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Cal Football

Cal 2018 Football Position Analysis - The Wide Receivers

February 23, 2018
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Cal 2018 Post Recruiting Class Position Group Analysis

With recruiting season over and spring practice about to begin, the 2018 Spring football roster has been released.  Based on conversations with the staff, outside football experts and in depth film review, Bear Insider will present a position-by-position analysis over the next few weeks

Previous Analysis Here:  Offensive Line  Defensive Line  Linebackers

Wide Receivers:

Projected Starting Lineup:

WR (X) – Demetris Robertson, 6-0, 185, RS Sophomore

WR (F) – Kanawai Noa, 6-0, 180, RS Junior

WR (Z) – Vic Wharton III, 5-11, 190, RS Senior

Top Reserves:

Melquise Stovall, 5-9, 190, RS Sophomore

Jordan Duncan, 6-1, 205, Junior

Brandon Singleton, 6-0, 165, RS Junior

Greyson Bankhead, 6-0, 170, RS Sophomore

Jeremiah Hawkins, 5-8, 180, Sophomore

Taariq Johnson, 6-2, 220, RS Freshman

One of the deeper position groups on the team, the Wide Receiver corps was also snake-bitten with injuries in 2017.

Discussion from...

Cal 2018 Football Position Analysis - The Wide Receivers

going4roses
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Need to cut down the # of drops
kelly09
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How, do you think, this group stacks up to whate we have had in the last ten years?
killa22
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TBH, little triggered by the statement that Noa and Wharton arent #1 WR material.

Any time you return a 900/800 yard duo that's a good thing. Can't argue with that production, and you are looking at an outside guy in Vic and a inside guy in Kanawai which gives you even more versatility from a scheme matchup standpoint.

Let's not forget that Kanawai broke the rotation on the outside with guys like Lawler, Davis, and Harris he got some playing time in ahead of even Chad Hansen. Spav moved him in inside, and he stayed there with Baldwin. IMO, he's a good outside guy too. Same with Vic, he could play inside as well. Nice to have that versatility there.

Melquise and Demetris bring a different level of athleticism, for sure and that dynamic will only serve to further compliment the passing game.

I do think that Baldwin maybe should not try to feature Demetris as much as he did from the get go on gadget type plays seemed like unnecessary physical attrition.

Interesting to see what Taariq brings to the table, heard good things about him.

An extra season should bring some additional experience and maturity to a guy like Hawkins who can fill in and give a similar skill set to what Melquise offers.
Big C
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Interesting that there are not too many taller guys (or "bigger", for that matter). Noa sort of plays tall, though, the way he goes after the ball.

A pretty good group, but we need seasons from Robertson and Stovall. If that happens, it could be a very good group and, if Bowers remains as starting QB, he suddenly seems better too.
BearGreg
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Staff
killa22 said:

TBH, little triggered by the statement that Noa and Wharton arent #1 WR material.

Any time you return a 900/800 yard duo that's a good thing. Can't argue with that production, and you are looking at an outside guy in Vic and a inside guy in Kanawai which gives you even more versatility from a scheme matchup standpoint.

Let's not forget that Kanawai broke the rotation on the outside with guys like Lawler, Davis, and Harris he got some playing time in ahead of even Chad Hansen. Spav moved him in inside, and he stayed there with Baldwin. IMO, he's a good outside guy too. Same with Vic, he could play inside as well. Nice to have that versatility there.

Melquise and Demetris bring a different level of athleticism, for sure and that dynamic will only serve to further compliment the passing game.

I do think that Baldwin maybe should not try to feature Demetris as much as he did from the get go on gadget type plays seemed like unnecessary physical attrition.

Interesting to see what Taariq brings to the table, heard good things about him.

An extra season should bring some additional experience and maturity to a guy like Hawkins who can fill in and give a similar skill set to what Melquise offers.
What we saw last year was Noa and Wharton struggling to consistently get open when defenses looked to pay extra attention to them. No knock on Kanawai, he's just not the big/athletic target that wins 50/50 battles nor the blazer who can take the top off defenses. He can and will likely be an exceptional receiver for us this year and next. Ditto for Wharton in his senior year.

The definition we have for a #1 receiver is a player who can consistently produce even when defenses are designed to take them out. Lawler and Hansen were that for the Bears. Robertson has a good chance to be that as well.
BearGreg
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Staff
kelly09 said:

How, do you think, this group stacks up to whate we have had in the last ten years?
I think the overall level of athleticism is below that of Treggs, Powe, Harris, Harper and Lawler. However, I believe in Noa, we have a better route runner than any of the above and a guy who will kill it as a #2 option. Wharton's very well rounded and arguably already a better college player than Harris or Powe ever were. Robertson has a chance to be better than any of that group. Then you add in the reserves and the net is this can be as good a WR corps as Cal has had in a long time.

If the OL protects and our QBs perform well, this group will be a handful.
going4roses
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Hmm @ better route runner than treggs? Think so ?
killa22
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Good points, I would actually argue that Kenny Lawler was not as much of a #1 as Chad was, and likely that the only true #1 type guy we have had in recent years was Keenan.

