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2017 UCLA Football Fall Preview: Bruin Receivers Need to Do a Better Job Catching the Ball

UCLA’s receivers look to improve on a lot of dropped passes last season.

Darren Andrews looks a pass into his hand during Spring Practice on April 8, 2017.
Joe Piechowski

The receivers definitely had a problem last season with dropped balls. At Pac-12 Media Days on Wednesday, UCLA Coach Jim Mora acknowledged that the receivers need to improve this year. Mora said:

I think there is a need for us to find a way to develop more consistency. And receivers have to catch the ball. That's the job number one, to catch the ball. Some might say get open and catch the ball, but if you get open and can't catch the ball, getting open doesn't matter.

Enter new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty. The coaching duo is emphasizing precision and detail. In the Spring, Bruin receivers spoke about how Fisch is a stickler for detail who demands precise routes.

Well, precise routes certainly won’t help receivers to catch the ball, but I sense that receivers who aren’t able to pay attention to small details like running a precise route or making sure the ball gets caught will be the ones who play and the ones who are unable to do that won’t.

Let’s look at the personnel changes in the receivers and tight ends.

Personnel Changes

Who’s gone: Ishmael Adams, Kenny Walker, Nate Iese, Jake Jones, Mossi Johnson (position change to defense)

Who’s new: Jimmy Jaggers, Moses Robinson-Carr, Devin Asiasi

Here are the wide receives on this year’s roster.

2017 UCLA Football Wide Receivers Roster

No. Name Height Weight Year
No. Name Height Weight Year
2 Jordan Lasley 6-1 205 R-Jr.
6 Stephen Johnson 5-11 195 R-So.
7 Darren Andrews 5-10 195 R-Sr.
9 Dymond Lee 6-2 190 R-Fr.
10 Demetric Felton 5-10 185 R-Fr.
11 Audie Omotosho 6-2 200 R-Fr.
11 Trae Smith 6-2 195 R-Jr.
14 Theo Howard 6-0 180 So.
21 Mossi Johnson 6-0 195 Sr.
24 Damian Alloway 5-9 175 R-Fr.
26 Alvoid Bennett 5-8 165 R-Fr.
27 Xan Cuevas 5-11 215 R-Jr.
27 Christian Pabico 6-0 190 R-Jr.
29 Brad Sochowski 5-10 190 R-Jr.
31 Will McClure 5-8 185 R-Jr.
39 Ethan Fernea 5-11 185 So.
82 Eldridge Massington 6-2 212 R-Sr.
83 Alex Van Dyke 6-4 225 Sr.

And, here is this year’s tight end roster.

2017 UCLA Football Tight Ends Roster

No. Name Height Weight Year
No. Name Height Weight Year
45 Giovanni Gentosi 6-2 250 R-Jr.
81 Caleb Wilson 6-4 235 R-So.
85 Alex Rassool 6-3 235 R-Jr.
86 Devin Asiasi 6-3 287 So.
87 Jordan Wilson 6-4 245 R-Fr.
88 Austin Roberts 6-2 230 R-Jr.
89 Jimmy Jaggers 6-4 240 Fr.

Projected Depth Chart

When it comes to projecting the depth chart, this is where things get a little tricky. That’s because, like the running backs, the starting receiver spots will likely be up for grabs as the team heads into camp.

As a result, the receiver part of the depth chart could certainly change between now and the Texas A&M game in just 35 days. And, frankly, it could change significantly because of Fall Camp.

In fact, even the tight ends could see changes. Austin Roberts and Caleb Wilson look to be the top two tight ends, but expect competition from Jimmy Jaggers who had a very good Spring. Devin Asiasi, the transfer from Michigan, will almost certainly have to sit out this year because of his transfer as Jim Mora doesn’t think that his NCAA appeal will be successful.

But, as camp opens this week, this seems like a reasonable projection. Whether it holds will depend on who has a good camp and who doesn’t.

2017 UCLA Football WR/TE Projected Depth Chart

X Receiver Tight End Z Receiver Slot Receiver
X Receiver Tight End Z Receiver Slot Receiver
Eldridge Massington Austin Roberts Jordan Lasley Darren Andrews
Theo Howard Caleb Wilson Audie Omotosho Stephen Johnson
Alex Van Dyke Jimmy Jaggers Dymond Lee Damian Alloway

Overall, there are still plenty of weapons here. But, like so much of football, it all comes down to execution.

Who do you think will step up their game and focus on making catches this year? Which receiver are looking forward to watching the most? Leave it in the comments below.

Go Bruins!!!