Don Hansen

2014 Look Ahead: Wide Receivers

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Spring practice for the 2014 Arizona State Sun Devils begins in two weeks, so the “2014 Look Ahead” Series continues with the wide receivers. Previously, the “2014 Look Ahead” blogs reviewed quarterbacks, running backs, the offensive line, the defensive linelinebackers, and the secondary.

Wide Receiver Team Members Leaving

  • Kevin Ozier, 23 receptions, 354 yards receiving, and one touchdown
  • Alonzo Agwuenu, one reception for eight yards
  • Joe Morris, no receptions in his only year with the Sun Devils

Wide Receiver Team Members Returning

Wide Receiver Team Members Joining

  • Eric Lauderdale, Junior (Junior College Transfer)
  • Tyler Whiley, Freshman
  • Jalen Harvey, Freshman

In 2012, quarterback Taylor Kelly was very dependent on throwing to the tight ends and running backs which led many to believe that 2013 would be tough due to a group of inexperienced wide receivers. With the addition of Jaelen Strong in 2013, the wide receiver core production improved dramatically as Strong, Richard Smith, and Cameron Smith were called upon to each make big catches throughout the 2013 season. Toward the end of the season, opposing secondaries were scheming to take Strong out of the game because Strong is a NFL caliber wide receiver that the Sun Devils haven’t seen since the days of Derek Hagan.

Returning wide receiver Richard Smith is the steady speedster who had a slow start to the 2013 season. Richard Smith struggled to star the year with some drive ending drops and the critical fumble against Notre Dame. Toward the end of the season, Richard Smith came on strong with big games against Washington State and Utah. Recruiting class of 2013 wide receivers Cameron Smith, Ronald Lewis, and Ellis Jefferson have the potential for breakout campaigns. Cameron Smith played as a true freshman, and he came up with a huge catch on a back-shoulder fade at UCLA. Lewis and Jefferson did redshirt the 2013 season.

Next season, the wide receiver group production should take a similar step forward as the current personnel have more experience and the additional new personnel come to Tempe with just as much potential. Junior college transfer Eric Lauderdale headlines the incoming 2014 class of wide receivers. Lauderdale, one of the top junior college receivers in the nation, is expected to contribute immediately and take defensive pressure away from Strong. In seven games last season at Saddleback College, Lauderdale had 54 catches for 703 yards and nine touchdowns. Incoming true freshmen Tyler Whiley and Jalen Harvey are high school four star recruits who starred on both sides of the ball for their teams. Whiley and Harvey bring size, big play ability, and a physical toughness needed in this style of high-octane offense.

With currently nine scholarship wide receivers, the position group may not be as big as the coaching staff desires. However, each wide receiver in the Arizona State program brings amazing traits to the team such that each wide receiver can be seen having success in one of the Sun Devil offense wide receiver positions.  Deputy Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell has shown he is willing to get creative in his play-calling so that his play-makers get on the field, so Wide Receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander must get this young group of play-makers ready for next season and beyond.

 

About Don Hansen

Don Hansen

Don is a 2003 graduate of Arizona State University where he spent four years sitting in the front rows of many ASU athletic events leading the rowdy student section. Now, Don co-hosts the "ASU Devils Den" podcast covering every detail of ASU football. Don works and resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his beautiful Sun Devil wife and their two beautiful daughters!

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