(You may notice the sunday post said there were 66. Well, I went back to the original post, which was based off of NUsports.com's calculations, and it turns out I am terrible at math. In my defense, I'm a journalism student, and can only understand basic principles of math if they are somehow phrased as per game scoring averages.)
Who did it last year? The guys above, Eric Peterman, Ross Lane, and Rasheed Ward. You needed all three: Peterman provided the closest thing we had to a go-to guy, Lane was a big man on the outside, and Ward, at the risk of sounding vaguely racist, provided speed out of the slot (what? he was really fast!), and was our resident man of a million slants.
Our fourth leading reciever was Tyrell Sutton, who really augmented the spread through his play out of the slot - hopefully, ex-WR Jeravin Matthews can continue the tradition of good receiving running backs, but, you never know.
There were also decent contributions from Andrew Brewer, who got healthy about halfway through the year, the true freshman Jeremy Ebert, who was our fourth reciever last year and is one of two people to have caught a TD pass from Mike Kafka - the fade at Minnesota - and Sidney Stewart, who settled under Eric Peterman's lone career TD throw.
Because I'm all about paying respect, Jeff Yarbrough, a receiver who didn't catch a single pass last year, but once had 100 receiving yards and a TD against Michigan State, graduated. Not a big deal, but we could use all the experience we could get right about now.
Who's got next? Welp, we need a new wide receiving corps. In a dream world, we'd slap Peterman's name on Ebert's jersey, Ward's on Stewart's (again with the vague racism) and Lane's on Brewer's. Anyway, I think they're a good trio. None of them have ever been a #1 receiver, hopefully we'll get a tandem like we had from the last three with a few others contributing.
I'd be pretty certain that these will be the three biggest contributors based on how they slotted into the offense last year, but the Cats certainly made it difficult for people to predict by passing to nine different recievers in the spring game, with none getting more than three catches.
Is that an improvement? Eh, probably not. Not a knock on these guys, it's just hard to replace three experienced seniors.
I like Brewer's combo of Lane-esque speed and size, but we've never seen him play wide receiver due to his brutal performances as a quarterback back before I was an NU student and his many injuries. He had a nice 55 yard TD grab in the spring game, so signs are good. Ebert might be a good receiver for years to come, and has a pretty sweet rapport with Kafka judging from that one pass. Stewart also looked decent in limited action last year, we'll just have to wait and see.
Who else we got? NU has 14 - count em - wide recievers listed on their roster. For the hell of it, I'll write a little bit about all of them, but considering only five have ever caught a pass in a game, and I've already written about three of them, and one of the two other people to have caught a pass I hadn't heard of up until spring practices, imagine how little I have to say about the other nine. Done imagining? Prepare to be underwhelmed.
For your reading pleasure, I've seperated the remaining 11 recievers into "guys who have caught a pass in a game, might potentially catch a pass in a game this year, yet I still know relatively little about" and "people who may or may not be figments of NUsports.com's imagination."
4. Charles Brown caught two passes last year and three in the spring game, and is likely our next guy down the depth chart from the three written about above. Brown was his class valedictorian, and according to his NUsports.com profile, brings "explosiveness," so blame them for the vague racism.
5. Zeke Markshausen is a walkon and the only other player on the roster to have caught a pass in a game. He figured somewhat prominently in spring drills and the game, look for him to pop up once or twice in the slot. I'm also disappointed that his name is actually "Zeke" by birth, because "Ezekiel Markshausen" might have made for the best Amish football player in school history, which in turn would be a great reason to bring back the black uniforms.
Now, in class order: wide recievers who have never caught a pass in a game, might not this year, but who cares. All random facts are courtesy of their NUsports.com profiles, obviously. I'd say any junior or senior on here has the potential to show up on a statsheet. But, like I said, I have absolutely no idea.
6. Senior Kevin Frymire broke a leg in spring ball last year, causing him to miss the whole season, so hopefully he's back to football shape, and hopefully he doesn't mind pretending to be a senior again, because that's probably medical redshirt material.
7. Senior Kevin Mitchell was a high school quarterback, which according to google translator, is romanian for "Northwestern wide receiver." He's not related to superback Brendan Mitchell or the previously mentioned Kevin Frymire.
8. Junior Carl Fisher has played special teams at NU, and played the role of Gaston in his high school production of "Beauty and the Beast", a fact I'm sure he loves on his football playing resume.
9. Junior Lee Coleman had a special teams tackle last year. He was a high school quarterback, and there's a joke about that four lines above this.
10. Walkon junior Mark Ison was listed as a punter/wide receiver up until spring ball, which always fascinated me, because one is close to the most athletic position on the field and the other is probably the least athletic, and yet Ison apparently did both, making him an instant Purple Drank favorite. However, he's dropped the punting gig, which leads me to believe he was pretty bad at it, considering our current punter wants to be our place kicker, leaving an opening there, and the fact that he'll be approximately 12th on our wide receiving depth chart. Here's hoping Ison catches a pass and/or punts at least once this year.
11. RS Freshman Martin Bayless's dad played safety for the Chargers for 13 years, had NFL-player uncles, and is Charles Woodson's cousin. No pressure, kid.
12. Want to read something interesting about RS freshman Brendan Barber? Too bad.
13. Ditto for RS freshman Demetrius Fields, although I can say I hope that he and incoming freshman running back Arby "RB" Fields host a buddy sitcom together. Working titles: "Ryan Fields", "Fields of Dreams", "Demetrius and Arby's Fun-Time Variety Hour, sponsored by Goose Island, whatever that is"
14. Last, but not least, incoming freshman Drew Moulton. Obviously, college football recruiting is very difficult and our staff is very good at it, and getting better at it every year, but, Fitz, did you really need to tack on another wide out to make this post 14/13ths longer? Really? I'm sort of mad.
Too much writing about wide receivers has made me need a nap, and made me renege on the "no 1500 word post" policy, but this is probably the last time that happens, because, damn, there's 14 of them, and I felt like it.
Remember, kids, i before e, except after c, and go vote in the poll.