We've had speed guys like Trevor Davis, Jeremy Ross, which commanded matchups, but no true real #1 type dudes. Not many programs get those true #1 type guys, Bama for example hasn't had a #1 since Amari Cooper. Don't think Oregon has really had a #1 guy since maybe Jaison Williams, and even he underperformed. Carrington was one of the better ones but he wasn't a #1 either, same with Maehl and Huff.

Not sure if I'd even call John Ross a #1 in that sense either.

UCLA's last dude would've been Jordan Payton.

NKeal Harry is probably the only true #1 that I can think of in the PAC-12 right now, and even then he didn't have crazy production.

Even with SC you'd have to go as far back as maybe Marquise Lee to find a quasi #1, well maybe JuJu was sort of close but he wasn't ultra scary, and neither was Agholor IMO either.
killa22
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going4roses said:

Hmm @ better route runner than treggs? Think so ?


If you go back and dissect Treggs game he got a ton of production out of vertical routes out of the slot, mismatched on slower safeties and at times linebackers. Did some nice stemming and stacking, but a lot of that was due to raw speed.

He was quite hampered by foot issues his senior season, so that also factored in too. But Treggs had legit speed.

That 2015 WR Corp was diverse, speed at X and H with Treggs and Davis, physicality at Y with Anderson and Powe.

Harris with a physical presence at Z, along with Lawler as a isolation target. With some occasional contributions from Hansen Noa and Hudson. One of the more balanced groups we've had in years.

Next year looks to echo that to an extent Demetris and Stovall compare to Davis and Treggs in a sense, although possibly less refined but more versatile. You have some physicality at slot with Noa, and Wharton is a reliable target on the outside as well. If Taariq can fill in on a similar role as say Maurice did, and if we can get production out of Hawkins and Hudson too, then next years group could be another special one.
YamhillBear
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Has there been any word out about how Demetris' rehab is coming along?
MoragaBear
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Staff
Asked about him at the LOI day donor event. He's coming along well. Don't know if or how much they'll use him in spring ball but he's due to be back for sure for the season.
flounder
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Calvin Ridley?
wifeisafurd
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BearGreg said:

kelly09 said:

How, do you think, this group stacks up to whate we have had in the last ten years?
I think the overall level of athleticism is below that of Treggs, Powe, Harris, Harper and Lawler. However, I believe in Noa, we have a better route runner than any of the above and a guy who will kill it as a #2 option. Wharton's very well rounded and arguably already a better college player than Harris or Powe ever were. Robertson has a chance to be better than any of that group. Then you add in the reserves and the net is this can be as good a WR corps as Cal has had in a long time.

If the OL protects and our QBs perform well, this group will be a handful.
Begs the question as to what is the offensive identity? By the end of last year, Cal was a running team, that could also throw short passes, but not hurt you long. But with the WRs healthy, does Baldwin select Garbers who teared it up on the taxi squad and apparently has the arm to spread the field, go to a running QB with the transfer, and have a run base offense with big passes as a change of pace, or stick with a hopefully more accurate and maturing Bowers and try to just perfect last year's offense? At least a strong WR corp and Laird give Baldwin choices behind a study oline. But how the WRs are used could depend on who wins the open QB competition.
going4roses
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Is Brandon playing baseball this spring?
Goobear
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going4roses said:

Is Brandon playing baseball this spring?
No
going4roses
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Ok thanks
ddc_Cal
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"Let's not forget that Kanawai broke the rotation on the outside with guys like Lawler, Davis, and Harris he got some playing time in ahead of even Chad Hansen. Spav moved him in inside, and he stayed there with Baldwin. IMO, he's a good outside guy too. Same with Vic, he could play inside as well. Nice to have that versatility there."

One thing I don't like about how Noa is used is how much punishment he absorbs. The combination of his fearless attitude and the routes he is asked to run seems to lead to his getting big hits.

Any chance for some modifications there?
killa22
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That's the nature of the slot position as utilized last year, unfortunately.

I personally feel it (the slot positions) would be better served in a classic Run and Shoot / Air raid sense. Passes to open space for YAC as opposed to window seam shots lasered into traffic for kill blows.

Kanawai got used more as a Tight End in a sense than a slot, kind of a rough analogy to grasp, but he essentially filled a Stephen Andersen type role in terms of the types of plays that he was asked to make on third down especially.

If we have Hudson to supplement that, the body of his work could be shifted elsewhere for an overall net gain. But let's face it, he was the most consistent threat on chain moving type situations that opened him up for some serious shots.

He took some crazy hits against Oregon.
Ncsf
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going4roses said:

GHmm @ better route runner than treggs? Think so ?
Treggs was a GREAT route runner. I'm with you.
going4roses
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Noa is a baller.
365Bear
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If we're all looking forward to DR stretching the defenses, somebody's got to drop the dimes. Which qb can do it?
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