Jamal Turner looked like a gamebreaker early in the season, but freshmen mistakes limited his time as the season wore on.(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Going into 2011, we weren't sure what to expect at receiver. It looked like Brandon Kinnie was going to lead this group, and we were hopeful that a freshman would jump up and make us forget Niles Paul. (It seemed that half the time, we wanted to forget Niles Paul, only to have Paul then make a play to make us forgive him for a moment.) Last summer, we were sure that freshman was going to be Jamal Turner...but it turned out to be Kenny Bell.
So who's on the list for 2012?
Returning: Kenny Bell (starter), So.; Quincy Enunwa (starter), Jr.; Tim Marlowe, Sr.; Jamal Turner, So.; Khiry Cooper, Sr.; Taariq Allen, RFr; K.C. Hyland, Sr.; Steven Osborne, Sr.
Incoming: Jordan Westerkamp, HS Verbal Reaffirmed
Mike: I liked Kinnie, but something went wrong with him this past season. Or maybe, the ghost of Ted Gilmore was still holding him down. I really like Kenny Bell as a receiver. Great speed, and perhaps even better hands. He really does cover up for some of Taylor Martinez's shortcomings in the passing game, because Bell can make the catch even when it's not perfectly thrown. Jamal Turner has shown flashes of being a gamebreaker, but he really needs to learn his role this spring. He's got the physical talent to dominate.
Honestly, if Jamal Turner can become more consistent, I think Nebraska could have one of the top receiving corps in the Big Ten. Think about that for a second.
Jon: Now, if we could get the rest of the team to play more consistent, and the offensive coordinator to not get stuck in a rut.... one more thing that deserves mention, will Stanley Jean-Baptiste stay on the defensive side of the ball, or move back to a receiver position?
Andy: Our wide receiver corps is like a 70's rock band along the lines of Van Halen, Fleetwood Mac or The Who. Some moments of true brilliance (Running With The Devil, The Chain, Teenage Wasteland, Kenny Bell's reverse, deep to Jamal Turner, Enunwa stiff arming a Huskie through the field turf) interspersed with not-so impressive stuff (repeatedly ingesting enough booze/drugs to kill a rhino, dropping more balls than the male wing of a retirement home).
Brandon Kinnie is a great kid, and hopefully not watching his daily struggles with catching a football will make for a less stressful dynamic in practice. The remaining youngsters may still possess the natural uneasiness that comes with not knowing if the next pass will hit you in stride or whistle by your left ear. There is real talent here. Here's hoping that Martinez develops enough accuracy to keep them from developing nervous eye twitches every time he steps to his left to throw right and bends at a 45 degree angle.
Westerkamp is solid again for the Huskers, although if the rumors are to be believed, this is because the Notre Dame offer may have dried up once two of their three WR commits who went dancing with some other pretty girls/colleges reaffirmed their verbals. Such is the recruiting life. Westerkamp likely spends next year on the scout team which is not a bad thing.
Mike: I'd like to see Westerkamp redshirt, but if he's as reliable catching the ball as it sounds he might be...it'll be hard to keep him off the field.
So what's your take on the receivers? Do you agree that this group has the potential to be one of the best in the Big Ten? Or am I just looking at things through Husker red colored glasses?
(Bonus question: Anybody still want to call these guys wingbacks and split ends?)