Whenever I draft a fantasy football team, I always get enamored with wide receivers and take about four too many. If Paul Wulff's recent recruiting is any indication, I think he may do the same thing.
WSU has 11 scholarship wide receivers on the roster, nine of which have been added in the last two recruiting cycles. The group doesn't have a lot of experience, only four have played college football, but the potential is certainly there.
In talking to one Cougar fan, he called the current group of wide receivers, "the best in WSU history." Now, that is just crazy talk, but with Jared Karstetter and Marquess Wilson leading the way, this current group has the potential to be one of the best units in the Pac-12.
2010 Depth Chart
X: Daniel Blackledge (SR), Marquess Wilson (FR)
F: Gino Simone (SO), Isiah Barton (RsJR)
Z: Jared Karstetter (JR), Jeffrey Solomon (RsSR)
2011 Depth Chart
X: Marquess Wilson (SO), Bobby Ratliff (RsFR)
F: Isiah Barton (RsSR), Gino Simone (JR)
Z: Jared Karstetter (SR), Kristoff Williams (RsFR)
As a group, the 2010 wide receivers were generally very effective. They were targeted on 324 out of the 384 attempted passes, catching a solid 60 percent of all targets with an also solid 8.2 yards per target average.
Blacklege and Solomon need to be replaced in 2011. Blacklege had an up and down year, struggling with drops (see: endzone vs Arizona) but ending with a career best game in the Apple Cup. Solomon went down with an injury early in the season, but was clearly the Cougars third best receiver prior.
With their departure, WSU will need to replace 84 targets. Wilson and Karsetter were targeted 95 and 94 times so unless Jeff Tuel throws to Wilson and Karstetter 20+ times a game, some of the slack will have to be absorbed elsewhere.
At times during fall camp last season, some coaches thought Kristoff Williams, not Wilson, was the best freshman wide receiver. Bobby Ratliff was ranked higher than both Williams and Wilson by at least one recruiting service. If either Williams or Ratliff can effectively fill the void, this could be the best wide receiver group since Jason Hill, Brandon Gibson and Michael Bumpus were lining up together.