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UCLA 2015 Spring Football: A Look at the Receivers

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UCLA Football returns to the field next week and Bruins Nation is taking a look at each position going into spring camp. Today we take a look at the receivers.

The 2015 UCLA receiving corps will be deep and experienced.
The 2015 UCLA receiving corps will be deep and experienced.
Harry How/Getty Images

The 2015 receiving corps will be deep, talented, and experienced. This year, if all goes as planned, all scholarship receivers will be returning. In addition to that, UCLA will add a very talented player who redshirted last year, two players that were injured last year, and possibly a QB to the mix. And let us not forget, the Bruins still have Eddie Vanderdoes for those special moments.

Before getting to the potential depth chart we should note a few things. First, Noel Mazzone's offense uses a lot of receivers, in a lot of different packages. So the depth chart is very fluid. Second, there are players that have yet to see the field (e.g. Jordan Lasley and Austin Roberts) who could emerge as special receivers this year. Third, we have new talent coming in the fall, and while many will probably redshirt, we also know that Coach Mora doesn't hesitate to put the best players on the field.

So let's take a look at the potential spring depth chart and then how things might pan out after practice begins:

WR

SLOT WR (F)

TE (Y)

WR

Jordan Payton (SR)

Devin Fuller (SR)

Thomas Duarte (JR)

Eldridge Massington (RS SO)

Jordan Lasley (RS FR)

Mossi Johnson (SO)

Mossi Johnson (SO)

Devin Lucien (RS SR)

Alex Van Dyke (SO)

Ahmaad Harris (RS JR)

Tyler Scott (RS SR)

Kenny Walker (RS JR)

Logan Sweet (RS SR)

Zach Bornstein (RS FR)

Austin Roberts (RS FR)

Darren Andrews (RS SO)



There are a couple of positions that we came really close to changing, but we will wait on reports from Spaulding this week, before moving anyone around. For one, Mossi Johnson exploded in the second half of the season and may be even or ahead of Devin Fuller at this point. Eldridge Massington had passed Devin Lucien at the end of the year, but that's a close call and could switch again. Devin Lucien was going through a lot last year, which seemed to affect him, and still came through with a brilliant TD catch, which was wrongly taken away.

Last year, Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte were clearly the go-to Bruin receivers. Jordan averaged 73.4 yards/game, for a team high 954 total yards. Duarte averaged 45 yards/game for a season total of 540 yards. Both showed the ability to break tackles and get a lot of yards after tackle. Fuller had the third most yards for the season, 447, followed by Massington with 367 yards, Mossi Johnson with 232, and Lucien with 225. These numbers correspond to the order in yards/game.

This year, with such a deep group, it will be interesting to see what stars emerge and which players become the go-to guys.

The Wideouts

We know what Jordan Payton, Eldridge Massington, and Devin Lucien bring to the table. Jordan is steady, strong, and is able to break tackles for more yards down field. Massington, should be more explosive this year, being another year away from his injury, and his downfield speed should also improve. His size makes him a really good target and his strength allows him to make and hang on to difficult catches. Lucien is very athletic, has good speed, and good hands, and could become more of a downfield threat this year. We'll see if he gets more opportunities, this year, to be the game breaker he can be.

Alex Van Dyke, Jordan Lasley, Austin Roberts, and Darren Andrews will also be good options this year. Depending on how they perform, all could emerge as good weapons for the Bruins. We saw Van Dyke a few times last year. He has the height to provide our quarterback(s) a great target, but was very thin last year, especially in the legs. A year working with Sal Alosi has hopefully helped him put on some bulk.

Three receivers who could have a big impact this year are Jordan Lasley, Austin Roberts, and Darren Andrews. They are not new to the team, but will hit the field for the first time this year. Roberts injured his ACL right after joining the Bruins, Andrews underwent surgery in November after re-injuring a knee in fall camp, and Lasley redshirted.

Jordan Lasley just may end up being some people's favorite player. The word coming out of spaulding last year, was the Jordan was killing on the scout team, running great routes and making incredible catches. Last November, Mazzone raved about Lasley "who is going to be a stud! ... The sucker comes out and competes his butt off everyday...He makes it easier for our guys on Saturday."

Austin Roberts is expected to bring speed and size to the corps. Darren Andrews is fast and is said to have good hands. Both could become deep ball threats this year. Andrews also has the quickness and size, that might make him well suited to play the F slot. Because both are returning from surgery, we won't know how well their bodies are responding until they get back on the field.

Filling out the wideout position are Kenny Walker and Logan Sweet. We saw the kind of break out speed Walker had last year, reflected in his 2 catches for 62 yards. However, we also saw him drop some crucial passes. While Logan Sweet is a good blocker, he lacks the speed and hands to compete with the other talent at WR.

One more name to keep in mind is Aaron Sharp. Sharp is a quarterback, but was a receiver on the scout team last year. Like Fuller, he may find that he can get real playing time as a receiver.

Slot WR (F)

Devin Fuller and Mossi Johnson will probably split time at this position unless one of them can emerge as the much better choice. Devin didn't have the break out year many had hoped for last year. He did, however, rack up a lot of catches for a lot of yards. Mossi, came on the scene about half way through the season, and showed great explosiveness and quickness. Given the number of quick passes Mazzone calls, this becomes an important position for moving the offense. Ahmaad Harris, may also get some time here. He is a little undersized, but quick.

TE (Y)

Thomas Duarte had a break out year last year, and in my opinion, would have one a year earlier had the ball gone his way more. Duarte knows how to get open, has excellent hands, can bring down difficult balls, and is fast enough to pile up yards after the catch. His height makes him a great target and difficult to defend. At this point, he should receive the vast majority of playing time at his position, with Mossi moving to the Y sometimes as we saw last year. Tyler Scott is a good blocker, but not the game breaker Duarte and Johnson are. Oh yah, the Bruins will be getting another TE come fall. It is unclear whether Chris Clark will redshirt or not. Given Mora's desire to get talent on the field, Clark may be playing this year.

Overall, this group of receivers is very talented, diverse, and has experience. With the additions and all of last year's receivers returning, this should be a much improved receiving corps. Given the depth of this group, it seems likely that most, if not all, of the incoming receiving class will redshirt, unless of course, one of them really stands out. It must also be said that a lot of how well these men perform will depend on how well our quarterback does. Jerry Neuheisel, Josh Rosen, and Asiantii Woulard, each bring something different to the table and the receiver rotation could very well be tied to who is throwing the ball. And who will be throwing the ball? We will leave that discussion for tomorrow.

Extra coverage: Since we didn't get to see them on the field, I thought you might like to see Lasley, Roberts, and Andrews for yourself:

Take a look at Jordan Lasley:

Austin Roberts:

and Darren Andrews:

Spring practice begins in three days!

Have a great day and, as always, ...

Go Bruins!