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Projecting the Depth Chart: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Who is going to be catching passes for the Bearcats?

Cincinnati v Purdue Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

We’ve talked a lot about wide receivers and tight ends this week. Its a group that is both filled with proven talent and a number of guys that are still itching to put their stamp on Cincinnati Bearcats football. While the exact tone of Mike Denbrock’s offense has yet to be fully revealed, there’s no question that this group of receivers is going to be expected to be more productive and more dynamic than it was a year ago when three wideouts essentially accounted for the bulk of production. With two of those receivers back in the fold, the Bearcats are starting from a good point, but how will the rest of the unit fit in?

Definite Starters

Devin Gray, WR

All Gray did in his first season as a Bearcat was lead the team in receptions (58) and receiving yards (860) so, yeah, I think he’s going to win a starting job.

Kahlil Lewis, WR

One big game against East Carolina was all it took to signal that Lewis is ready to be a go-to option. Last year he had five touchdown receptions, which tied for the team lead, and I expect that, like all of his numbers, to increase in 2017.

Position Battles

It may seem odd that I didn’t put Tyler Cogswell in as a definite starter at tight end. However, although the senior is a big target (6’5”, 248 pounds), he hasn’t shown much as a receiver in his time with the Bearcats. Last year he had all of two catches and he has a total of seven in his career. As I’ve noted before, Denbrock has made a habit of developing talented tight ends who do a lot for the passing game. That’s why I think Josiah Deguara has an outside shot at becoming the starter, or at least the most utilized tight end in the offense. He led all tight ends with a massive total of FOUR WHOLE RECEPTIONS last season, accumulating all of those in the season finale against Tulsa. Perhaps that will be a launching pad for a big year.

Another interesting battle will be for the No. 3 receiver spot. We already looked into it a little bit this week, but the prevailing candidates would appear to be Thomas Geddis, Jerron Rollins, Javan Hawes, Trent Cloud, Tyrin Summers, Malick Mbodj, Marcel Paul and Braxton Neal.

Final Projection

First Team

Devin Gray, WR

Kahlil Lewis, WR

Thomas Geddis, WR

Tyler Cogswell

As much as it would be extremely interesting to see the coaching staff take some chances, playing it safe is probably the right way to go, at least to begin the season. Gray and Lewis are locked in, of course, and Cogswell has starting experience and is a solid blocker, even if he never turns into much of a pass-catcher. Meanwhile, Geddis played well in the last game against Tulsa and has some big-play pop.

Second Team

Jerron Rollins, WR

Marcel Paul, WR

Malick Mbodj, WR

Josiah Deguara, TE

Paul and Mbodj are both redshirt freshman, so they have a slight leg up on Hawes and Cloud, but I expect both of the latter two to get a chance to play during the season since Luke Fickell and his staff will probably be looking to see what exactly they’ve got in each of the incoming freshmen.