This is the third part of my position by position breakdown of the 2007 roster.
One consistently frustrating aspect of the old regime was the inability to recruit or develop a game-breaking wide receiver. We employed plenty of smallish, slowish, good citizens with above average hands, but none that could change a defensive scheme. Going into this season, the wide receivers represent some good returning production and have depth, but seemingly little upside. The challenge will be on new Offensive Coordinator Steve Logan to either scheme or find someone who can take Ryan’s passes to the end zone.
Based on Logan’s history, I predict we will have one primary receiver. Between 1996 and 2002, East Carolina produced at least one Top 10 receiver within Confernece USA. In one of those rare seasons without a primary receiver (1998) ECU’s two leading pass catchers (Troy Smith and Lamont Chappell) finished with nearly identical stats and had the 14th and 15th best pass catching seasons in the conference.
This season, I expect Logan to drive most of the aerial attack to either Kevin Challenger or Brandon Robinson. If neither explode, look for them to get grouped with the younger guys with Logan and Ryan going with different guys from game to game.
Kevin Challenger, SR, 5’8 178lbs
Brandon Robinson, JR, 5’10 195lbs
Billy Flutie, FR, 6’2 177lbs
Rich Gunnell, SO, 5’11 205 lbs
Justin Jarvis, SO, 6’5 195 lbs
Clarence Megwa, SO, 6’1 212 lbs
Warren Wilson, FR, 6’1 180 lbs
Challenger is the most experienced and productive of this group. He has good hands and runs good routes. He missed spring practices with medical issues. I expect him to come out strong this season. Robinson is one of the faster more athletic guys on the team. We used him as a deep threat and out of the slot last year. I expect Logan will use him to spread the field as well. Robinson’s hands have been inconsistent. Hopefully some coaching and a solid summer will improve his pass catching. Flutie was the surprise of spring. Moved to WR late in practices, he showed off his football IQ and looked good in his new spot. Gunnell is another speedster with adequate hands. He’ll need to do more than go deep to get regular reps. Jarvis red shirt was wasted last season with limited play. I like his size, but don’t have much else to go on. Megwa is another interchangeable guy who hasn’t shown what he is capable of…yet.
This group will be much better coached this season. I think the biggest difference will be in the red zone, where our smallish receivers have been shut down recently. I am not expecting any of these guys to be All ACC, but hope that the young guys will continue to develop. If Robinson and Challenger can combine for 120 catches, I think we'll be one of the more productive offenses in the ACC.