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Next Bronco Up: Wide Receivers

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NCAA Football: Boise State at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Apologies for the hiatus everyone! Life and work got a bit crazy there, but hoping we’re in the clear now.

Next up in the series: wide receivers. This should be a very interesting article simply based on the amount of speculation and possibilities for the upcoming year.

Graduated/Left

Cedrick Wilson - 6’3 188lbs - 83 receptions for 1,511 yards, 7 TDs

Austin Cottrell - 6’2 203lbs - No stats as a senior

Brock Barr - 6’4 203lbs - No stats as a senior

Ravon Alexander - 5’11 174lbs - Walk-on, left team after season

Bryan Jefferson - 5’11 193lbs - Left team after season

Julian Carter - 6’2 208lbs - Left during the season

Current

A.J. Richardson - RS Senior - 6’ 213lbs - 33 receptions for 494 yards, 2 TDs

Could not find any highlights from the 2017 season.

Sean Modster - RS Senior - 5’11 190lbs - 29 receptions for 272 yards, 3 TDs

Akilian Butler - RS Junior - 5’10 187lbs - 2 receptions, -1 yard (injured most of the season)

Christian Blaser - RS Sophomore - 6’1 176lbs - Walk-on, no stats

Justin Collins - RS Sophomore - 5’10 187lbs - Walk-on, no stats

Octavius Evans - True Sophomore - 6’1 201lbs - 14 receptions for 123 yards, 2 TDs

CT Thomas - True Sophomore - 5’8 172lbs - 13 receptions for 90 yards

Damon Cole- RS Freshman - 6’ 174lbs - Red shirted the 2017 season

Incoming

Khalil Shakir - 6’1 175lbs - 17 receptions for 243 yards (15.5 ypc), 2 TDs, 102 carries for 906 yards (8.9ypc), 7 TDs.

Stefan Cobbs - 6’ 170lbs - 67 receptions for 1,332 yards (19.9 ypc), 24 TDs. District 3-6A MVP

Billy Bowens - 6’1 175lbs - 41 receptions for 896 yards (21.9 ypc), 10 TDs.

John Hightower - 6’3 175lbs - 13 receptions for 234 yards (18 ypc), 4 TDs.

Cameron Thomas - 6’4 200lbs - 80 catches for 1,346 yards (16.8 ypc), 20 total TDs.

Cedrick Wilson set records in his short time at BSU and is on his way to playing in the NFL. He will not be quickly forgotten, much like Sperbeck the year before him, but I think we will be pleasantly surprised by our wide receivers in his absence.

AJ Richardson is poised to shine in his final of 13 seasons here at Boise State. Yes, I’m aware he wasn’t here that long, but it sure feels like it after a grey shirt AND a red shirt. Mark Schlabach has him listed as one of the top Group of 5 players to watch this year. Richardson hd the most production behind Wilson for sure.

Modster is in his final season as well and should be a feature receiver, showing some nice flashes last fall. He proved to be more consistent than he had been in previous seasons. I anticipate he builds off that momentum.

Akilian Butler has battled injury after injury, but hopefully he can make it through this season fully healthy. I do, however, feel he will operate in a backup role behind Evans and Thomas. The potential is there for him to earn a starting spot, but it will require him to remain healthy through spring and fall camps and to excel at both.

Evans came off a great freshman campaign and could play his way into a starting role. While he was just a true freshman, he played a significant amount of time, catching multiple TDs. He is also one of the larger WR we have, which will certainly help his cause.

CT Thomas showed a few flashes this last season, and while he didn’t have quite the production of Evans, he should improve, especially after putting on 20 lbs of muscle over the winter. Without the security and surety of Wilson, I expect Rypien to distribute the wealth a bit more this season and Thomas would surely benefit from that.

Cole could very easily have played this last season, but it wouldn’t have made sense to burn 3 red shirts. Cole could definitely be in the mix, but so could a number of the incoming freshman.

Shakir and Cobbs could very well play right away. At this point, it almost seems like Shakir could be a slam dunk, but we will know more by the end of fall camp. Cobbs has the playmaking ability to cause a stir in 2018.

Hightower will most likely play in 2018 simply because he is a JC guy. While his numbers from Hind won’t wow people, playing at the next level has it’s benefits. His size will be beneficial to have as well.

I expect both Billy Bowens and Cam Thomas to red shirt this season, but that’s just an assumption. Either of those guys could play too. They both played in very competitive SoCal leagues and put up solid numbers. Just because they were not talked about much does not mean they aren’t capable.

I expect 2-3 of the incoming players to stay on the bench, leaning more to 3. Richardson, Modster and Evans are my guesses for starters, with CT, Butler (maybe), Shakir and Hightower in the mix for backup roles. I have a hard time seeing them sit Hightower this year, but I am still very much on the fence as to whether they can keep Cobbs’ red shirt on him.

I didn’t mention the walk-ons at all, and generally I would operate under the assumption that they will fill in on special teams and scout teams. I don’t expect that to be any different here, but keep an eye out for Justin Collins.

Summer conditioning and fall camp will be very interesting watch when it comes to the WR position. Time will tell for sure. GO BRONCOS!