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2016 Purdue Football Preview: Wide Receiver

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Purdue has a veritable cornucopia of veteran options at wide receiver. Will the new offense finally allow them to put up some yards, and more importantly, touchdowns?

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Purdue enters the 2016-2017 season with an experienced and talented depth chart at wide receiver. In fact, wide receiver may be the deepest position group on the squad. Add in the fact that the position has been simplified with the euthanasia of the Shoopfence, and Purdue could even be a little bit of a match-up nightmare on the outside. In theory, the wide receiver position should be the best unit because Coach Hazell is a former wide receiver coach, which, if nothing else, should bode well in talent evaluation. As with all things Purdue football, we will have to wait and see if any of this talent actually shows up on the field on Saturday, but if you're looking for a reason to be optimistic (I am the optimism ambassador for Purdue football) wide receiver is a good place to start.

Breakdown:

DeAngelo Yancey

Sr

6'4

215lbs

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

92

1393

10

It's time for Yancey to crap or get off the pot, because he's been in the bathroom for three years, and like my toddler, has only teased us with production. Looking over his career stats—with the exception of his 92 receptions—Yancey needs to come close to his cumulative career numbers this season if he plans on taking his NFL body to an actual NFL team. If anyone on the squad has a chance for a truly breakout year, it's Yancey. The offense is going to be simplified, and that can only be a good thing for the ultra-physical Yancey. In the Shoopfence, the wide receiver had to adjust his route, depending on the coverage, and then the quarterback had to attempt to make the same read. This season, Terry Malone is going to line the guys up, call a play, and run a play. If Yancey has a favorable pre-snap match-up he's going to get a chance to run a route and catch the ball, instead of having to do the mental gymnastics required to run the Shoopfence. Yancey looks like the prototypical number 1 receiver, if he can perform like it, Purdue's offense might be in business.

Cameron Posey

Sr

6'1

195lbs

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

71

740

5

Posey has been continually bitten by the injury bug during his career. He came into Purdue with a wrist injury, was stricken with a Purdue knee (ACL) after a promising freshman year, and has since languished in the Shoopfence. I had to look at a roster during the spring game, because I didn't recognize the number 18 looking truly dangerous on simple crossing routes. Posey will line up in the slot and use his quickness to run a bunch of crossing routes. He is bigger than your conventional slot receiver, which should be an advantage when he goes across the middle. Posey is another guy that really has a chance to shine his senior year. He had a great spring, and won the starting slot position. Much like Yancey, this is it for Posey, it's time for the talented Floridian to turn potential into statistics.

Domonique Young

Sr

6'3

215

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

21

276

1

The tough as nails JuCo transfer from California had a promising initial campaign for the Boilermakers before a truly dirty and horseshit helmet to helmet hit by Bowling Green's Eilar Hardy knocked him out of the Bowling Green game with a concussion, cost him the Michigan St. game, and set him back an additional few weeks while he was getting his feet back under him. Young was finally able to show his ability towards the end of last season and even managed a 100-yard receiving game against Northwestern. Young has this season to show what he has, and I, for one, am rooting for him. He gives Purdue a fast and physical outside receiver with the ability to go up and get the ball.

Bilal Marshall

R. Sr

6'2

200lbs

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

7

72

0

Purdue fans have been waiting for Marshall to produce since he stepped onto campus as an athletic quarterback from Miami in 2012. Marshall is big and fast and looks like he can play football, but has been buried on the depth chart and by the coaching staff's inability to actually get players onto the field (either because the coach lacked creativity or the player couldn't grasp the football alchemy required to Shoop it up.) To be fair, he has been banged up—this is a familiar refrain—throughout his career, but this is it: his fifth year. He either gets to be another developmental guy that never developed, or he can end his college career with a bang. He can play on the outside, or move inside and work the middle of the field from the slot. He should give Purdue a versatile guy off the bench that can provide a spark to the offense.

