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Inside the Big East: Receivers

In honor of college football starting tonight, we go inside the Big East. Today, we are going to take a look at the receivers. That includes the tight ends. Just like the running back position, we’ve seen some big names move on. Filling their shoes is going to be awfully tough. Like we did for running backs and quarterbacks, there will be a ranking, and then a deeper look at the depth chart. 

  1. Mohamed Sanu – Rutgers – Career stats: 95-1,057-5 TDs, 121 carries, 655 yards, 9 TDs, 4 passing TDs
  2. Tavon Austin – West Virginia – Career stats: 73-938-9 TDs
  3. Mark Harrison – Rutgers- Career stats: – 49-912-10 TDs
  4. Van Chew – Syracuse – Career stats: 51-733-6 TDs
  5. Kashif Moore – Connecticut – Career stats: 85-1,095-8 TDs
  6. Mike Shanahan – Pittsburgh – Career stats: 58-800-1 TD
  7. Josh Bellamy – Louisville – Career stats: 29-401-5 TDs
  8. AJ Love – USF – Career stats: 63-943-6 TDs
  9. Alec Lemon – Syracuse – Career stats: 61-692- 5 TDs
  10. Stedman Bailey – West Virginia – Career stats: 24-317-4 TDs
  11. Devin Street – Pittsburgh – Career stats: 25-318-2 TDs
  12. Isiah Moore – Connecticut – Career stats: 39-433-2 TDs
  13. Andrell Smith – Louisville – Career stats: 25-377-3 TDs
  14. Sterling Griffin – USF – Career stats: 14-265-2 TDs
  15. Cameron Saddler – Pittsburgh – Career stats: 10-74-2 TDs
  16. Ryan Nehlen – West Virginia – Career stats: 0-0
  17. Michaelee Harris – Louisville – Career stats: 0-0
  18. Tyler Urban – West Virginia – Career stats: 17-203-3 TDs
  19. Joel Miller – USF – Career stats: 11-121-1 TD

Tight End Rankings

  1. Nick Provo – Syracuse – Career stats: 41-490-2 TDs
  2. Josh Chichester – Louisville – Career stats: 69-860-9 TDs
  3. Evan Landi – USF – Career stats: 34-441-2 TDs
  4. John Delahunt – Connecticut – Career stats: 5-75 or Ryan Griffin – Connecticut – Career stats 54-517-1 TD
  5. DC Jefferson – Rutgers – Career stats: 15-274-1 TD
  6. Hubie Graham – Pittsburgh – Career stats: 4-59
  7. Paul Carrezola – Rutgers – Career stats: 2-18

As you can see, West Virginia rolls with 4 receivers and no tight ends. The traditional tight end has gone away in the Big East for the most part. Carrezola, and Jefferson are part of the Rutgers line, Graham is an H back, Landi and Chichester converted receivers, and Delahunt a blocker, while Griffin gets a little more involved. The receivers listed were the second and third string for the most part last season. Some of them are gonna have to step up a whole lot. 

Mohamed Sanu (Jr) leads the Rutgers’ receiving corp. Sanu has done it all for the Scarlet Knights offense the past two seasons. He’s been the main target, he’s returned kicks, he runs the wildcats, and occasionally, he throws passes. In an era where players aren’t expected to be every part of their teams’ offense anymore, Sanu is nearly every part of his teams’ offense. All the eyes on him have let Mark Harrison (Jr) shine. Harrison had a major breakout season in 2010, and looks to be one of the men to watch this year. You might remember Harrison from when he torched the UC secondary last season. The back ups aren’t as flashy as the starters.  Neither Tim Wright (Jr) or Brandon Coleman (R Fr) have caught a pass in their college careers. Rutgers would already be sunk if Sanu or Harrison went down, but to see what potentially happen isn’t calming. Just like last season, Rutgers doesn’t look to get great, so Sanu and Harrison should get a lot of targets.

