Saturday, August 2, 2014

Under the radar wideouts: who will go their 'route'

There's some explosive playmakers in the this state who I feel aren't getting much love, but are worth looking at this fall.

These wideouts either hold two scholarship offers or none at all. Some play at a talent-rich high school powerhouse. Other wide receivers on this list are players lining up for rising powerhouses.

Here's some key targets to keep a close eye. One of them could be a sleeper in the 2015 class:

Contributed photo


Koski doesn't have prototypical size for a receiver (6-feet, 195-pounds), but he's a smooth route runner and one of the hardest receivers to cover. Koski damages secondaries with his burst off the line, separation and second gear after a catch is made. He's not the best jumper. Koski, though, wins a lot of one-on-one battles and holds offers from Cal Poly and Montana.

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Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna


Like Koski, Ferguson looks thin at 6-feet, 165-pounds. But he plays like he's four to five inches taller. Ferguson is explosive off the line and finishes his routes. He'll win the jump ball battle in the red zone. His strengths are his routes, hands and athleticism. He's got one offer from New Mexico State. Oregon State and Fresno State also have shown interest in him. He's playing at the same high school that's produced Doug Martin (running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Na'im McGee (safety, San Diego State) and Josh Harper (wide receiver, Fresno State).

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Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna


The incoming seniors were overshadowed by their more heralded wide receiver teammate Tyrone Smith (Utah) last season. Lewis and Murphy, however, have put together a solid offseason with improving their routes and technique. Lewis is the tall target at 6-foot-2. He's shown excellent focus on his catches and is hard to bring down. He'll likely be the possession target for the Tigers. Murphy (attempting one handed catch in the photo) is undersized at 5-foot-9 but has versatility. Murphy might get more interest at defensive back because of his closing speed. But at receiver, Murphy has solid footwork and gains separation from his defender. A big year at receiver could land him late offers.

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Padilla was one of the reasons why the Mustangs emerged as a nice surprise in 2013 (7-4 record, 4-1 in the East Yosemite League). Padilla caught 31 passes for 604 yards and averaged over 19 yards per game. The 5-foot-10, 150-pound receiver has a small stature. I'll also need to see his ability to fight off jams against bigger and more physical cornerbacks. Still, though, Padilla is an underrated playmaker in the 559.

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He was one of Oregon State commit Marcus McMaryion's favorite targets last season. Like most of the guys on this list, Herod isn't the most physically imposing wideout (5-foot-11, 160-pounds). But he makes up for it with his routes and speed. Herod has a nice second gear after the catch is made and is a reliable deep threat. Herod was the defending Central Section Division III champions' second best receiver with 31 catches, 424 yards and three touchdowns.

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White holds two offers from New Mexico and New Mexico State. However, after breaking him down in my film room, White plays like he can have 10-15 offers. He's a tall target at 6-foot-2, 170-pounds. He beats defenders in man coverage with his size and vertical jump. Another thing that impressed me about White is his body control after the catch.

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McClung is a Wes Welker type for the Bears. What stands out the most about him is his footwork and jumping ability. McClung is a blazer who runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and he won't shy away from using his speed. He surprisingly can out-jump a defensive back despite his size. I'll need to see how he handles the middle catches and if he can damage defensive backs in man coverage, since I've noticed he's done his best work against zone schemes. In the end, McClung is a sleeper in talent-rich Clovis.

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Rambo lines up in a variety of ways at Verbum Dei (quarterback, wide receiver, safety and return man), but his future has to be at receiver because of his size and hands. Rambo is a tall target at 6-foot-4, 190-pounds and he's a nightmare for cornerbacks in the red zone because of his size. Rambo shows excellent control of his catches. He also plays mind games with defensive backs and can make defenders second guess his moves. Rambo holds one offer from San Diego State.

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Garcia (6-feet, 175-pounds) has a running back-like elusiveness to his game and can turn on the jets after the catch. Garcia finished 2013 with 52 catches, 948 yards, averaged over 18 yards per game and scored 11 touchdowns.

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Hammerstrom is a rugged tight end at 6-foot-1, 215-pounds. He runs like an old school fullback with the ball in his hands. He shows excellent vision after the catch and has a nose for the end zone, proven by his 12 touchdowns last season.

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Rogers isn't as tall or physical as the Panthers' last big-time wideout Deontay Greenberry, but Rogers earned the nickname "Mr. Go Get It" because of his leaping ability and big play capability. Rogers can haul the tough grabs in the middle or against two defenders with his 6-foot-1 frame. He's a deadly deep threat. Rogers has mainly heard from Mountain West schools.

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Photo contributed


It's not known if the 5-foot-8 Johnson will line up as a slot receiver or defensive back, but on a Broncos team loaded with NCAA Division I talent, Johnson might be the most underrated college prospect at CNHS. He damages defenses from the slot by going deep and showing a knack for completing his catch, even against heavy traffic. He's got some elusiveness to his game when he has the football and shows an excellent nose for the end zone. He may end up playing safety because of his closing pursuits and hands. Johnson is worth a look at receiver, though. He holds one offer from Weber State.

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