Question: Is Akron equipped with play-making wide receivers after the loss of DH and JL?
Discussion: In the span of one week last spring, the Zips' receiving corps went from tops in the conference to a severe concern. Two players left the team, and that meant the groups consisted of Jabari Arthur and a bunch of guys you probably haven't heard of. Let's begin by introducing those guys.
Stephon Fuqua was a high school teammate of Ted Ginn Jr. at Cleveland Glenville High School. He earned the starting job next to Arthur this fall. He ranked sixth in his senior class academically and only played one year of high school football. That potential made it clear why J.D. Brookhart took a risk on him in his first recruiting class.
The backups, however, I thought performed better in camp. Brandon Williams is a junior from Tampa who chose the Zips over Duke and Iowa State. He excels in making tacklers miss with his moves. He has played parts of three games during his time with the team. Another receiver likely to receive time is Alphonso Owen, who transferred from Malone College, where he was a star. He seems like he could be a good deep threat.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. The team has warm bodies. So what? Can they fill in for their departed teammates?
Answer: My inclination is to say yes. Throughout recent team history, talent has filled in for talent at wide receiver. Before Charlie Frye's senior season, the team needed to replace several receivers. They found Domenik Hixon. When Hixon left, DH and JL showed up. Now that they're gone, someone else should step in. Mid-majors typically are successful in recruiting wide receivers.
Each of the receivers has shown flashes of being an above-average MAC performer. Combine that with Arthur, whose physical presence and speed could make him an NFL draft pick, and the receiving corps looks significantly better than at the beginning of August.