West Virginia plans to have a wide open offense, slinging the ball all over the field. They appear to have the right receivers for the job. Tavon Austin (Jr) was one of the best receivers in the league last year, and only looks to shine a little brighter this year. He was consistent game in and game out last season, and that kind of consistency is great to have for Geno Smith. Austin averaged 13 yards a catch, and can break one any time. Stedman Bailey had an up and down freshman season in ’10. He started off the year with some nice games, vanished, but reappeared to score the only TD in the bowl game loss. His growth should be something to watch. Neither Ryan Nehlen (Jr) or Tyler Urbran (Sr) have had the opportunity to make their presence felt as Mountaineers. They both could end up around 300 yards if the ball comes to them.  As for the reserves, JD Woods (Jr) had 18-205-1 TD a year ago as one of the many receivers, Willie Milhouse (Sr) hasn’t caught a pass, Ivan McCartney (So) made a 4 yard catch last year, and after a 670 yard sophomore season, Devon Brown fell into the dog house and 300 yards last season. He may be able to win a job back. 

The Syracuse receivers fly a little under the radar. The trio of Van Chew (Sr), Nick Provo (Sr) and Alec Lemon (Jr) produce solid numbers. Chew tore up the lesser foes Syracuse played in 2010, culminated by his first 100 yard receiving game, but his ability to get downfield helped the Orange in every game. Lemon had a problem with drops at times. If he can correct those issues, he could become one of the more interesting receivers to watch. Nick Provo is Ryan Nassib’s security blanket, and a damn good one at that. He’s just what you want out of your big tight end. That sounded dirty. Dorian Graham (Sr) and Jarrod West (So) haven’t caught a pass in their careers. That can’t be a great thing. 

Connecticut trots out the Moore (not really) Brothers as starters for the second year in a row. Both are redshirt seniors. Kashif was the target a lot more in 2010, second on the team in receiving. Isiah had a regression from his sophomore season. Both should see a numbers boost with leading receiver Michael Smith academically ineligible for this season. They are going to have to take the reigns, because their back ups have no experience. Tebucky Jones and Geremy Davis are both freshmen, and the other listed receiver is Nick Williams, who has caught 1 pass in his three seasons. Williams could be a target on screens and reverses. 

Louisville has a rather inexperienced receiving unit. Josh Bellamy (Sr) came from a JUCO to become the Cardinals third leading receiver in 2010. Andrell Smith is a junior, but has just 25 catches to his credit. Smith had a problem with the drops last season. Michalee Harris is the only freshman starting in this Big East group, but has a lot of potential. Potential is the buzzword around the reserves, who are all young. Jarrett Davis and Damian Copeland are sophs, the highly touted Eli Rogers and DeVante Parker are freshmen. Jr Scott Radcliff has not really done much. The young group is really going to have to come together. Rogers may be able to play his way into the starting lineup. Josh Chichester should be a big target at tight end. The tight end led Louisville in receptions last season. If Chichester can be more than  a red zone target, he could find himself with a nice season. 

Pittsburgh has a giant hole where Jon Baldwin use to be. Devin Street (So) was probably underrated by me, and he should get the first crack at Baldwin’s spot. Not the wall punching spot, but the starting job. Mike Shanahan seems like he’s been at Pittsburgh forever, but he’s only a junior. He will probably keep doing the things that he does, and be an annoying white receiver. Cameron Saddler is 5-7, but could be an interesting Z receiver. I guess Z means slot. I say that because his back up is 5-8 freshman Ronald Jones. Salath Williams, another freshman, is slated to back up Shanahan, while Ed Tinker, a soph, is Street’s understudy. Even the back up tight end, Brendan Carozzoni is a freshman. The receivers are going to have to mature for Tino Sunseri. 

The South Florida Bulls questions at receiver aren’t experience, but rust. Both AJ Love and Sterling Griffin missed all of last season. Love (R Sr) was looking like he was taking the next step to an 700-800 yard season when he went down in camp. Griffin (R So) showed some field stretching ability as a freshman. The question is how soon the two can bounce back and get in the groove. Love should have it easy, because love is in the groove in which we move. Joel Miller hasn’t had the opportunity to shine his first three seasons. Evan Landi at tight end is an interesting move, because Landi played well at receiver last season. The reserves are untested. Stephen Bravo Brown (So) saw mainly mop up duty, Victor Marc (Jr) caught 1 pass, and Deonte Welch is a redshirt freshman. 

Receiving depth appears to be a league wide issue. Someone always comes from nowhere though, and that’s what makes the game so much fun to watch.