Spaulding Spring Football Preview: X's, Z's, Y's, and F's, Oh My!

Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE

Welcome to Part 7 of our spring football previews. We've already previewed the special teams, defensive backs, linebackers, and defensive and offensive lines, but we're turning our focus to the receivers today.

A few weeks ago, Bellerophon wrote a good preview of the UCLA offense moving forward in 2013 and beyond. In that preview, UCLA's pre-spring anticipated depth chart looked like this:


WR

SLOT WR (F)

TE (Y)

WR

Shaq Evans (RS SR)

Devin Fuller (SO)

Darius Bell (RS SR)

Devin Lucien (RS SO)

Jordan Payton (SO)

Damien Thigpen (RS SR)

Thomas Duarte (FR)

Kenneth Walker (SO)

Eldridge Massington (FR)

Ahmaad Harris (RS FR)

Ian Taubler (SO)

Jerry Rice, Jr. (RS SR)

Ricky Marvray (RS SR)

Roosevelt Davis (RS FR)

John Young (RS JR)

Tyler Scott (RS FR)

Logan Sweet (RS FR)

Darren Andrews (FR)

Jordan Barrett (RS JR)



Since the time the preview came out, Ricky Marvray and Jerry Rice, Jr. have been removed from the official roster. There were rumors that the two were leaving the program some time ago, and Coach Mora confirmed in his press conference that the two were graduating and moving on. We wish them luck going forward.

On the outside, Shaq Evans and Devin Lucien form a pretty good pair of Pac-12 starting receivers. The two have good size at 6'1 211 lbs. and 6'0 192 lbs., respectively. Evans led the team in receptions and yards last season with 60 catches for 877 yards, while Lucien had 10 catches for 188 yards in an injury shortened season. They both have the ability to get behind coverage, and they'll be the offense's primary deep threats next season.

Mazzone's offense spreads the ball around and uses a lot of multiple receiver sets, there will be plenty of action to spread around to other receivers. Last year's true freshman, Jordan Payton, Devin Fuller, and Kenneth Walker will all get their share of those touches. Payton came on strong towards the end of the season, and at times looked like UCLA's most polished receiver. At 6'1 210 lbs., he has good size and showed a willingness to make tough catches inside. At this point, Walker and Fuller are both more F-type receivers, but it will be interesting to see if their games develop. Walker was recruited as a running back, and at 5'9 175 lbs., he is probably better suited for a slot role. Fuller, on the other hand, is a work in progress after converting from quarterback, but he has better size at 5'11 194 lbs.

One freshman to keep an eye on this Spring is Eldridge Massington, the highly touted early entrant from Texas. He is rehabbing a knee injury that he suffered last summer, but if he is ready to play, the 6'1 206 lbs. receiver will have a good chance at breaking into the rotation.

The F position is a sort of combination running back and wide receiver. Fuller and Walker are good fits at the position and will probably see the majority of the action there. Last year, Mazzone also used Damien Thigpen and Steven Manfro at the spot, but both players are listed at running back and Thigpen is recovering from a torn ACL. We'll get our first look at Ahmaad Harris this spring, all 5'4 157 lbs. of him. I think there could be some spots where is diminutive size will be an asset, as he'll be able to hide behind blockers and his low center of gravity should allow him to cut quickly, but at 157 lbs., one has to wonder how many hits he can absorb.

At the Y, the Bruins will feel the loss of Big Joe Fauria, who hauled in a dozen TD receptions last year. Replacing him will be a combination of Darius Bell, a converted QB, highly touted true freshman Thomas Duarte, Ian Taubler, and returning-from-injury John Young. Bell and Duarte are both more receiver type Y's, while Taubler and Young are more typical tight end types. It will be interesting to see how Mazzone uses the group, but the offense will surely miss Fauria's height and ability in the red zone. Duarte will not be in camp to participate this Spring, so Bell, Taubler, Young, and walk-on Jordan Barrett will get a chance to earn playing time.

That concludes our look the receiver positions for spring camp. Fire away with any additional thoughts or comments, and be sure to check back in tomorrow for a look at the running backs.

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