There is no denying that Rondale Moore had a special freshman season. He is the first Consensus Freshman All-American since Adrian Peterson. With over 100 catches, 1100 yards and return yards as well, Rondale and Coach Brohm were one of the most explosive duos in the nation.
But, it gets better.
We have a freshman class of wide receivers coming in that is one of the best in the nation. David Bell (4*), Milton Wright (4*), Mershawn Rice (4*) and T.J. Sheffield (3*). In reality, all of these guys can play right away, but, are they ready to step in and make an impact like Rondale did?
None will be as productive as Rondale, but certainly, they can play for us. All four wide receivers are talented enough to play anywhere in the nation, now they get to play in a pass first air raid offense. Coach Shephard likes to use many wide receivers and keep everyone fresh, so it is feasible to think that these four will play, but, there are also players in front of these guys they will have to beat out.
With the graduation of Isaac Zico and Terry Wright, there are two holes. The Benaiah Franklin transferring, along with Tyler Hamiton, depth has started to work itself out a bit. Here are my predictions for the following freshmen wide receivers I listed above.
David Bell - 6’2”, 190 Pounds, Indianapolis, Indiana, 4*
Senior Season Stats: 85 Catches, 1542 Yards, 22 Touchdowns (Maxpreps)
2019 Prediction: 45 Catches, 630 Yards, 7 Touchdowns
Why: I think David is the most ready to come in and play of these four wide receivers. I also believe that getting immediate playing time may have had an impact on his decision, as well as our high flying offense. David has a chance to score on any given play. He will be a focal point of the offense for the outside receiver position. We also will have Sindelar under center this upcoming season and he loves the deep ball.
Milton Wright - 6’3”, 190 Pounds, Louisville, Kentucky, 4*
Senior Season Stats: 49 Catches, 702 Yards, 8 Touchdowns (Maxpreps)
2019 Prediction: 25 Catches, 400 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
Why: I could easily see Milton Wright having a season just as good as Bell listed above. Milton is also a threat to score on any play, but I just see David as a little more refined at this point. Milton has top end speed to get behind the defenses on any play as well.
Mershawn Rice - 6’2”, 185 Pounds, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, 4*
Senior Season Stats: 22 Catches, 462 Yards, 5 Touchdowns (Maxpreps 8 Games)
2019 Prediction: 15 Catches, 225 Yards, 2 Touchdowns
Why: Mershawn is kind of a wild card for me. He played both offense and defense in high school, but he still averaged about 20 yards per catch. Rice may need a year to practice and become a full time wide receiver, after splitting time during his high school career. Rice, if he does play, will still catch balls in this offense.
T.J. Sheffield - 5’10, 170 Pounds, Thompsons Station, Tennessee, 3*
Senior Season Stats: 75 Catches, 1550 Yards, 16 Touchdowns (Maxpreps)
2019 Prediction: 24 Catches, 240 Yards, 2 Touchdowns
Why: I can see Jackson Anthrop playing more outside wide receiver this year, especially early on in the season. Sheffield is probably shorter and 5’10”, but definitely is about 175 pounds. This isn’t Rondale Moore 175 or 180 Pounds, he could put some muscle on. Sheffield will be a nice spell slot receiver for Rondale when he needs a break, as he has such high usage.
Yes, I can see all four of these guys playing. But, at the same time, I can see two of the four redshirting. We are deep at wide receiver now, with a solid class last year and an even better class this year
Over the course of the of the next 4 years we will have one of the most explosive offenses in the Big Ten, being lead by Rondale for three seasons and this class for four seasons. I am looking forward to watching this group grow into the best group of wide outs in the B1G.