Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yes, Vanderbilt has some wide receivers not named Terence Jeffers-Harris

Dang, so we spent all spring and summer talking about how Terence Jeffers-Harris would transform the Vanderbilt offense. And now he's gone. So let's talk about who we do have at wide receiver.

These guys have zero starts in a total of 44 games, most playing special teams, and 16 career catches for 159 yards and no touchdowns. Oh, and two knee surgeries.
• John Cole (5-11, 170): Redshirt freshman injured in season opener and redshirted; no career catches; fast, sure-handed and runs crisp routes; much stronger after returning from knee surgery.
• Alex Washington (5-10, 188): Redshirt senior struggled to return from knee injury last season, looked explosive in spring; no career starts; 13 career catches for 130 yards; longest catch of career was 31 yards.
• Udom Umoh (6-0, 175): Redshirt sophomore played in every game but registered first catch in bowl, finishing with three for 29 yards; good speed and hands.

Can you say project? Herndon has an impressive Big Ten resumé and could easily crack the starting lineup, but Dunham's still transitioning from hardwood to gridiron, Green is getting a second chance at receiver, and walk-on Reinert just wants to make a few plays and pump up the crowd. We'll see...
• Tray Herndon (5-10, 180): Sophomore started seven games as a true freshman at Minnesota, catching 22 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown. Has excellent speed and hands.
• Akeem Dunham (6-3, 198): Redshirt freshman spent fall and spring getting stronger and learning the game after focusing on basketball in high school; tall, fast, sure-handed athlete.
• Justin Green (6-6, 232): Big and athletic redshirt junior, but moved to wide receiver after failing to show physical skills and aggressiveness to play tight end; has played in 18 career games, with 4 catches for 38 yards, but none last season.
• Chris Reinert (5-9, 172): Senior walk-on who's played in 13 career games, grabbing two catches for 20 yards; best known for pumping up the crowd in the South Carolina game while being wheeled off the field with a broken leg

These guys are regarded as smart and team-oriented, which means they may see some action on special teams.
• Turner Wimberly (6-1, 192): Redshirt junior listed as second team, but has bounced around from quarterback to defensive back; solid blocker and improved route runner; no career catches; best bet to play on special teams
• Rich Tompkins (5-11, 185): Sophomore walk-on played in two games on special teams before injury; listed as second-team cornerback this preseason before being moved to offense

Since signing day in February, fans have counted on Brady Brown to play right away. But Ashley went unsigned and was picked up by the Commodores after Justin Wheeler went down in spring practice.
• Brady Brown (6-4, 200): Big kid from Texas with great hands and decent speed; projected as a possession receiver and has a good shot to play right away.
• Collin Ashley (5-11, 170): Another Texas kid, but with almost identical size, weight and speed as John Cole; may get lost among all the other short little route runners at the top of the depth chart

• Brandon Barden (6-5, 245): All-Freshman SEC tight end last season who pulled down 28 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns, including game-changers against South Carolina and Auburn; a big, big talent.
• Austin Monahan (6-7, 255): Redshirt sophomore tight end who started four games last season before season-ending injury; a terrific accompaniment to Barden
• Jared Hawkins (5-10, 203): Redshirt senior started 10 games last year at tailback and has hauled in 23 passes in his career for 194 yards and a score.
• Gaston Miller (5-7, 170): Redshirt junior return specialist has three career receptions for 31 yards.
• Kennard Reeves (6-0, 204): Redshirt junior had two receptions last year, including a 15-yarder against Florida.
• Zac Stacy (5-10, 194): True freshman is already turning heads as a ballcarrier, and he can catch out of the backfield, too.
• Warren Norman (5-10, 188): True freshman is perhaps the most polished receiver of the three frosh running backs, and could even get a look at receiver if things get desperate.

• Jamie Graham (6-0, 196): Sure, he's now a cornerback, but who can forget his three touchdowns in the corner of the end zone against Georgia and Florida? Expect him to see some time on offense a la D.J. Last season, he started nine games, grabbing 17 passes for 125 yards and the aforementioned three touchdowns.
• Myron Lewis (6-2, 205): The senior All-American candidate is a cornerback, but like D.J. was a wide receiver in high school and he sure looked like a receiver at the end of the Auburn and Boston College games, didn't he?


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Thanks much.