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2020 Tulane Position Preview: Wide Receivers

Tulane’s wideouts saw a big name leave this spring but they also saw a big name come in.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 Oklahoma at Kansas State Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s already been a big year for Green Wave wideouts as the school finally had one of its receivers get their name called in the NFL Draft. When Darnell Mooney was selected by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round of the draft back in April, Tulane fans had to be excited. Not since Ryan Grant in 2014 was a Green Wave receiver ushered into the pros via the draft. And what made Mooney’s selection even sweeter? The fact that the Wave had already found his replacement three months prior.

Enter Mykel Jones. If that name sounds vaguely familiar to our P5 audience, it should. Jones came over via the grad transfer route from Oklahoma earlier this offseason and garnered some well-deserved buzz down on Burbon Street.

Jones, having played in 37 games with the Sooners, has mustered up nearly 500 receiving yards and a touchdown. That may not sound like much for four years but let’s remember, he did that in the shadows of guys like CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown. You’ve got to believe that now with Tulane he will finally get a chance to really shine in his fifth and final season of eligibility.

Baylor v Oklahoma
Mykel Jones evades defenders in a 2016 contest against Baylor.
Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

The 5-11, 190 lb Jones was a four star recruit coming out of high school and had offers from LSU, Alabama, USC and Texas. His joining the Wave comes as a huge source of relief for a team that not only saw Mooney leave last season but also saw another dynamic grad transfer, Jalen McCleskey, depart as well. We fully expect Jones to jump into a starting role this season and see some big time action.

Helping Jones fill the void this year will undoubtedly be Jaetavian Toles. The senior may only have 231 yards and two touchdowns under his belt as of now, but he will see a majorly increased role this fall. Toles had 13 receptions last season and averaged 12.3 yards per catch. With his 6-ft, 180 lb frame on the outside with Jones, Tulane has the potential to be dangerous through the air.

Jones is not the only newcomer to the Green Wave’s receiving corps. A pair of brothers, Phat and Deuce Watts, join the team from the junior college ranks. The duo made their way to New Orleans from Jones County where Deuce led the team with 24 receptions for 416 yards last season. His efforts earned him Second-Team All-MACJC honors. Phat also comes in with solid experience, logging 13 catches for 115 yards in the 2019. He returned three kicks for a total of 75 yards as well.

The twins seem poised to make a splash in this their junior year and first at the FBS level. Phat could easily some special teams action as well as a fair number of offensive snaps while Deuce has the feel of a guy who could land himself a semi-secure role on the outside. Keep a close eye on these siblings.

Despite all the new faces, Tulane has several returning pass catchers as well. Jacob Robertson Jr. and Jha’Quan Jackson are among them. Robertson, entering his senior season, has 24 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown. He played in 11 of the team’s 13 games last fall, the most in any single season in his career so far. Fritz has used Robertson in more of a complimentary role up until now and we expect more of the same in 2020. That being said, Fritz and OC Will Hall could easily draw up a play or two with wrinkles directed for Robertson specifically.

Tulane v Cincinnati
Jacob Robertson Jr. currently averages 9.3 yards per catch during his career at Tulane.

Then there’s Jackson. The sophomore nabbed just two catches for 31 yards and a score in 2019 but that doesn’t mean he too won’t see an improved 2020. Coming out of high school, Jackson was pegged as a three-star recruit and ranked 40th in the state of Louisiana according to Rivals. Along with acquiring offers from four other AAC schools (Houston, Navy, SMU and Memphis), Jackson also received some big-time offers from West Virginia and Kentucky.

Tulane is very exciting at receiver for years down the road due to the overwhelming amount of youth at the position. Another sophomore that we anticipate will see more action in 2020 is Tyrek Presley. As a freshman last year, Presley hauled in three catches for 55 yards (all in the Wave’s blowout win over UConn). The 6-foot-2, 190lb Presley was a three-star recruit who also had P5 offers that he turned down for Tulane.

Dane Ledford and Sorrell Brown will be two more redshirt sophomores to remember even if they don’t see much time this year. Ledford actually dipped his toes in at quarterback but recently switched back over to receiver. The injury-plagued Brown has yet to see any game time with the Wave.

Other receivers currently on the Green Wave’s roster are Jorien Vallien (four career receptions for 23 yards), Ryan Thompson (five game appearances), Nick Toppino (no game time) and Kevin LeDee (no game time). These guys will most likely have a limited role this season.

Our Depth Chart Prediction:

WR 1 - Mykel Jones, Jaetavian Toles, Jacob Robertson Jr.

WR 2 - Jha’Quan Jackson, Phat Watts, Deuce Watts

WR 3/4 - Tyrek Presley, Jorien Vallien, Ryan Thompson

Reserves - Dane Ledford, Sorrell Brown, Nick Toppino, Kevin LeDee