Then and Now: The Receivers | Syracusefan.com

Then and Now: The Receivers

SWC75

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I decided that now that we have completed the football season, I’d look back at what I said in my season preview and talk about how things worked out. I’ll focus on the players and my discussion of various departments of the team.

RECEIVERS

Then:

Nassib was helped greatly by having two excellent senior wide-outs last year. Alec Lemon set a school record with 72 catches and Sales was right behind with 64. They are gone and it’s not clear who will replace them or how well. Jarod West was the #3 guy with 43 catches at about the same average as Lemon and Sales, (14 per catch and a couple of scores). He’s a big receiver at 6-2 203 and isn’t a burner, more of a possession guy. But Lemon and even Sales weren’t really burners either. A normal pass route leading to a completion is a successful play. If you can keep coming up with successful plays you don’t need 80 yarders. Jeremiah Kobena and Chris Clark had more speed but Kobena, while he has excellent feet, has mediocre hands. Clark’s problem was that he has more a basketball player’s build at 5-11 160. He caught some balls early but saw little action by the end of the year. Clark had 11 catches and Kobena 6, but he had a 24 yard average on his.

People have said good things about Adrian Flemming, Quinta Funderburk, Alvin Cornelius and Ben Lewis. They all have one thing in common: they’ve never caught a pass in a college football game. Funderburk is perhaps the most intriguing. He was rated the 35th best wide receiver coming out of high school two years ago and went to Arkansas, where he red-shirted and then transferred to Syracuse. He had no special course of study to give him a loop-hole, (I think only seniors get it anyway), so he had to sit out. He hasn’t played for two seasons. People were surprised that he hardly played in the spring game, either and that he came out of the spring not being listed on the two-deep. He’s a 6-3 201 pound guy with both hands and speed and people were saying he’d be playing on Sunday someday. But he’s got to play at SU first. There’s been a suggestion that his problems were more academic than football-related. But anything that is academic-related is also football-related. Somebody needs to emerge here. One possibility: Brisley Estime, (see the special teams review), who is listed as a wide receiver and, if he can run routes and catch passes, could be a game breaker. He’s a “Wait till you see this guy” guy, (WTYSTG).

Becket Wales had a solid year last year at tight end, catching 35 balls at 11 yards a pop for two scores. But like a lot of teams we like to use more than one tight end and Wales’ partner, David Stevens, is gone. We had a big-time prospect in Ron Thompson, who like Funderburk was a “He’ll Play On Sunday” guy, (HPOS) and a WTYSTG. He was hurt last year and surprisingly moved over to the defense last spring. But perhaps it’s not surprising as Scott Shafer is a defensive coach by trade. That leaves us with Josh Paris and Jacob Green and freshman Tyler Provo, (younger brother of Nick, who was a good pass-catching TE two years ago for us) and P. J. Batten. There’s been speculation this could be a spot for Ashton Broyld to wind up in but for now he’s still an “H-back”, whatever that is.

To take advantage of having a Drew Allen, we need to give him guys who can get open and make catches and hopefully do something after that. If we can do that the defense will again be stretched and the running game can prosper as well. If not, the defense can gang up on the running attack and slow it down.

Now:

Our leading receiver was Ashton Broyld, who never found the end zone. That’s an amazing stat. Last year Alex Lemon caught 7TDs passes and Marcus Sales 8 of them. Most of our passes were within five yards of the line of scrimmage with the hope that the receiver could break away from tacklers and make a big play. It rarely happened. When we threw deep it tended to be down the sidelines, a difficult throw. Nassib, Lemon and Sales had great success throwing to the middle of the field. It was what Nassib did best. We had big, strong receivers in West, Broyld and the tight ends. That we were able to go 7-6 and win a bowl game with such a pathetic passing attack is amazing.

West never became a #1 receiver type and missed part of the year with injuries, winding up with 26 catches for 397 yards and 1TD. That’s actually a good average of 15.27. When we did throw deep, he was usually the target, even though we have faster guys to throw to. Broyld became the #1 option and caught 52 passes but only gained 452 yards, 8.6 per catch and never found the end zone. Clark had 36 catches for 365 yards and 3 scores. Wales was hurt much of the year and had only 10 catches for 78 yards and no scores. Kobena was 16-206-0. Flemming got hurt in the Penn State game and was out for the year- again.
Funderburk played briefly in the Northwestern game and then disappeared until the end of the season. He had 3 catches for 50 yards. Coach Shafer said something about Quinta overcoming some difficulties hand he sure wants to see him out there but nothing about what the difficulties were. Alvin Christopher did see some playing time towards the end the season, catching 9 passes for 134 yards and a big TD against Pittsburgh. Ben Lewis caught one pass for 7 yards. We used a bunch of tight ends, including Kendall Moore, who I had not mentioned in the original article because he had been listed as an offensive linemen. He caught a TD pass vs. Northwestern which was big for him because he’s from Chicago. Josh Parris caught 13 passes, 2 for scores. Jacob Green caught a single pass for 4 yards.

The one young player who got a big chance was Brisley Estime, who spent much of the year learning the offense but became a major target late in the year. He wound up with 28 catches for 257 yards and 1 score. Even with his speed and agility, it was tough to break away on those short throws we kept using.

Next year, Broyld, West, Estime, Kobena, Cornelius, Funderburk, Lewis, Parris, Moore and Green will be back. They will be joined by wide-outs Sean Avant and Corey Winfield and tight ends Aaron Batton and Tyler Provo, who red-shirted and by 2014 recruits Corey Cooper, Jamal Curtis and K. J. Williams, (all wide-outs).

From those groups, we need to get some guys who can get downfield and get open and catch footballs for big plays. That will tremendously accelerate Hunt’s development and make our offense explosive again so we can compete with the better teams in the conference. The new guys could be the answer if they are exceptional talents, (Williams is 4 star recruit, the rest are 3 stars). Lemon and Sales took a long time to develop into what they became. We may have to be patient but at least we can hope to see some improvement.
 
I think SWC leads the forum in complimentary posts by a land slide, but it is a shame "" type posts get dozens of likes, but this and the rest of SWC's series type posts don't get the like they deserve. MHO.
 
the effort that you put into your post is amazing. I enjoy reading everything that you post. thank you for all of the research and time that you put into these. I truly appreciate it.
 
Thanks SWC -- appreciate your work on these summaries.

Can add Flemming to the list of returning WRs.

True that Lemon & Sales took time to develop into stars, but both were good enough to contribute a lot as true frosh. WR is a position where true frosh can have an immediate impact.
 

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