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2016 Nebraska Spring Football: Receivers

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Nebraska has never had this good a group of receivers. Is it really any wonder offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf wants to throw the ball?

Nebraska Cornhuskers rally around receiver Jordan Westerkamp
Nebraska Cornhuskers rally around receiver Jordan Westerkamp
David McGee

Has Nebraska ever had this fine a group of receivers?

I don't think so.

You could point to individual receivers throughout Nebraska's history; Irving Fryar, Johnny Rodgers, Matt Davison, Nate Swift, but you're not going to come close to an overall group like this.

Gone:

Taariq Allen, Jamal Turner: Graduation

Lane Hovey: Transferred to Montana

Returning:

No Player Position Height Weight Year Hometown
3 Lavan Alston WR 6-0 175 RFr. Oxnard, Calif. (St. Bonaventure)
33 Christian Bailey WR 6-0 205 Jr. San Clemente, Calif. (San Clemente)
40 Ty Betka WR 5-7 165 Sr. Superior, Neb. (Drake)
43 Brett Classen WR 6-2 205 Jr. Medina, Minn. (Winona State) (Wayzata)
25 Blake Holtmeier WR 6-2 200 So. Kearney, Neb. (Kearney Catholic)
82 Alonzo Moore WR 6-2 195 Sr. Winnfield, La. (Winnfield Senior)
8 Stanley Morgan Jr. WR 6-0 185 So. New Orleans, La. (St. Augustine)
26 Brady Pelzer WR 5-11 180 So. Bellevue, Neb. (Bellevue East)
15 De'Mornay Pierson-El WR 5-9 185 Jr. Alexandria, Va. (West Potomac)
48 Gabe Rahn WR 6-1 190 Jr. Le Mars, Iowa (Le Mars)
87 Brandon Reilly WR 6-2 195 Sr. Lincoln, Neb. (Southwest)
45 Bryan Reimers WR 6-5 210 So. Lincoln, Neb. (Lincoln East)
1 Jordan Westerkamp WR 6-0 195 Sr. Lombard, Ill. (Montini Catholic)
31 Conor Young WR 42522 170 RFr. Cozad, Neb. (Cozad)

Newcomers:

Player Position Height Weight Year Hometown
Ty Chaffin WR 6-5 200 Fr. Burwell, Neb. (Burwell)
Derrion Grim WR 6-0 195 Fr. Stockton, Calif. (Ronald E. McNair)
Todd Honas WR 5-11 200 Fr. Aurora, Neb. (Aurora)
JD Spielman WR 5-9 180 Fr. Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie)
Keyan Williams WR 5-10 190 So. New Orleans, La. (Fresno State) (Lusher)

Keyan Williams is Nebraska Receiver coach Keith Williams' son, who will sit out the 2016 season transferring from Fresno State. There is the possibility of a hardship waiver so that he doesn't have to sit out the year.

2015 Receiving Statistics

Name Pos G Rec. Yards Avg. TD Rec./G Yards/G
Jordan Westerkamp WR 13 65 918 14.12 7 5 70.6
Brandon Reilly WR 13 40 754 18.85 4 3.1 58
Alonzo Moore WR 12 24 395 16.46 6 2 32.9
Cethan Carter TE 11 24 329 13.71 2 2.2 29.9
Stanley Morgan Jr. WR 13 25 304 12.16 3 1.9 23.4
Terrell Newby RB 13 24 159 6.63 1 1.8 12.2
Lane Hovey WR 13 12 158 13.17 1 0.9 12.2
De'Mornay Pierson-El WR 6 12 111 9.25 1 2 18.5
Jamal Turner WR 12 9 93 10.33 0 0.8 7.8
Devine Ozigbo RB 9 5 62 12.4 0 0.6 6.9
Andy Janovich RB 13 2 58 29 0 0.2 4.5
Taariq Allen WR 12 5 41 8.2 1 0.4 3.4
Sam Cotton TE 13 3 35 11.67 0 0.2 2.7
Mikale Wilbon RB 2 2 28 14 0 1 14
Imani Cross RB 12 2 10 5 0 0.2 0.8
Trey Foster TE 10 1 9 9 1 0.1 0.9
Luke McNitt TE 3 1 6 6 0 0.3 2

Nebraska receivers coach Keith Williams is excited! David McGee


2016 Overview

Westerkamp, Reilly, Moore, Carter, and Stanley Morgan Jr.

Those are the top five receivers (including Carter the tight end obviously) from last season and they all return. Add in DeMornay Pierson-El, and is it any wonder Danny Langsdorf would want to call pass pay after pass play?

Nebraska didn't get its first 1,000 yard receiver in 2015, although Westerkamp came close and was only 24 yards away from setting the single season receiving record. His 65 receptions were the most for a receiver in school history, although it's a lot easier setting offensive records when you're playing more games per season. I wouldn't expect one a 1,000 yard receiver in 2016 either. It won't be for lack of offensive production, it will be because of the ability to spread the ball around.

Westerkamp is the clear leader and coming into his final year with the program. It is unlikely you will find him in anyone's Top 25 of receivers in the 2017 NFL Draft; if he is to improve his lot it will be by being more consistent. Westerkamp has already made some circus-like catches (the behind-the-back catch against 2014 Florida Atlantic that was ESPN's College Football Play of the Year), but this season he has a shot at becoming Nebraska's best receiver in school history. He is 52 receptions and 741 receiving yards behind Kenny Bell from setting career records in both categories. Achieving those records along won't give him the designation of greatest; perhaps being the school's first 1,000 yard guy will.

Westerkamp is in danger of being out shown by his counterparts Moore and Morgan Jr this season. Moore came around and started becoming a solid all-around and dependable player while Morgan showed that he could stay on the same stage despite being the underclassman. Perhaps the two should move in with Tommy Armstrong in hopes that they get more receptions this season.

Often overlooked is Reilly, whom like Westerkamp has had moments of excellence (Michigan State!) but must step it up a notch this next season if he's to improve his shot at the NFL. Reilly needs a little more consistency in catching the ball. It will also be interesting to see how Nebraska can use his speed in the run game.

The obvious question about Pierson-El is whether he can return to form from the injury suffered in 2015.

That leaves us the newcomers. Who might see the field this season? Whomever is the first to understand that if you're going to play receiver at Nebraska, you're going to have to block consistently in the run game.

Nebraska will lose Westerkamp, Reilly and Moore after this season. Those are three better receivers than the Huskers have had across the board in a while. As I stated before, can you really blame Langsdorf for wanting to utilize them as much as possible?