CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Southern Sports Information Department is providing a position-by-position preview of the Buccaneers' 2017 squad. In today's edition, we take a look at the wide receivers and tight ends.
Other Returners (WR): Kenny Dinkins
Lost (WR): Larry Jones III, Colton Korn, Chris Jenkins, Austin Talbott, Jared Scotland
Lost (TE): Stephen Cagle
Three Things from the CSU Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
"No block, no rock"
The mantra for the Bucs' wide receivers is simple according to first-year coach Mike DeTerlizzi, a former player and graduate assistant at CSU.
"The whole theme is no block, no rock," DeTerlizzi said. "That's one thing that we're preaching from day one. Those guys have bought into it and know what to expect. They know they have to sell out on the perimeter for the team in order to be successful."
In CSU's variation of the triple option, the role of blocking often takes precedence over catching the football. Although CSU throws it more than many other conventional triple option teams, at least 66 percent of their plays each of the last four years have come on the ground. Following the graduation of seasoned wideouts like Colton Korn, Larry Jones III and Chris Jenkins, the group's ability to embrace the importance of that role will be key if CSU is to stay among the nation's best rushing offenses.
Expanded role for Wall
One player who could play a breakout role for CSU in 2017 is speedy sophomore Geoffrey Wall. Wall is slated to start at slot receiver and his versatility could make him a big factor in both the passing and running games. Following the graduation of home run hitter Mike Holloway, the program's all-time leading rusher, Wall's burst gives him a chance to be a big-play threat.
"Geo Wall has had an outstanding camp so far," DeTerlizzi said. "I'm really impressed by what he's been able to do and what he brings to the offense as far as the pitch game goes too. He's very explosive, catches the ball well, understands the game and is a tremendous asset on special teams. You're talking about a guy that probably won't come off the field a whole lot."
Athletic tight ends with chance to bring added dimension
Now redshirt sophomores, Travay Hatten and Qua-Vonn Scott are back at tight end after showing promise during the back half of 2016. Along with John Chiramonte Jr., a transfer from Air Force Prep who participated in spring practice, the Bucs' tight ends on the whole are an athletic group capable of catching the football. Hatten caught two touchdown passes last season, while Scott tallied three receptions after working his way into the fold.
"They spend a lot of time in the box working with the offensive line but all three of them have the ability to run well enough to the point where we can incorporate them in the passing game," DeTerlizzi said. "Coach (Charlie) Skalaski's done a great job with bringing them along because there's a lot expected from them in the triple option based off alignment."
Player Spotlight – Kameron Brown
Kameron Brown stood out in practice as a redshirt player in 2015 and translated that to the game field with a big freshman season in 2016. He quickly emerged as CSU's number one receiver, hauling in three key first down catches in the near upset of North Dakota State. Brown was named to the All-Big South Conference Second Team after ranking fifth nationally in average yards per catch (20.0 ypc). He led CSU with 27 catches for 540 yards and six touchdowns. The focus this year is on continuing to develop his overall package.
"He's been positive and is a very team first guy," DeTerlizzi said. "Understanding the ins and outs of the position is big for him. They're little things that he has to pick up on and improve, rather than just going out there and using his size and speed, if he has aspirations to go on to the next level."
"It really hasn't hit me yet. It's awesome to be back at my alma mater. Obviously, the relationships are huge because some of the guys that are seniors now were here as freshmen my last year as a G.A. – guys like Bobby (Ruff) and Zane (Cruz). It's good to see guys then and now and see their growth. I'm enjoying it a lot and wouldn't want to be any place else but here." – Wide receivers coach Mike DeTerlizzi (CSU Class of 2013, 2014 (M.B.A)) on returning to CSU as a full-time coach
89 – Number of catches by Colton Korn across 45 games over the last four seasons. More importantly, many of those grabs turned third downs into first downs. Korn was a reliable, go-to target in the Bucs' offense from the first game of his freshman season. Replacing his production and leadership will be a challenge.
5 – Kameron Brown ranked fifth in the nation in yards per catch last season, averaging 20 yards per reception. Thirteen of Brown's 27 grabs went for 20 yards or more.
80 – The return of number 80, redshirt senior Kenny Dinkins, could be a big help for the Bucs' offense. After missing all of 2016, Dinkins will look to build on a big end to 2015. He made 17 of his 18 catches and scored all four of his touchdowns over the last seven games of that campaign. Included in that stretch was a six-catch, 114-yard, two TD performance against Liberty.
CSU hit the practice field again this morning in preparation for its second scrimmage of fall camp, which is slated for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.