphill battle if he wants to make it happen. It's been some time since we've seen him play, but he always looked lackadaisical in practices. He's a big bodied receiver, but he never seemed to be able to use that to his advantage. I have a hard time believing he could beat out the youngsters for a role in the offense this year.

  • Alex Turbow, Sr - Walk on that has been on the depth chart for some time, but hasn't been able to crack the rotation. Again, with the guys ahead of him, he doesn't seem like a candidate to see the field in 2013.

  • Keenan Canty, Jr - His claim to fame as a Buffalo was coming in to try to replace Richardson when he was injured in 2011, but he didn't excel then and he didn't do much last year. He may still get some time as a reserve on this team, but he has been passed on the depth chart by younger players, and unless he has a great offseason, he may get passed by even more kids. His best way to get on the field is as a PR or KR, where they're giving him chances.

  • Wesley Christensen, Jr - A transfer wideout. We'll get a better idea of where he fits in come August.

  • D.D. Goodson, Jr - Wow, some of these guys become upperclassmen far too quickly. Goodson is someone I've liked, even as he's struggled. He played bigger than he is as a replacement DB in 2011 after moving from RB midway through the year. He was back at RB last season, and now is playing wide receiver. That is a good move for him, as he's a guy who can make some nice moves in space. The moves he made on the couple of KO returns he had back in ‘11 and the carries he had last year make me think that he could have some success in the Pac-12 as a slot receiver, so I'm glad he's practicing there now.

  • Justin Gorman, Jr - He has bounced around a bunch, but has been a pretty consistent holder for the Buffs. A star high school QB, he's played there for us, at safety, at RB and now he's practicing at WR. I don't know if he'll see the field there, but he can continue to help us out on special teams.

  • Tyler McCulloch, Jr - Our second leading receiver last season, he figures to be a part of the passing game once again. At 6'5", he should be able to do some nice things for us even if he doesn't win a starting spot. He isn't the fastest nor can he jump the highest, but he can make some nice moves and catch some tough passes. Unlike Darden, he does do a solid job of using his big body to shield the ball away from defenders, and that will earn him playing time once again in 2013.

  • Paul Richardson, Jr - I think everyone is excited to have him back. I don't think he's going to put up the gaudy stats that some will have you believe, but I do think his impact on the game will be noticeable. He's a burner, and that should help our offense out immensely. He's had plenty of time to recover from his knee injury last August (which he was nearly able to play on last year), so hopefully he has come back stronger and healthier than ever before. He looks like he's playing well so far this spring, which is good news.

  • Nelson Spruce, So - Last year Spruce led the team in receptions, yards and tied for the team lead in TD catches. I like Spruce and think he can continue to be a go-to receiver. He isn't going to blow the top off of a defense, but he can get open and pick up yards. I expect him to have another good year and to lead us in some offensive categories. He has nice hands, solid speed, good size and it felt like he got a little stronger as the year went on. If he can put in some work this offseason, there isn't any reason why he can't be our most consistent and dependable WR again in 2013.

  • Gerald Thomas, So - He had a frustrating year in 2012. He had too many drops, but he did look very good when he had the ball in his hands. He isn't quite as fast as Richardson was, but he can help to give our offense some extra versatility and potential for big plays. He is fighting for a spot in a deeper group than we had last year, so it will be interesting to see how his role is defined by the end of summer ball. I imagine he will fill a Richardson-like role in one personnel grouping, since the coaching staff has hinted at using different groupings to change up the offense.

  • Austin Vincent, So - He is working his way back onto the team after being dismissed and bouncing around a CC. He has to sit out this season, so we'll check back in with him next offseason to see if he sticks it out and is able to work his way back onto the team or not.

  • Jeffrey Hall, So - It sounds like he was moved to wide receiver. He was stuck behind some pretty impressive classmates of his at DB, so the move could be good for him. He brings speed to the position, which is something we are definitely looking for.
  • Colin Johnson, Fr - Walk on. Don't know much about him.

  • Jeff Thomas, Fr - Count me as one of the many who are excited to have this guy back with the team. He was a 2012 recruit, but stayed home to take care of some things. He's back now and his potential is very exciting. He has very good size, speed and hands and I can't wait to get a look at him this summer. I like his chances to be one of our top wideouts in 2013, even as a freshman.

I think this is a good group, and probably our best on the offense. Getting Richardson and J. Thomas back, plus full offseasons for J & G Thomas, Goodson and Spruce makes me think that this unit will see some big strides in 2013. They will be playing in an offense that will get the ball to them more quickly in space, and was very effective last season at San Jose State. I expect some nice things from these guys this season.

Bold Prediction:

That Spruce will lead the group in receptions again, but Richardson will lead them in Yards and Jeff Thomas will lead them in touchdowns.

The next update will be about the cornerbacks.

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