This post may contain some spoilers for Friday’s weekly look at the depth chart, but there is a big question surrounding the offense for the 2017 Cincinnati Bearcats. OK, there are a lot of questions, but since this is wide receiver week, we’ll focus on one that pertains to that positional group.
As I wrote yesterday, the Bearcats are set up very nicely at the No. 1 and No. 2 wideout spots on the roster. Last year, Devin Gray led the team with 860 yards and five touchdowns on 58 receptions and Lewis tallied 605 yards and five scores of his own while catching 48 passes. The two should be the primary targets for Hayden Moore and Ross Trail all year long.
But Gray and Lewis had a third member of their squad last season. Nate Cole caught 57 balls for 518 yards and four touchdowns. It was a fine senior year but his departure leaves a big hole on the depth chart. While the offense will definitely get an overhaul (thank goodness for that), there will need to be a third reliable receiving option next to Lewis and Gray. That is unless Mike Denbrock goes crazy and decides a triple-option attack is what’s best.
The candidates to take over for Cole are not readily apparent. No wideout on the team that hasn’t already appeared in this article had more than seven receptions last year. That brings us to Jerron Rollins and Thomas Geddis, who are the most obvious contenders for the No. 3 role. Rollins turned his seven receptions into 99 yards and a score. The 6’2” sophomore from Miami was a three-star recruit for the 2016 class and has the size and speed to be a nice compliment to Gray and Lewis. But Geddis has even more going for him. He’s a big-play threat who stands at 6’5”. He played in eight games last season and secured seven passes for 139 yards and a touchdown.
Both Geddis and Rollins ended the 2016 season in style, which means they each are building on momentum. Geddis had 104 yards and his lone score of the season in the finale against Tulsa, while Rollins’s 70-yard touchdown reception was one of the most exciting plays of the entire season.
If Denbrock and the staff decide to go with someone other than Rollins or Geddis I’d be pretty surprised. However, Javan Hawes is a freshman with a lot of promise, as is Trent Cloud.
The third most popular target might not even end up being a pure wideout, however. There is always the chance that Denbrock, who has made a living coaching talented tight ends, will make that position a central part of his scheme. The new offensive coordinator for the Bearcats was the tight ends coach for Notre Dame in 2010-11 and he coached such talented tight ends as Anthony Fasano, Tyler Eifert and Kyle Rudolph. Tyler Cogswell is a known quantity at this point, but Denbrock could focus on Josiah Deguara and sculpt the next Travis Kelce.
No matter what ends up happening, its undeniable that someone besides Gray and Lewis will become a more vital part of the passing game in 2017. If it were up to me, I’d go with Geddis. His size would be a big boost in the red zone as well as when Moore and Trail get in trouble. Let us know who you think should take the No. 3 title.
Who should be the No. 3 wide receiver?
This poll is closed
Another wide receiver (Let us know who in the comments)
One of the tight ends should be the third option.