Auburn football: Projecting the Tigers' spring wide receiver depth chart

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 8, 2014 

Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates was the team's top pass-catcher last season.

MIKE HASKEY

Editor's note: Auburn's spring practice starts March 18. Some positions are set in stone. Some are up for grabs. Auburn beat writer Ryan Black has already evaluated all the personnel groupings on the team (which you can find here), but now he's paring that down even further to account for every individual position, projecting how the depth chart will look when the Tigers get back on the field for the first time since the BCS championship game. The series continues with the wide receivers.

Who's Who:

Sammie Coates, junior: 42 receptions, 902 yards, 7 touchdowns

Ricardo Louis, junior: 28 receptions, 325 yards, 2 TDs

Marcus Davis, sophomore: 23 receptions, 217 yards, TD

Quan Bray, senior: 23 receptions, 195 yards, 3 TDs

Trovon Reed, senior: Nine receptions, 98 yards

Melvin Ray, junior: Five receptions, 108 yards, TD

Tony Stevens, sophomore: Five receptions, 68 yards, TD

Jaylon Denson, senior: Three receptions, 45 yards; suffered season-ending knee injury in fourth game of 2013 season (at LSU)

Dominic Walker, redshirt freshman: Redshirted during 2013 season

D'haquille Williams: 51 receptions, 733 yards, 9 touchdowns (Numbers from past season at Mississippi Gulf Coast College)

Projected depth chart:

1. Coates

2. Ray

1. Louis

2. Bray

1. Uzomah

2. Reed

Analysis: Depending on the formation, Auburn sometimes has three (or more) receivers on the field.

That's why if you look at the team's official depth chart, it has 12 different positions listed on offense. As observant readers will note, the projection above includes only one change from the depth chart at the end of last season: Putting Louis ahead of Bray. Yes, Louis will forever be remembered for his game-winning touchdown catch against Georgia. Outside of Coates, however, he was the Tigers' most dependable receiver last season. (He also was a threat in the running game on speed sweeps and reverses.)

The position where Uzomah is the starter was held down by Denson before he suffered a season-ending knee injury against LSU. Whenever he regains his health, Denson should leap back to the top of the depth chart, as he's the best blocking receiver on the roster. Reed may or not be a receiver anymore; he posted on his Instagram account that he'd be moving to corner next season; that post was later deleted, and Gus Malzahn said no decision has been on position changes yet.

After the season Coates had in 2013, his job isn't in jeopardy. Ray only had one catch in the BCS championship game, but he made it count, going 50 yards for a touchdown to give Auburn a 14-3 early in the second quarter.

The younger receivers will get opportunities this spring as well. Stevens and Walker came in together as part of the Tigers' 2013 recruiting class, though each were still feeling their way along. Stevens dealt with a few injuries throughout the season while Walker took a redshirt.

The Tigers also have a pair of early enrollees in Williams and Stanton Truitt. The latter, a native of Monroe, Ga., is a speedster whose skill set is reminiscent of Marcus Davis.

And it's impossible to overstate Williams' potential. His talent is so immense that it would be a shock if he hasn't locked down a starting spot when the Tigers arrive for the A-Day game on April 19.

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