Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Thomas Duarte (18) catches pass for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2013 Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Projecting The Depth Chart: Receivers


Last season, the UCLA passing game was decent under the leadership of Quarterback Brett Hundley and now-New York Jet, Shaquelle Evans. Evans was the go-to receiver, but not the only receiver they would go to as the Bruins completed passes to 8 or more receivers in ten games last year (16 receivers caught a ball vs New Mexico State). Despite spreading it around, UCLA was only 7th best team in the Pac-12 in receiving offense with 251.5 yards a game (Oregon State was first with 372.6 for comparison). That should change next fall as the Bruins have not just reloaded with receivers, they stocked up on them.

Here is the GJB projected depth chart for the Bruin receivers:

Receivers
X/Slot Z/Flanker Y/Tight End F-Back/WR
 Devin Fuller Devin Lucien Thomas Duarte Jordan Payton
 Kenneth Walker  Eldridge Massington Tyler Scott  Mossi Johnson
 Darren Andrews Jordan Lasley* Alex Van Dyke*
Austin Roberts* Logan Sweet Jalen Ortiz
Ahmaad Harris Zach Hernandez Andrew Huusfeldt
Sam Handler

 

*incoming freshmen, possible redshirt

The Big Guns

Fuller and Payton had the most receiving yards out of all the returners from last season. Fuller averaged 39.2 ypg with a total of 471 while Payton averaged 33.8 for 440 total yards. Although, the Bruin with the highest average per carry is Lucien who had 17.8. These are the three that will most likely see the majority of balls thrown to them next season. Add to that the big tight end Duarte, who came up big for the Bruins several times last season, and this is one dangerous group of receivers.

Nov 15, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Devin Lucien (15) runs past Washington Huskies linebacker Princeton Fuimaono (37) during the game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 15, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Devin Lucien (15) runs past Washington Huskies linebacker Princeton Fuimaono (37) during the game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Up-And-Comers

Walker, Massington and Johnson were being talked about all Spring Practice. We were even hearing about Massington before Spring ball began, as he is suppose to be the fastest receiver on the team. Walker has some great athleticism and could be a viable threat for UCLA. With that, add someone Hundley said was his favorite target, which is Johnson, and you have a recipe for pain. Every football team’s receiving corps should be deep, but not many are as deep and talented as these Bruins. But that is not all, UCLA has some height coming in the fall.

Incoming Freshmen

The Bruins instantly added some height with their latest recruiting class as Lasley (6’2″), Roberts (6’2′) and Van Dyke (6’4″) look to be serious threats against smaller corners, but will they be ready for fall? They were added to this projected depth chart only with the possibility that they would not redshirt (which is still undetermined and unlikely for all of them). These three are talented and could impress from day one, but have to really be something to surpass some of the names we have already mentioned. Still, they do have some talent as Lasley was a 3-star in high school while Roberts and Van Dyke were rated 4-stars, so watch for them in the fall.

The Back-Up Corps

The Bruin back-ups have a lot of game experience between them, but will mostly likely fill-in when needed or more likely, see time on special teams. Ortiz played in every game last season as both receiver and on special teams, while Andrews, Hernandez and Sweet only had 17 games appearances between them. Among all four, no one caught more than four passes last season. Handler, Harris, Huusfeldt and Scott will most likely have a similar role to that this year, if not on special or scout teams.

The Plan

With a Heisman hopeful behind center, it seems to be a safe bet that UCLA will air it out next season. They are deep with receivers but also look to add more to their passing game. In Spring it was revealed that Fullback Nate Iese will figure more into the passing game and less on blocking. On top of that, returning running backs Jordan James, Steven Manfro and Paul Perkins all had receptions last year, so the options continue for Hundley. Even Defensive End Eddie Vanderdoes caught a pass, just to make it interesting. The point is, UCLA will be dangerous through the air next season. Just like their running game, which we detailed in Projecting The Depth Chart: Running Backs, Fullbacks, the Bruins will have an unlimited amount of talent available for receptions. This is has not been something UCLA has been rich with lately, so look for them to be utilizing a plethora of schemes and formations that will blow your minds, Bruin fans.

Before we end, let us take a quick look at the receiver roster.

WR Roster
Name Number Height Weight Year
Darren Andrews  4 5’10″ 190 lbs. So.
 Thomas Duarte  18 6’3″ 225 lbs. So.
 Devin Fuller  7 6’0″ 198 lbs. Jr.
 Sam Handler  32 5’10″ 193 lbs. R-So.
 Ahmaad Harris  26 5’6″ 150 lbs. R-So.
 Zach Hernandez  19 6’1″ 180 lbs. R-So.
 Andrew Huusfeldt  25 6’1″ 185 lbs. Jr.
 Mossi Johnson  14 6’0″ 185 lbs. Fr.
Jordan Lasley  —  6’2″ 180 lbs. Fr.
Devin Lucien  15 6’1″ 200 lbs. R-Jr.
Eldridge Massington  82 6’3″ 210 lbs. R-Fr.
Jalen Ortiz  8 5’9″ 180 lbs. So.
Jordan Payton 9 6’1″ 215 lbs. Jr.
Austin Roberts  —  6’2″ 221 lbs. Fr.
Tyler Scott  81 6’3″ 220 lbs. R-Jr.
 Logan Sweet  86 6’0″ 198 lbs. R-Jr.
 Alex Van Dyke  —  6’4″ 210 lbs. Fr.
 Kenneth Walker  10 5’10″ 180 lbs. R-So.

 

NEXT EPISODE: Offensive Line

Mike W.R.

Twitter: @TheBigDisco

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