Gregory Phillips

Jr

6'0

200

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

23

293

2

Phillips is yet another guy that will benefit from the new offense. He had a breakout game against Bowling Green last season, catching 4 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown, but then got lost in the Shoopfence, only recording 6 catches the rest of the season. Phillips saw a good bit of action in the spring game as the second slot receiver in Purdue's 4 wide receiver package. Terry Malone spent a good bit of time in New Orleans working for Sean Peyton, so he is accustomed to a scheme that puts multiple receivers on the field and spreads the ball around. Phillips is a guy that should see his playing time drastically increase this season as Purdue looks to get its most talented position group onto the field. He gives Purdue another option out of the slot, either in a 3 WR or 4 WR set.

Anthony Mahoungou

Jr

6'3

210

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

8

93

0

My favorite Frenchman didn't quite put up the numbers I expected last year, but in retrospect, a guy who came to the game late isn't ideal in the Shoopfence. Mahoungou should be better this year as a smooth athlete who can go up and get the ball on the sidelines. Last season, Mahoungou struggled through a few injuries and he needs to stay healthy to make a push up the depth chart as the outside receiver. If he can make a move as the boundary receiver (outside) it would allow Purdue to bump Yancey to his more natural field receiver position. In theory, Mahoungou could give Purdue the down the field target they lacked (or refused to use) in the Shoopfence the last few years. I'm imagining some nice play action, followed by a deep pass down the sideline to the Flying Frenchman, followed by some sort of international touchdown celebration. Mahoungou has all the physical attributes you look for in a football player, but can he play football?

Jarrett Burgess

So

6'2

220

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

0

0

1

I know this is a familiar refrain, but no player on the roster may benefit more from simplification than Jarrett Burgess. The 25-year-old former professional baseball player was Purdue's fastest player last season, but we only managed to get the ball in his hands 3 times on reverses. When he did touch the ball, his speed was on display, averaging 20 yards a touch, even when the other team had to know he was getting the ball on the reverse. Burgess needs to work on his hands and route running, but when you have a guy with this sort of explosion on a team sorely lacking playmakers, you've got to get him the ball. If Burgess spent his offseason refining his craft, he could be one of the surprises on the Boilermaker offense. Even if he isn't a complete football player, he does one thing really well (running fast with the ball in his hands), and we need to exploit that attribute whenever possible.

Terrance Landers

Fr

6'4

200

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

NA

NA

NA

Landers was one of the gems of the last recruiting class. He has all of the physical attributes you look for in a wide receiver. Purdue has a ton of depth at the outside receiver spot, so he may have a chance to learn the offense and take a redshirt this season. Normally, a player of this caliber never redshirts at Purdue, but this may be an exception to the rule. Landers has good speed, great size, and can really go up and fight for the ball. You might not see him this year, but he will play a major part in the Purdue offense in the future.

Jack Wegher

Fr

5'9

205

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

NA

NA

NA

Wegher is a classic slot receiver Purdue signed out of football factory IMG Academy. Wegher enrolled early and went through spring practice. While Purdue has plenty of options in the slot, Wegher may avoid a redshirt if he proves to be a competent kick returner. Wegher played running back at IMG and the short, explosive player would appear to be an ideal candidate to return kicks. Don't expect to see Wegher in the offense quite yet, but he's a guy that could contribute on special teams right away, and will be someone to keep an eye on going forward.

Jackson Anthrop

Fr

5'11

180

Career Stats

Rec

Yds

TD

NA

NA

NA

If you follow Purdue sports, you know Jackson Anthrop, or at least, you know his family. Jackson was supposed to take a grey shirt, but Purdue lost a few scholarship players after the spring, opening up a scholarship for Jackson this year. Anthrop should redshirt this year while he puts on a little weight and adjusts to the college game. Anthrop is a versatile athlete that will eventually find playing time in the slot, and possibly as a kick returner. Even if you don't get a chance to see him on the football field this year, look for him on the diamond, because Anthrop will also be pitching for the Boilermakers. You know that guy in high school that excelled in every sport...yea, Jackson is that guy.