Purdue has A LOT of receivers on this year's roster. There are 15 scholarship guys after two players moved from other positions. This does not include tight ends, of which Purdue has six more plus two walk-ons. That makes for almost a quarter of the scholarship roster being made up of tight ends or receivers.
While that seems like a lot, Purdue is missing experience at the position. Purdue is expected to use more of a Pro Set under John Shoop as opposed to our traditional three-wide sets. We'll still likely see a 3 WR/1TE combo on several occasions, however. The good news there is that there are three pretty clear starters in such a scenario. In terms of backups, however, there is not much proven talent.
In Macarthy Purdue has something that it has not had in a very long time: A big receiver on the outside with great hands. Originally a quarterback, Macarthy had a long path to Purdue through a prep school, a redshirt year, and he was even a walk-on last year before catching 28 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. At 6'5" we finally have a mismatch on the outside for even the biggest corners.
Bush is the most productive returning receiver with a 41-360-7 seaosn last year, including a three TD game against Marshall. For his career he has 81 catches for 770 yards and 11 scores. Bush has primarily been an inside speedster of a receiver for most of his career. His experience in that will allow him to stay on the field and likely play in the slot in a three-wide set. Of note, his brother Deon Bush is a highly regarded safety at Miami.
As for Holmes, we have heard about his prodigious talent for it seems like ages. He played AAU basketball with Bush in high school and was originally a gray shirt back in 2009. Since then he has played in 35 games, but only started nine of them. He has 37 career catches for 305 yards and three touchdowns, but drops have been an issue for a long time. Each year it seems like we hear about how this is his breakout season. Well, he starts this year on the Mackey Award watch list. He has never had more than four catches in a game, so it is time for the production to match the hype.
Finally, that fourth name is not a misprint. There is, indeed, a Sterling Carter on the football team as a fifth-year senior as well as the basketball team. The football Carter was a mid-year enrollee from Los Angeles Harbor College before the 2011 season. He redshirted, then played in five games primarily as a blocking tight end. At 6'4", 247 he will be used once again as a blocking TE. He has yet to catch a pass at Purdue.
While Macarthy, Holmes, and Bush above have a ton of experience this group has virtually none. In fact, they combined for nine catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns last year.
Sinz was the best of that group with four catches for 48 yards and a score, mostly as Holmes's backup as a passing TE. Like so many other players on the roster he is a converted quarterback, but he is a big target at 6'4" 251 pounds.
As I mentioned with Anthrop the past few days, he is more of an offensive weapon than a true receiver. He can easily line up at running back or as a receiver. He did catch one pass last season for a 25 yard touchdown, but we'll likely find more creative ways to get him the football.
Mikesky is a very interesting prospect because he combines size (6'4") with great athleticism. He is a former state champion in the hurdles and also competes on Purdue's track team as a hurdler and a sprinter. I saw him quite a bit in high school and he is a very good receiver to send deep on post routes.
Torwudzo is entering his fourth year in the program and with younger players behind him, he is venturing into the elder-statesman territory. He is also another big outside receiver at 6'4" but has only two career receptions for 19 yards. You have to think that if he doesn't play much this year his senior season could mean even less playing time.
Mostert's role in the offense is similar to Anthrops in that most of his snaps have seen him at running back as opposed to receiver. He has yet to catch a pass in college, but he has 32 carries for 193 yards and three touchdowns. What I will welcome is his return to the kickoff return game. He was excellent in high school and as a freshman in 2011 he was the best returner in the nation at 33.5 yards per return and a touchdown. A knee injury slowed him last year, but he already has 1,300 return yards in his career and can easily pass Dorien Bryant for the most return yards (2,125) in Purdue history.
Finally, you have Carvajal who was a four-star recruit in the 2012 class, but has yet to play a down. He redshirted last season but the big TE would be an intriguing red zone target.
The Rest: Dan Monteroso - Fr., Bilal Marshall - Fr. (RS), E.J. Johnson - Jr., Cameron Posey - Fr. (RS), Aloyis Gray - Fr. (RS), Kyle Marzec - So. (walk-on), Micah Budzinski - Fr. (TE, walk-on), Matt Burke - Fr. (TE), DeAngelo Yancey - Fr., Myles Norwood - Fr., B.J. Knauf - Fr. (RS), Ryan Morris - Fr. (RS), Jordan Woods - Fr. (RS), Patrick Bade - Sr. (TE, walk-on)
As you can see here, there is a ton of depth, but almost no experience. Marshall, Johnson, and Gray have all converted from other positions. In the case of Johnson and Marshall they just converted this fall. None of the redshirt players played at all last season and Bade is a former basketball player that played in 10 games last year on special teams. He represents the only in-game experience from this entire group save for Johnson's time at safety.
Of all of these players I think Knauf has the biggest shot to play. He is a speedster in the Vinny Sutherland mold and would have played last year if not for an injury. With him it might be as simple as get him the ball in a little space and let him do the rest.
There is a nice mix of size and speed here. Gray, Marshall, and Monteroso are bigger outside receivers. Posey and Woods were mentioned as possible guys to avoid redshirting last year under Hope. Monteroso in particular seems like a guy who could play immediately because coaches have spoken of his route running.
What Purdue needs is guys who are not afraid to mix it up in blocking downfield in addition to being good route-runners. Last year's bubble screens failed time after time because people like O.J. Ross were crappy blockers. Surely someone from this group gets it and can be a Jake Standeford-type blocker.
Finally, I hope we have just one play, I don't care against who, where we throw it to Bade on a fade.
T-Mill's Depth Chart:
Guys who will play a lot: Bush, Mikesky, Macarthy, Holmes, Sinz, Anthrop, Carter (blocking situations), Knauf, Mostert.
Guys who will be primarily reserves: Torwudzo, Woods, Monteroso, Posey, Carvajal, Marshall, Johnson, Gray, Morris, Bade.
Redshirts: Yancey, Norwood