Nebraska Cornhuskers Position Breakdowns: Wide Receivers

Big Red NetworkSenior Writer IApril 28, 2008

Outlook: The Huskers lost a lot of production to graduation with the departures of Maurice Purify, Terrence Nunn, Frantz Hardy, and Dan Erickson. But seniors Nate Swift and Todd Peterson each have plenty of experience. How well the inexperienced youngsters perform will determine whether this group is simply adequate or explosive.

Incumbents: If you go strictly by the depth chart, Nate Swift and Todd Peterson were both “X” receivers a year ago meaning they played the same position. Niles Paul is the most experienced “Z” from last year’s depth chart, (if a single catch counts as experience).

Rising Star: Menelik Holt was also an “X” a year ago and is expected to be a much bigger part of the offense in 2008.

In-The-Mix: Talented but thus far underachieving Chris Brooks is taking ownership for his lack of production to date and has vowed to work harder in practice. As one of only five returning receivers with a reception in 2007, he’s likely to crack the depth chart and become a regular contributor. Curenski Gilleylen is coming off a redshirt year, has seen practice time with the top units, and made a memorable play in the Red-White game. He seems likely to be a regular in the receiving rotation, though he has to eliminate drops.

Enigma: Sophomore and Fremont native Matt Donahue is said to be one of the fastest players on the team. While he must sit out the season after transferring from Ohio University, it’s intriguing to see whether he can translate his track speed onto the field. His 48-yard reception in the spring game was a positive sign.

Odd Man Out?: At 6’5” Will Henry would seem like the kind of target that can create mismatches and catch the fade route down near the goal line. But injuries have limited him in practice and while even the seventh receiver in this offense can catch passes, it’s surely not where Henry would have hoped to be at this point in his career.

On The Horizon: A number of true freshmen will join in the fall including Khiry Cooper, Antonio Bell, and Steven Osborne. All three have the athleticism to push the other receivers, but it’s very hard for freshmen to have immediate impact without the benefit of spring practice.