Spring Preview: Wide Receivers
March 9, 2016

The Gophers enter spring practice without record-setting receiver KJ Maye, who exhausted his eligibility last season after setting a program record for receptions by a senior with 73. The Mobile, Ala., native, who is an NFL hopeful led the team in receptions (73), receiving yards (773), touchdowns (5) and average yards per game (59.5). Maye also caught two two-point conversions last season.

With Maye moving on, the Gophers must replace their most productive receiver since Eric Decker wore the Maroon and Gold. There are a number of candidates who are ready to step up and fill those shoes.

First among them is Drew Wolitarsky. The soon-to-be senior finished second on the team last year in catches (39), yards (524) and touchdowns (3). He averaged 13.4 yards per catch, which was the best mark on the team for anyone who had more than five receptions.

Eric Carter is also returning after playing in 10 games last season. Carter had a breakout year last season, as he caught 23 passes for 255 yards and one touchdown.

True freshman Rashad Still proved he was capable of making an impact as well. The El Paso, Texas, native, who has played football for only three years, hauled in 18 balls for 194 yards and three scores. He scored his first and second career touchdowns against Michigan and Ohio State and added a last second score in the first half to help lift Minnesota to a win against Illinois.

Three other receivers – Chris Streveler, Isaiah Gentry and Melvin Holland – are the other Gopher wideouts who caught at least one pass last season.

Gentry was limited to only three games last year because of a lingering injury. He caught two passes – both against Ohio – for 36 yards on the season. Holland saw action in eight games and caught two passes for eight yards. Streveler moved from quarterback to receiver during the season and caught one pass for four yards at Purdue.

The Gophers have eight more receivers on the spring roster, but only one of them has played in a game. That would be Jeff Borchardt, who played in three games in 2014, but missed last year as he recovered from an offseason surgery. Borchardt is not participating in spring practices.

Also looking to gain additional experience in the spring will be redshirt juniors Brian Smith and Michael Conway. Neither has played in a regular season game, but both have good size at 6-4 and 6-5 respectively.

Local products redshirt sophomore Will Reger and redshirt freshman Matt Morse should also see a lot of action this spring. Both Reger and Morse played quarterback their senior year in high school before making the move to receiver with the Gophers.

Minnesota’s final three receivers on the roster are redshirt freshmen Adam Mayer and Hunter Register. Mayer, who Briean Boddy-Calhoun singled out as a Gopher to watch, redshirted last year after helping lead De La Salle High School to a 14-0 record and a state championship in California. Register is a dynamic playmaker from Lafayette, La., who showed flashes of big-pay ability in last season’s fall camp.



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