Only Texas Tech threw for more yards and touchdowns than the Houston Cougars in 2008.
The passing numbers were staggering: 411 completions, 5,221 yards, 45 touchdowns. Quarterback Case Keenum returns along with a slew of experienced receivers.
But which UH receivers will make the biggest fantasy impact in 2009?
Cast of Characters
Tyron Carrier (WR) (sophomore - 2009)
L.J. Castille (WR) (junior)
A.J. Dugat (WR) (freshman)
Patrick Edwards (WR) (sophomore)
James Cleveland (WR)(sophomore)
Tyler Chambers (TE) (freshman)
Wes Scourton (TE) (junior)
Kierre Johnson (WR) (junior)
Chris Gilbert (WR) (senior)
E.J. Smith (WR) (sophomore)
Isaiah Sweeney (WR) (sophomore)
JoJo Florence (WR) (junior)
What’s the scoop?
Whoa, Nellie! We know the Coogs love to throw the ball, but that’s a mighty long list of names there. Let’s try to make some sense of it.
Let’s start with a quick look at last year’s receiving statistics.
|RB||Jackie Hinton Jr.||2||2||0|
TE Mark Hafner is the only loss from the 2008 receiving corps. However, he is a significant loss. Hafner was basically a wide receiver with the fantasy position title of “tight end.” He led the team in receptions and touchdown grabs last fall.
Everybody else returns, plus a few new faces are added to the mix:
Tyron Carrier should be the “go-to guy” in the UH passing game. As a freshman last year, he led the team in receiving yards and also contributed with 12 carries for 140 yards. Finished strong with five 100 yard performances in his last seven regular games.
Most people will remember Patrick Edwards for the gruesome leg injury sustained when he ran into a poorly parked equipment cart at Marshall. Before the injury, he was having a very productive season. The word is Edwards will be ready to go this fall, but will he truly be 100 percent?
L.J. Castile was a frustrating player to follow last fall. He had great “bookend” performances, racking up five touchdowns and 227 yards combined in his first and last games of the regular season. The ten games in between: 3 TD’s and 284 yards. Not exactly a model of consistency. He could go either way this fall.
Chris Gilbert was everyone’s preseason pick to be the Cougars’ top pass-catcher last year. He was slowed down by a hernia in the preseason and never worked his way back into the offense.
He was supposedly healthy near the end of the season, but still only managed to catch one measly ball on the year.
Do you like hitching your wagon to a hot-shot freshman? Then A.J. Dugat could be your man. The Parade All-American could push for playing time. Store his name away until August, and check the practice reports to see where he stands on the two-deep. Sumlin is not adverse to playing freshman (see last year’s WR’s).
Dugat posted staggering numbers as a senior in high school: 121 receptions, 1,795 yards, 21 touchdowns).
If freshmen aren’t your thing, how about transfers? UH has one of those, too. James Cleveland left Iowa to return to his home town of Houston. He caught 36 balls for 464 yards his rookie year as a Hawkeye, and made the Freshman All Big Ten team.
Tyler Chambers could be the next Mark Hafner. We stress the words “could be”. At 6’4" and 233 pounds, the incoming freshman is the same build as Hafner. And the buzz is that Chambers is a better athlete.
We shall see. From a fantasy standpoint, it will be interesting to see if he is listed on the roster as a TE or WR.
Another name is file away is JoJo Florence. At 6’4" and 200 pounds, he’s a big target with speed. He’s had off-the-field problems in the past but is now back on the team.
Kierre Johnson and Chaz Rodriguez were serviceable receivers last year that should contribute again in 2009. E.J. Smith and Isaiah Sweeney haven’t shown much production yet, but in this offense you just never know who will emerge from the shadows.
If your fantasy draft was today (Mar. 19, '09)...
Some schools make it easy for fantasy degenerates like us. There is a clearly defined number one wide receiver. And there is a clear-cut No. 2 wide receiver. Clean and neat. Draft accordingly.
At Houston, it is not an open-and-shut case. It’s messy. And frustrating. You know the Coogs are going to throw the ball 600 times this fall, yet other than Tyron Carrier, who can you count on to become a fantasy factor?
We have Carrier ranked as a Top 10 WR and we’d feel pretty good about grabbing him with an early pick. After that, your best bet is to wait until late in the draft and roll the dice with one of the following: Edwards, Castile, Gilbert, Dugat or Cleveland.
We’d target Dugat based purely on his potential (and we’re suckers for hyped up freshman wide receivers).
Also, if Chambers is listed as a TE, he also becomes someone that might be worth taking as a flier in deeper leagues.
Todd DeVries is the founder of CollegeFootballGeek.com, your premier resource for college fantasy football information. Check us out.