Transfers to watch: wide receivers

After looking at some of the quarterback and running back transfers ready to debut in the fall with their new teams, today the National Football Post looks at some of the notable wide receiver transfers who will be looking to make an impact in 2010 for a school they did not originally enroll in.

Wide receivers

Brodrick Smith, Kansas State: With the losses of Brandon Banks, Jeron Mastrud, Attrail Snipes and Lamark Brown, Kansas State was desperate for wide receiver help in 2010. As he displayed in the team’s spring game, sophomore Brodrick Smith has as good a chance as anyone to become senior quarterback Carson Coffman’s go-to guy. The 6-2 Minnesota transfer and Kansas native caught 12 passes for 167 yards and four touchdowns in the Wildcats’ spring showcase and showed head coach Bill Snyder that he is ready to ease concerns about a perceived undermanned unit. With senior Aubrey Quarles recovered from an injury that cost him the entire 2009 season, the receiving corps may actually turn out to be strength of the team. Coffman looks more focused than ever under center, and with the Wildcats chucking the rock all over the field, expect big points to be put on the board in Manhattan on Saturday afternoons. Also keep an eye on 6-3 Oregon transfer Chris Harper, a former intriguing quarterback prospect who will be competing for snaps at slot receiver.

Stats at Minnesota:

2008: 5 catches for 50 yards and 1 TD.

Toney Clemons, Colorado: The Michigan transfer impressed everyone around the Colorado program this spring after expectations were raised once he arrived in Boulder. He finished spring drills by catching four passes for 33 yards in the team’s spring game, and many believe he has the size and speed to be an impact performer as the Buffaloes look to energize a terrible offense from 2009. He won’t be expected to turn things around by himself, however, as last year’s leading receiver Scotty McKnight and Markques Simas will also be effective in the passing game — if either quarterback Cody Hawkins or Tyler Hansen can stand upright behind a shoddy offensive line and at least be consistent from week to week. But the 6-2, 210-pound Clemons seems to be the real deal, especially because he is still learning the nuances of being a receiver. His production could soar as the season progresses.</p>

Stats at Michigan:

2007: 1 catch for 5 yards and 0 TDs.
2008: 11 catches for 101 yards and 0 TDs.

Vidal Hazelton, Cincinnati: Despite losing quarterback Tony Pike and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard to the NFL, the Cincinnati Bearcats will score points in 2010. New head coach Butch Jones inherits a loaded receiving corps led by Armon Binns and D.J. Woods. But keep an eye on USC transfer Vidal Hazelton, who had four catches for 88 yards and a score in the Bearcats’ spring game. Hazelton was one of the top receiver recruits in the country coming out of high school and led the Trojans in receiving yards during his sophomore season. Even if he is the third wideout in Jones’ spread offense, Hazelton will see the football coming his way often enough to make an impact in the Big East.

Stats at USC:

2006: 1 catch for 8 yards and 0 TD.
2007: 50 catches for 540 yards and 4 TDs.
2008: 6 catches for 38 yards and 0 TD.

Josh Smith, UCLA: UCLA has depth at wide receiver, led by Nelson Rosario and Taylor Embree, but the most under-the-radar wideout for the Bruins may be Colorado transfer Josh Smith. Head coach Rick Neuheisel and coordinator Norm Chow are implementing a new “revolver” portion of the offense, which is borrowed from Nevada’s “pistol” offense, so Smith could have an immediate impact because he is an electric athlete and could benefit from the misdirection that is created by the new formation. He was banged up this spring with a knee injury, but the expectation is that the 6-foot, 180-pounder is ready to log a good deal of playing time in the fall if healthy.

Stats at Colorado:

2007: 25 catches for 491 yards and 0 TD.
2008: 29 catches for 387 yards and 3 TDs.

Aaron Pflugrad, Arizona State: Despite losing Kyle Williams and Chris McGaha, the Sun Devils are in good hands at the receiver position with Oregon transfer Aaron Pflugrad coming off a great spring and leading a solid corps in Tempe. The redshirt junior, who served on the Sun Devils’ scout team last year after transferring when his father was let go as the Ducks’ receivers coach, should thrive in new coordinator Noel Mazzone’s offense. While only 5-10 and 180 pounds, Pflugrad will become a top target for either Steven Threet or Brock Osweiler in the fall because of his sure-handedness.

Stats at Oregon:

2007: 17 catches for 168 yards and 1 TD.
2008: 6 catches for 79 yards and 0 TDs.

Jermaine McKenzie, Memphis: Jermaine McKenzie will have an opportunity to make a big impact at Memphis after playing only three games as a redshirt freshman at Miami. The Tigers lost their top two receivers and are working under a new coaching staff, which means that opportunity is there for the taking for everyone. The 6-3, 180-pounder will get to play with his twin brother, safety Tremaine, and already has Tigers fans abuzz after his 72-yard touchdown catch in the team’s spring game.

Others to watch:

Tim Molton and Ahmad Paige, Louisiana Tech: Molton is an LSU transfer and former three-sport star in high school who should be able to excel in the new spread offense for Louisiana Tech. Paige, who didn’t log much time in 2008, will join former Tennessee teammate Lennon Creer as a Bulldog and also provide another option in the passing game.

Tyler Stradford, North Texas: Stradford, an Oklahoma transfer, may struggle to find footballs thrown his way this year because North Texas returns its top six receivers. However, the Mean Green love to throw the ball, and Stradford made an impression with the scout team last season.

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