As we inch closer to Marshall’s first game at WVU on September 3rd the Marshall Thundering Blog is breaking down the Herds roster position by position, giving you the best and worst case scenarios for each. Today will focus on wide receivers and tight ends.
Aaron Dobson - 44 REC, 689 YDS, 5 TD
Lee Smith – 38 REC, 358 YDS, 3 TD
Antavious Wilson – 29 REC, 342 YDS, 5 TD
Courtney Edmonson – 25 REC, 298 YDS, 2 TD
Andre Booker – 17 REC, 236 YDS, 1 TD
Troy Evans – 21 REC, 225 YDS, 3 TD
Chuck Walker – 26 REC, 219 YDS, 1 TD
Demetrius Evans – 6 REC, 51 YDS, 0 TD
C.J Crawford – 2 REC, 39 YDS, 1 TD
Jamie Hatten – 1 RED, 8 YDS, 0 TD
Aaron Dobson, junior
Antavious Wilson, redshirt junior
Andre Booker, junior
Troy Evans, senior
Wayne Bonner, senior
Davonte Allen, freshman
Tommy Shuler, freshman
Jermaine Kelson, sophomore
Jazz King, redshirt freshman
Craig Wilkins, freshman
Demetrius Evans, sophomore
Jamie Hatten, redshirt junior
Gator Hoskins, sophomore
C.J Crawford, redshirt sophomore
Blake Frohnapfel, freshman
Best Case Scenario:
What Marshall University lacks in statistics among it’s receivers and tight ends it certainly makes up in numbers. In total Marshall enters 2011 with eleven wide receivers and four tight ends that could land legitimate playing time. But the proof lies in the pudding, in 2010 all eleven returning pass catchers only accumulated 1,590 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.
In a best case scenario juniors Aaron Dobson and Antavious Wilson will have break out seasons. Wilson sat out four games in 2010 and still finished third on the team in receiving yards. During a spectacular freshman season in 2009 Wilson hauled in 60 passes for 742 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dobson grew on the potential he showed as a true freshman to lead the team in receptions and yards last year. He also had the most memorable catch of Marshall’s 2010 season, a 96 yard touchdown bomb against West Virginia. If all goes as planed both Dobson and Wilson should finish 2011 with a combined 1,400 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
For Dobson and Wilson to be successful they need help from their supporting cast, chief among them senior Troy Evans. In concept Evans is the perfect slot receiver. Short and shifty Evans has shown the ability to get open and make plays in space but, there is one problem. Evans hands are suspect and he has suffered through dropped passes his whole Marshall career. If Evans can’t cut it in the slot a group of talented underclassman could takes his place.
Since practice began last week every one has been singing the praises of incoming freshman Davonte Allen, Tommy Shuler, and Craig Wilkins. Paired with fellow underclassman Jazz King, Jermaine Kelson, and Demetrious Evans this group of freshman and sophomores could prove formidable in 2011. In a perfect world all the freshman would be redshirted but all three might be to talented to sit.
Junior Andre Booker and senior Wayne Bonner round out the wide receivers. Bonner, a heralded JUCO recruit from California has not lived up to his potential at Marshall. After sitting out last season Bonner could fill the same role Courtney Edmonson played in 2010, backing up Dobson and Wilson. Booker, a converted running back, has the same characteristics T. Evans. Catching passes mostly out of the backfield he hauled in 17 balls for 236 yards last year. With an impressive 13.9 yards per catch in 2010 Booker should be able to put up similar, if not better numbers in 2011.
Tight end is a big question for Marshall this year. Gone is Lee Smith, the teams second leading receiver in 2010, and 5th round draft pick of the New England Patriots. In his place you have returnees Jamie Hatten, C.J Crawford, Gator Hoskins, and new comer Blake Frohnapfel. Hatten is the most traditional tight end of the bunch, with ability to block and catch. He has been held out of practice this summer with a back injury but should return soon. Crawford and Hoskins, both former wide receivers, are more pass catcher than blocker. Unfortunately, both have problems in the pass catching department. Neither Crawford or Hoskins have been consistent enough to earn head coach Doc Holliday’s trust. Frohnapfel probably has to bulk up in order to play division one football but could see time if Hoskins and Crawford falter.
Like I wrote previously, in a perfect world Dobson and Wilson account for 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns. Keeping pace with Dobson and Wilson Marshall’s other receivers accumulate 1,600 receiving yards and 14 TD’s, finishing in the top half of Conference USA. Marshall is able to achieve those numbers while red shirting Allen, Shuler, Wilkins, and Frohnapfel.
Worst Case Scenario:
Injuries cripple a solid group of receivers. Dobson can’t recover from a lingering hamstring issue and his numbers suffer. After missing the final four games of last season and spring practice due to a knee injury Wilson starts 2011 less than 100%. Marshall is down it’s top blocking tight end when Hatten’s sore back keeps him out.
Besides injury the other Herd receivers suffer performance issues. Bonner can’t shake his reputation as a practice all star and his performance never carries over to game day. Troy Evans hands continue to be suspect, forcing a freshman into immediate playing time. Lack of pass catching ability also makes tight ends Crawford and Hoskins unreliable.
Freshman fill in admirably for the under performing veterans but they are rookies and mistake prone. The 2011 receiving core does Marshall’s new quarterback no favors and the offense sputters.
Next: Offensive line