Tonight we will finish up the offensive side of recruiting with another big-time position for the Broncos: WR. I'm including the ATH in this simply because there is only one at this point and I didn't want to do an entire post on one player.
We have a solid WR corps, but we will be losing some key members after the 2016 season, most notably All-MW First Team receiver Thomas Sperbeck. Chaz Anderson, who has been a great deep threat, but has lacked consistency at times, will also step on the field for his last season. Lastly, Taylor Pope will graduate as well. So I would imagine we could take as many as 3 WR in the 2017 class, but I imagine it will most likely be 2.
In the 2016 class, we took Cedrick Wilson, Julian Carter and Bubba Ogbebor. That's a solid class of WR in and of itself. We bring back Brock Barr, Akilian Butler, Austin Cottrell, David McKenzie, Sean Modster and AJ Richardson, not to mention Bryan Jefferson coming off his redshirt season. Now, what needs to happen is the young players HAVE to step up. We saw some sparks from Modster and Richardson last season, but we need to see much more this year.
But enough about who we currently have. Who can we get for the 2017 class to replace Sperbeck, Anderson and Pope? Let's check out the list!
WR Jonny Neville, Wilsonville, Oregon (Wilsonville) 6'4" 195lbs
Brother of the top QB target for the Broncos, Jonny is a solid receiver. He has range, and while he isn't the fastest, he is plenty fast enough. He's a large target and will go up to get balls. As a junior, he caught 45 passes for 813 yards and 13 TDs. Very respectable numbers. I speculate that Jonny and Connor could be a package deal. That isn't to say that they WON'T go their separate ways, but it may go a long way for the school to offer the brothers together.
WR Bryce Gilbert, Gilbert, Arizona (Higley) 6'5" 220lbs
Bryce is easily the largest player on this list. At 6'5 and 220lbs, that rivals some of our TEs. He had 65 receptions for 1,056 yards and 16 TDs last season. No wonder Rivals has him as a 4*. His tape is impressive. He outruns plenty of the CBs covering him, and the ones that do catch him, he throws to the side. I don't have a ton of hope that Gilbert will be a Bronco, but it sure would be nice!
WR Harrison Steiger, Wilsonville, Oregon (Wilsonville) 6'3" 180lbs
Notice a trend here? Steiger is another one of Connor Neville's teammates. While offering two WR from the same school as your QB target might seem like a hook to get him here, Steiger is a solid receiver. He caught 61 passes for 1,141 yards and 20 TDs. You saw that correctly: 20 TDs. That's absurd. And his tape shows why his numbers are so absurd. He has some moves and the wheels to use them. Don't take my word for it, see for yourself.
WR Bryan Thompson, Moreno Valley, California (Rancho Verde) 6'3" 185lbs
Thompson was a VERY productive receiver for Rancho Verde. He had 58 receptions for 1,259 yards and 13 TDs. That's good for 21.7 yards per catch. One thing I noticed, at least early on, is that Thompson had a tendency to dive a lot for catches. Some of them seemed catchable without diving, but what do I know. Regardless of the diving or not, Thompson was insanely productive, and at 6'3 and 185lbs, it's easy to see.
WR Andrew Boston, South Hill, Washington (Emerald Ridge) 6'3" 185lbs
Boston hails from UW's back yard near Puyallup, WA. While I could not find his 2015 season numbers, based on his film I have to imagine he eclipsed the 1,000 mark. He had some very long catches, quite a few in traffic, and many with A LOT of yards after catch. He very easily could add to his already solid frame, making him all the more dangerous.
WR Savon Scarver, Las Vegas, Nevada (Centennial) 5'11" 165lbs
Scarver has some great film. He is a Titus Young-esque type of a play maker. He had 46 receptions for 865 yards and 11 TD. While his stats might not seem indicative of this, his film does. He is incredible elusive and deceptively fast. He runs away from plenty of receivers, but can make them miss in the open field if they get the angle. Two thumbs up here.
WR Keyshawn Johnson Jr., Calabasas, California (Calabasas) 6'1" 195lbs
Keyshawn Johnson Jr. is the son of, you guessed it, All-American WR Keyshawn Johnson. So football is in his blood in the best way possible. He had 68 receptions for 944 yards and 6 TDs. The expectations for Keyshawn Jr. will undoubtedly be high at the next level. Hopefully that pressure isn't too much as he will most likely have his pick of where he'd like to go.
WR Osiris St. Brown, Santa Ana, California (Mater Dei) 6'0" 170lbs
St. Brown is a 4* recruit out of Mater Dei, who will be a powerhouse this year at the high school level. He caught 43 passes for 884 yards and 12 TDs. Great stats, but his film is better. He is fast, a good blocker, and a solid route runner. He is an excellent sell on the double move, faking out multiple players. Much like Keyshawn Jr, he can probably go anywhere he wants to.
