Sep 29, 2012; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Marshall Thundering Herd wide receiver Craig Wilkins (81) catches a touchdown pass against the Purdue Boilermakers during the second half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Purdue defeated Marshall 51-41. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Depth Perception: Wide Receivers, Tight Ends

Rakeem Cato may get the Hesiman hype but he’ll need able receivers to throw to if he wants an invite to New York this December. Gone are Gator Hoskins and Devon Smith from last year’s stellar receiving corps, but the Herd still return their top pass catcher: Tommy Shuler.

Shuler led the way last season with 106 catches for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had Devon “Moo Moo” Smith and Hoskins to open up the field for him, but now the Herd will need Devonte Allen, Craig Wilkins and Eric Fronapfel to take care of that task if he wants to have another 100+ catch season.

The August depth chart let’s us take a look at how the Herd’s coaches see their roster.

WR (z) – 81 Craig Wilkins, 15 Angelo Jean-Louis, 82 Emanuel Beal

WR (x) – Davonte Allen, 9 Justin Hunt, 80 Chris Alston Jr., 87 Rodney Allen

WR (slot)Tommy Shuler, 19 Deandre Reaves, 4 Demetrius Evans

TE/H-back 83 Eric Frohnapfel, 47 Devon Johnson, 16 Deon-Tay McManus or 89 Joe Woodrum

Receiving 2013 Season
Rk Player Rec ▾ Yds Avg TD
1 Tommy Shuler 106 1165 11.0 10
2 Gator Hoskins 50 821 16.4 15
3 Devon Smith 39 653 16.7 4
4 Craig Wilkins 32 408 12.8 2
5 Demetrius Evans 19 134 7.1 1
6 Essray Taliaferro 12 128 10.7 1
7 Devon Johnson 12 218 18.2 2
8 Kevin Grooms 9 80 8.9 1
9 Davonte Allen 9 163 18.1 2
10 Eric Frohnapfel 7 95 13.6 2
11 Deandre Reaves 6 42 7.0 0
12 Jazz King 5 109 21.8 1
13 Steward Butler 3 23 7.7 0
14 Remi Watson 2 1 0.5 0
15 Justin Hunt 2 48 24.0 1
16 Joe Woodrum 1 26 26.0 0
17 Dameon Garrett 1 8 8.0 0
As you can see, the Herd will be missing just under half of their receiving production from last season, but Cato’s favorite target is still intact.  Wilkens and Evans didn’t combine for a ton of statistics but at least in Wilkins case, he was stretching the field and racking up first downs for the Herd. Some of the practical concerns though will be if Wilkins and Evans can make up some of the production of Hoskins and Smith that allowed Shuler to remain so wide open. There is reason to be hopeful though as Doug Smock of the Charleston Gazette wrote about the promise the young receivers are showing.

Tags: Marshall Thundering Herd

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