The inconsistency at wide receiver has not held the Auburn football team back thanks to a strong running game, but with inexperience at tailback this season, the wideout corps will need to make a stronger impact in 2012.
Emory Blake returns to the field after being the all-star player at wideout. The senior’s 2011 totals–36 receptions for 613 yards and five scores–may not seem like much, but compared to the other receivers he appears as an All-American. With new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler installing an offense that will provide a more pro-style than the Tigers’ previous spread attack, it is not clear how often receivers will be distributed the ball.
Trovon Reed and Quan Bray likely have the most potential to produce for Coach Gene Chizik. Reed’s 21 catches for 164 yards was the highest total of receptions for the group behind Blake. Bray’s 17 receptions for 93 yards followed Reed. Neither scored a touchdown last year. Both sophomore punt returners, Reed and Bray have the athleticism to be productive through the air and running the ball.
Travante Stallworth is another option for the chosen starting quarterback to use in the pass attack. The senior recorded 13 catches for a second-best 214 yards and one touchdown. Despite not being proven yet, Stallworth said during summer workouts he will have his best year in the fall.
Another unproven senior receiver is DeAngelo Benton. He has only recorded 13 catches for 244 yards and one touchdown combined in his three years as a Tiger after being named a Parade All-American his senior year in high school. After being a key figure in the tragic June shooting in Auburn, Benton may have more on his mind than football as the season approaches.
Additional potential threats may come in Sammie Coates, Jaylon Denson and Ricardo Louis. Coates missed the entire 2011 season after being injured close to a year ago. The redshirt freshman attended high school with quarterback Clint Moseley, which could make a difference if he is named the starter.
Denson only played on special teams last season, but won praise from coaches during spring drills. Louis, an incoming freshman, has already created a buzz of playing well on the field, which may transition into more playing time. Auburn may have another addition, JaQuay Williams, who is currently attempting to get cleared by the NCAA.