Today we look at the Buffs wide receivers. Despite losing CU's all-time leading wide receiver in Scotty McKnight, we return five guys who saw the field last year, plus one guy who logged playing time two seasons ago. We should be OK at the position this season, and I'm not sure there is much question as to who will be seeing the field. Here is the last round of these that I did going into the 2010 season.
Follow the jump to see the CU wide receivers for 2011
- Kyle Cefalo, Sr - He followed an interesting path to get to CU that included some D1 baseball, an arm injury and a community college. But he's here now, and despite mediocre size (5'10" 170 lbs) he made it onto the field as a walkon last season. He only recorded six catches, but that's something, and he's a competitor. He's not afraid to go over the middle and that may be what gets him onto the field some this season.
- Toney Clemons, Sr - He did not have nearly the year that we were expecting him to have last season. He is big, at 6'2" 210 lbs, strong and fast. He showed that some last year, and I expect to see even more of it this season. He seemed to be a guy that got better with more time on the field during games, which was something not afforded to him (or anyone) last year because of the ‘platooning' that went on with the WRs. He should be one of the starting receivers in 2011 and should have a very good year.
- Jason Espinoza, Sr - A walkon that has earned a good amount of playing time here at CU. He is quick, but not that fast, which is not great when you're only 5'8" 180 lbs, but he did record CU's 100th 100-yard game back in '09. He only caught one pass last season after returning punts and catching 13 passes two seasons ago. He will be fighting Cefalo and others for snaps as a slot receiver, so he may not get much of a chance to add to his career totals. He's a hard working who also isn't afraid to go over the middle or take a hit.
- Dustin Ebner, Jr - He didn't play last year, but did play in eight games two seasons ago, including one start. He's got solid size at 6'1" 180 lbs, but he isn't incredibly fast. I can't say that I remember much about him from the last couple of years.
- Will Jefferson, Jr - I'm glad he's listed as a wide receiver again. He performed well as a running back last season (excluding that fumble...), but I do like him on the outside. He's an impressive kid with good speed and hands and solid size at 5'11" 190 lbs. He works hard and has a really great attitude. He should be fighting for playing time with Clemons and a certain sophomore WR who we will discuss in a moment.
- Mario Conte, Jr? - He's listed as a Junior but I'm pretty sure he's only a sophomore. He got on the field for a play or two last season, but he didn't really get a chance to do anything. He looked good in aummer practices last year, so we may see some of him. Also, he may be in the running at a very unlikely position. He spent some time practicing at long snapper last summer. With Silippo graduating and no apparent competition for Ryan Iverson, he might get some reps there again. But I have never seen a college LS nearly as small as Conte is (5'10" 175 lbs), so I have to think the coaches will put somebody else there. But then again, he didn't look terrible snapping the ball...
- Jarrod Darden, So - Kid is big. He's 6'4" 210 with long arms. His short area quickness is only so-so, but he has some speed once he gets moving. He is a guy that could be a pretty effective weapon if he can ever get himself on the field. I saw a couple of great catches from him last summer, but I also saw some easy drops. We'll have to watch him this year to see if he's improving.
- Paul Richardson, So - You all already know him. He had one of the best seasons ever for a freshman at CU, and he did most of his damage in the second half of the season. After getting the boot from UCLA, we managed to snag him and so far he's done us proud. If he can improve, he'll be on his way to breaking all of the records that McKnight just set...if he doesn't leave early (I can't believe I'm already thinking about that possibility...). He is an explosive jumper, can get great separation, and has great hands and really impressive instincts. With a full offseason of training and reps, he may really explode this year.
- Alex Turbow, So - I don't remember much about him from the spring or summer, but he has good size at 6'1" 195 lbs.
- Keenan Canty, RFr - He was fun to watch last summer. He is small at 5'9" 150 lbs, but he's got some nasty quickness and I expect him to be in the mix returning punts this year. He has really quick feet, and I think he might be able to win the slot receiver spot. He has good hands and if he can get just a little bigger I think he gets onto the field a good amount this season.
- Parker Robbins, RFr - I know literally nothing about him. He is listed on the roster, and that's all I know.
- Nelson Spruce, Fr - He's got good size at 6'2" 190 lbs, great hands, good speed and runs good routes. He may be fighting for playing time right away, but I think he will have to sit for another year before he gets onto the field. He should be good for us, though. He gets very good separation, and has a long reach and can pluck the ball out of the air seemingly from everywhere (according to his highlight reel). We'll see how he looks compared to the guys that are already here this summer.
- Tyler McCulloch, Fr - A big boy, at 6'5" 195 with good hands. He's an able and willing blocker, but seems to only have average speed. Then again, when you're that big, you don't need to have world-class speed. He was a late addition to the class.
- ...there are rumblings that yet another WR could be added to the class. If it happens, I'll definitely add something about him.
Well there you have it. Some experience, but also some guys waiting in the wings for their chances. I think the primary starters will be Richardson and Clemons, though they both will have trouble holding off Jefferson. I really do think that Canty will be working his way into some playing time as well.