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Projecting the Depth Chart: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Kahlil Lewis and Thomas Geddis are pretty much locks to start, but what about everybody else?

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at South Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

By the end of 2018, we could very well be talking about how good the Cincinnati Bearcats were at the wide receiver and tight end positions. Kahlil Lewis and Thomas Geddis form a nice duo at wideout and there is a lot of new talent, along with returning and reliable options, at tight end. Wide receivers coach Joker Phillips and offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, who also coaches the tight ends, will be putting forth a group that will play a big part in determining how much better the Bearcats perform on offense. Let’s get to those projections.

Definite Starters

Kahlil Lewis, WR

Thomas Geddis, WR

This is is about as open and shut a case as there is on this roster. Lewis led the Bearcats in most receiving categories last year and with Devin Gray gone, Geddis, who you could argue was the No. 2 receiver anyway, doesn’t have to compete for the title.

Position Battles

Denbrock has a history of producing top flight talent at the tight end position. One of his latest pupils, four-star recruit Leonard Taylor, could be next. While Taylor is a true freshman and there are some more experienced guys ahead of him like Josiah Deguara, its possible the Bearcats won’t want to wait and will push Taylor into the starting lineup right away. It wouldn’t be the worst idea for an offense that desperately needs to improve. If they decide to go with a more conservative approach, then Deguara is probably your starter with redshirt freshman Wilson Huber and Bruno Labelle competing for the backup gig.

As for the wide receivers, last year’s team seemed to rely on a three-pronged attack primarily (at least in terms of target dispersal), with other options filling in the gaps. That means someone is going to have to replace Gray and earn a more important role. Javan Hawes, Jerron Rollins and Rashad Medaris seem like the best bets.

Final Projection

First Team

Kahlil Lewis, WR

Thomas Geddis, WR

Jerron Rollins, WR

Josiah Deguara, TE

As much potential as he has, Taylor is probably going to be given a little bit of time before he is starting every week. That leaves the job open to Deguara, who caught 11 passes for 98 yards last year. Labelle actually played in more games than him, but Deguara’s superior receiving ability should win him more playing time.

We already discussed how much of a lock Lewis and Geddis are for the starting lineup. Rollins makes sense as the No. 3 target since he caught 13 passes for 101 yards last year, which ranked him fourth among UC wide receivers.

Second Team

Javan Hawes, WR

Rashad Medaris, WR

Malick Mbodj, WR

Bruno Labelle, TE/Wilson Huber, TE

Huber makes sense when the Bearcats are looking to utilize a backup tight end in the passing game. Labelle should get work in blocking situations. Hawes and Medaris are the only other wide receivers besides the guys I projected on the first team to have a catch last season. Mbodj is one of a number of younger guys who will probably be limited to a handful of targets.

How do you think the defensive line depth chart will look when the season opens? How should it look? Let us know in the comments or drop a FanPost.