clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Decoding Florida Atlantic's Wide Receiver Needs

While a quarterback battle plays out for the Owls, their biggest question may be of who will be catching their passes.

With Jenson Stoshak moving on to the NFL, the Owls need to find a new wide receiver to shoulder the pass-catching load.
With Jenson Stoshak moving on to the NFL, the Owls need to find a new wide receiver to shoulder the pass-catching load.
Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of spring practice and into fall training camp, most Florida Atlantic fans seem to have the quarterback battle between Daniel Parr and Jason Driskel as the primary storyline they want resolved on offense. But, the question of who will be catching those passes may be way more important than who's throwing them.

Jenson Stoshak was the lone senior receiver to make a huge impact last season, leading the team with 57 catches and 820 receiving yards. With Stoshak on his way out to the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent, FAU is now left without a clear replacement.

In terms of returning talent, Kamirin Solomon seems like the most likely candidate to take that top spot. The junior caught 22 passes for 382 yards and two touchdowns last year, setting himself for a chance as the top receiver during camp.

Returning with Solomon will be resident deep threat Kalib Woods, receiver-turned-tight-end-turned-back-to-a-receiver Nate Terry, second-year graduate transfer Tyler Cameron, and flexible dual-threats Henry Bussey and Marcus Clark.

Terry led all eligible pass catchers with four touchdown receptions, becoming a favorite red zone target for both Driskel and Jaquez Johnson. Returning back to receiver could allow him to receive even more passes, especially on exterior routes he didn't get while lining up as a tight end.

Cameron should take Terry's role as a pass-catching tight end, giving him a chance to improve upon the 257 yards he had in his first year at FAU.

Catching most of his passes on the sideline, Kalib Woods has the potential to take another step in his development into a vertical pass weapon. Finishing with three touchdowns and 330 yards in his sophomore year, his combination of height and speed make for a great deep threat option.

Both Bussey and Clark were receiving threats out of the backfield, with Bussey also running routes in the center of the field. Neither player will be the number one wideout, but both will help open up a pass game that lost its momentum at times last season.

Checking out the freshmen, previously redshirted players James Brunson, Ladante Harris, and J'Quan Napier headline a group that could see chances as the season allows for them to be slotted in. Three-star recruit John Mitchell or two-star Antonio Hadden could also battle for a spot among the freshman with a good fall camp.

With all the receiving depth the Owls have, their biggest problem in all of this may be how they spread the ball around. Stoshak caught 26.7 percent of FAU's 206 total receptions, beating out the next closest player (Henry Bussey, 14.1 percent) by 12 percent.

That kind of difference in target frequency causes major problems for any team, especially if a receiver is outed as your safety blanket and put in heavy coverage because of the numbers.

Developing a faster offense with the help of new coordinator Travis Trickett is a good point to start making changes to how the ball is moved. A constant switch in what receiver is the top man would be a tough but fulfilling adjustment to make for the Owls.

If anything, head coach Charlie Partridge can count on the unknown to protect his plans. If he can get his quarterbacks to spread the ball among receivers in this almost socialistic system, the Owls offense could be at its best for the first time in a long time.