Over the next few weeks I’ll be breaking down each of Cal’s position groups. Today we immerse ourselves in the pass catchers.
The receiving group, while inexperienced, boasts one of the countries top playmakers in Keenan Allen. Allen, a junior, is projected as an early first round pick due to his blend of size and speed and incredible body control working sidelines and finding holes in the defense. We all know what Allen can bring to the table, but what about the rest of the receiving corps?
The likely #2 receiver is Maurice Harris, cousin of Keenan Allen. Harris has a very nice blend of size and athleticism and has great hands. In fact, according to Coach Tedford “Harris probably has the best hands on the team.” High praise for Harris considering he plays across Keenan Allen.
Once you get past the two returning scholarship receivers it gets into a guessing game with freshmen. The most likely to come in and have an immediate impact is Bryce Treggs. Treggs is an extremely polished route runner with exceptional hands and great speed, in fact his 200 time this spring was faster than De’Anthony Thomas’ time. Treggs appears to be a similar body type to DeSean Jackson but more polished and a little less explosive.
After Treggs it comes down to Kenny Lawler and Darius Powe. Both guys have great size and the ability to also make an impact this season. I think both have the body and ability to help, but Lawler is probably the most ready of the two. His ability to attack the ball in the air and control his body makes him favorable for a team with a QB who can lack accuracy.
The biggest upside guy in the receiving corps is probably tight end Richard Rodgers. Rodgers is a massive target at 6-4 270 and has really blossomed as a receiver. Rodgers has received high praise from Coach Tedford coming out of spring ball. “He’s a 270-pound tight end who can run and get down the field, and very athletic catching the football. I felt like he really improved.” And for those of you older bears out there, you may recognize his father, Richard Sr., who played a big role in “The Play”.
All in all I think receiver is a very strong area for Cal, even though it is very young. Allen is the only returning player with any experience whatsoever. Cal hauled in one of the nations best WR classes last year and needs one or two to step in and get early playing time. I would like to see Brendan Bigelow used in the slot at times to get him the ball in space where he can he a major weapon.