Lets all be honest, the receiving core at UK the past 5 years has had its ups and downs. We have had receivers come through and provide great plays, but the whole group never really seemed to have the ‘it’ factor. Last year was the first time in a long time we can all agree the receivers had some big positive impact plays in games and really provided some life. However, this year can be a huge improvement from last year. Lets look at some highlights from the final scrimmage to feel more confident about the AirRaid.
– Kentucky gets back some of the biggest impact players from last years group: Dorian Baker, Garrett Johnson “Juice”, Blake Bone, and Ryan Timmons. These four guys were very reliable in providing some big plays in the offense. Blake and Garrett were two of the stars from the scrimmage. Blake caught the first long ball of the day over his shoulder for a textbook catch, and Juice was constantly causing big play threats all over the field. With a full year under their belt look for these guys to be leaders of the receiving core.
– Add some more depth to go along with these four players and it provides a perfect mix to have a great arsenal of receivers. The scrimmage provided great playing time for some receivers who haven’t been able to prove themselves to the fans. Players like Cameron Fogle and Thaddeus Snodgrass can provide needed depth and great skill to this group. Thaddeus had two huge plays from both quarterbacks. Fogle joined the fun with a quick pass for a touchdown. As well, we all remember what a healthy Alex Montgomery can do. He wasn’t able to participate in the scrimmage, but is practicing and will be ready for the season.
–CJ Conrad is going to be that man. He was bringing the wood during the scrimmage on screen blocks and blocks out of the backfield; as well as catching anything that was thrown to him. If he caught a quick pass at 5 yards, he was putting his head down and gaining another 5 yards. He also had a beautiful one-handed catch in the deep part of the secondary. It was astounding to see how well CJ played as an early enrollee with the first string. Going through a grueling session of summer workouts and fall camp his body will be prepared for SEC play.
As you can see, this group is starting to shape out to become a group Coach Stoops and company has been working towards. They need to work on becoming more physical when catching balls in the middle, and perimeter blocking will be important in this offense. Summer sessions will help with both of those key areas. With the season still a few months’ away new names will continuously be thrown around. However, the scrimmage should get us all excited about the receivers coming through UK.