WR Tyjon Lindsey, Corona, California (Centennial) 5'9" 175lbs
Lindsey is the highest rated player on the list. While Rivals has him as a 4*, other sites have him as a 5*. He is an incredibly dynamic player with insane agility. While his stature is small, his play making ability is huge. He was previously at national powerhouse Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, but moved back to California for his senior season. He had 45 receptions for 1,117 yards and TDs last season with BG. He is projected to head to TAMU, but until that line is signed, who knows.
WR Hunter Eckstrom, Lake Stevens, WA (Lake Stevens) 5'10" 175lbs
Eckstrom reminds me a bit of Sperbeck. A little unassuming, not small, but not big. But you put on his film and he stands out for sure. He's quick, incredibly athletic, and just an all-around play maker. He has a high motor and doesn't quite on plays. He made plenty of circus catches too. He had 70 receptions for 1,052 yards and 12 TDs for Lake Stevens last year. He's played on varsity since his freshman year too. Look like he wants to stay in the northwest as well.
WR Donovan Dalton, Scottsdale, AZ (Desert Mountain) 6'3" 205lbs
Everything I am finding about Donovan says he is from Apple Valley, MN. I imagine he recently transferred to Desert Mountain, but I don't know for sure when. He did have 36 receptions for 345 yards and 4 TDs for Apple Valley last tear. Max Preps says that is through 10 games, but I'm wondering if he was a mid-year transfer and all of his stats didn't follow him or something. He has an almost relaxed playing style, like he isn't going at 110%. It's interesting to watch for sure.
WR Isaiah Hodgins, Walnut Creek, CA (Berean Christian ) 6'3" 190lbs
Hodgins had some eye-popping numbers in 2015: 94 receptions for 1,483 yards and 23 TDs. That's crazy. He had over 1,000 yards his sophomore year as well. He's tall and lanky, but has great athleticism. He could stand to gain a few pounds, but they usually do once they get on campus. He was a man among boys in many games. It legit looks like he was playing 6th graders in some of his tape.
WR Jeremiah Hawkins, Buena Park, CA (Buena Park) 5'9" 160lbs
Hawkins totally reminds me of SWR. While he isn't as small as him, he's still fairly small compared to a 6'4 WR. But his size is his advantage, along with his speed and quickness. You'll notice very quickly in his tape why I made the comparison. He had 45 receptions for 775 yards and 5 TDs for Buena Park. I expect that number to increase significantly. Also of note, he only played in 8 or 9 games last season (HUDL says 8, MaxPreps says 9).
WR Trey Davis, Portland, OR (Central Catholic) 5'11" 180lbs
Davis is a solid slot receiver prospect. A little smaller and not a guy that can overpower players per se, but a shifty, quick guy that you want to hit across the middle in space, ideally paired up against an LB. While I can't find his stats, that is, Max Preps has nothing for him, his highlights clearly show him catching passes and running.
WR Berkeley Holman, Bellfower, CA (St. John Bosco) 5'10" 171lbs
Holman is out of national power St. John Bosco. He had 31 receptions for 550 yards and 3 TDs last year. His stats aren't crazy, but when you play with the level of players he plays with, you have to share the load. He is another Sperbeck-esque type of player. He's not massive, but not small. He's actually pretty fast and he runs solid routes as well. He just seems to make plays and it's fun to watch.
WR Ryan Matlock, Newbury Park, CA (Newbury Park) 6'1" 190lbs
Again, another play in the Sperbeck mold. After the career Sperbeck has had, it's not surprising. Hilarious to me that they seem to be looking for players that look like they could be a grocery store clerk or pharmacist over a college WR. Obviously it has worked out rather well, so I can't say that I blame them. Matlock had 27 catch for 475 yards and 10 TDs for Newbury Park, so he was incredibly productive. while he didn't have a ton of receiving yards, he made a touchdown every 2.7 catches, which is pretty neato.
ATH Malik Flowers, Fontana, California (A.B. Miller) 6'2" 170lbs
Flowers' film is pretty comical to watch. His HUDL profile lists his 40 time at 4.37, and based on what seems to be the team's strategy, I believe it. The strategy? Get Malik the ball and let him run. And run he does, away from everyone and everything, including time and space. Malik played QB at Fontana, but I can easily see him converting to WR, which is probably why he is listed as an ATH. Another reason why is he doesn't throw all that often. He threw for 925 yards, which is definitely low for a QB. He also rushing for 969, so there's that.
Well folks, that was a long article. Hopefully I did enough just to each of these players for you to get an idea of who you would like to see as a Bronco. I know there are a few kids we would ALL like to see on the Blue, but most likely won't. That's just kind of the way it goes sometimes.
Next article, we start on the defensive side of things, checking out the all important defensive line. Thanks for reading my recruiting articles, and until next time, GO BRONCOS!