Although the Colorado football team only lost four offensive starters from a year ago, there is no bigger departure than wide receiver Paul Richardson.
Richardson, who was selected 45th overall in the NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks, was above and beyond the most talented player on the 2013 roster. His breakaway speed and immaculate hands will be nearly impossible to replace, but hope still remains in the Rocky Mountains, as the Buffaloes will enter the 2014 season with a solid combination of both proven and up-and-coming receivers.
Experience won’t be hard to come by in a core group of receivers that includes seniors D.D. Goodson and Tyler McCulloch, opposite junior Nelson Spruce. Spruce will look to fill Richardson’s position as the “Z” receiver, while McCulloch will share time with impressive redshirt freshman Bryce Bobo at the “X” receiver position. Goodson will round out the starting lineup, as he’ll see the majority of the playing time at “H” receiver.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Nelson Spruce (6-foot-1, 195-pounds, Junior)
Spruce has become a household name for the Buffaloes in the last few seasons. He’ll enter the 2014 season as a team captain and the #1 receiver on the depth chart. Last season playing alongside Richardson, Spruce hauled in 55 catches, a mark good enough for second on the team. He also added four touchdown catches and one in the return game. In two seasons, he has 99 career catches for 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns. With Richardson gone, he’ll look to expand his role as a receiver, as well as in the return game.
Tyler McCulloch, (6-foot-5, 215-pounds, Senior)
Besides having tremendous athletic ability, McCulloch adds much needed size to the receiving corps. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, he’s the biggest receiver on the team. He didn’t see much action during the spring as he was working on recovering from a foot injury. As long as the injury doesn’t linger, he should see the start on opening night.
He has at least one touchdown catch in every season at Colorado and has caught 58 passes for more than 600 yards in his college career. As one of the two senior receivers on the team, he is poised for a breakout year in 2014.
Bryce Bobo (6-foot-2, 185-pounds, RS Freshman)
The redshirt freshman has impressed coaches in spring ball and figures to be starting on opening night against Colorado State.
Bobo was highly touted out of high school, as he averaged more than 18 yards per catch and 10 touchdowns in his senior season. This year, Bobo put his name on the map during the spring game, when he caught an unbelievable 67-yard touchdown. The catch highlighted Bobo’s ability to make catches in traffic and then stay on his feet after contact. He also reeled in a 43-yard deep ball that eventually set up the winning score. His size and strength have earned him high praise this offseason and he’ll look to carry this momentum into the season opener.
D.D. Goodson (5-foot-6, 170-pounds, Senior)
Don’t let Goodson’s tiny stature fool you. The converted running back has proven to be a valuable receiver and should see the lion’s share of work at “H” receiver this season.
Last season, he caught 22 passes for more than 300 yards and two touchdowns. Look for him to improve in every category this season as he enters his senior year with the Buffaloes. Goodson thrives in the screen game and makes defenses account for him whenever he is on the field. His most impressive game as a Buffalo came against Oregon in 2013, when he took a check down 75 yards for a touchdown.
Shay Fields (5-foot-11, 170-pounds, Freshman)
Fields, a four-star recruit out of St. John Bosco high school in California, is one of the newcomers who could make the biggest splash for the Colorado football team in 2014.
The impressive freshman wideout will see his fair share of the field this season. He has enormous potential and eventually should grow into a #1 receiver during his tenure in Colorado. His speed is unmatched and he will use it to terrorize opposing defenses. Fields has also shown that he is capable of playing both in the slot and as a deep ball receiver on the outside. He finished his senior season with more than 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns. Fields has a very high ceiling and should continue to grow into a star caliber receiver with the Buffaloes.
Check out Fields’ high school highlights below:
Although it’s hard to compare any of these receivers to Paul Richardson, it’s clear that there is some upside to this group. With Sefo Liufau at the helm, any number of these receivers could have a breakout year in 2014.