Niles Paul Emerging at Wide Receiver

Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson singled out junior Niles Paul as the leader of the wide receiver corps.  After practice today, he told the media that "Paul is the guy."

"Respect is earned. You earn it by performance. I think everybody here, everybody on this team — offense, defense, coaches, managers, everybody who sees practice — goes, ‘Wow, he’s done a nice job.’"

"He’s letting us coach him. I’ll tell you what, he has a sense of purpose because really inside of him … he doesn’t want to be good, he wants to be great. He’s really stepped up his game."

After being suspended during spring practice for driving under the influence, Paul has had to own up to his faults and essentially grow up.  Paul even admits as such that he arrived at Nebraska expecting stardom; not needing to learn or work hard.  In that light, perhaps Paul's suspension might turn out to be a blessing in disguise.  Nobody was hurt thankfully, and Paul is emerging a better man for it.

Menelik Holt also seems to be making a push going into his senior season after a so-so spring practice, by his own admission.  Holt spent extra time working late last season with Zac Lee, as each needed a partner to work on some extra drills.  That extra practice could prove valuable as Holt already has established a rapport with the Huskers anticipated starting quarterback.

So with Paul and Holt emerging out of the pack at wide receiver, who becomes that third receiver in 2009?

In today's fullback-free era of college football, most teams will play three wide receivers or two receivers and two tight ends.  Certainly, Nebraska is loaded at tight end with emerging star Mike McNeillDreu Young gives Nebraska good depth, and redshirt freshmen Kyler Reed and Ben Cotton looked intriguing in the spring game.  But what about the young receivers?  We've heard good things about Brandon Kinnie and Antonio BellMarcus Mendoza could be a great deep threat as well.

So what do fans expect at wide receiver in 2009?  Who do YOU think will be the starting unit at tight end and receiver this season?  My vote is Paul, Holt, McNeill, and Cotton and Mendoza splitting time, depending on formation and situation. What's yours?

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