Regardless of who suits up at quarterback for the Aggies, he will have no shortage of pass options because assistant coach Burl Toler III has a built a group of wide receivers filled with energy and talent.
His group is young — there are only three upperclassman in a group of 15 — but his standards are high.
"Our expectation is to win a lot of games. And to do that, we’re going to take care of all the little details on and off the field. Whether it is a split that needs to be an inch wider or tighter, protecting the ball or finishing through the line, all those little things are important for us because it will lead to this group’s success," said Toler.
It also helps that one of his three veteran receivers is Keelan Doss. The junior, who missed all of the 2015 season due injury, shredded opposing defenses last year when he returned to the field. Named to the Hero Sports Sophomore All-America Team and league’s second team, Doss finished 19th among all FCS players with 10 receiving touchdowns. Additionally, his 207 yards against Sacramento State was the third-highest single-game receiving performance for any Big Sky player.
But Toler’s arsenal of receivers extends beyond Doss.
"The fact that we have a whole squad is going to make it tough for defenses to focus their plans around particular individuals."
Sophomore Jared Harrell built his case last season as a true freshman. He recorded a season-high 112 yards against Southern Oregon and collected the first touchdowns of his career versus Portland State. Junior Gabe Martinez also saw action in all 11 games; he earned a start against Southern Utah, and rewarded that decision with 10 receptions for 89 yards that night.
Other players with valuable experience include Kris Vaughn, Marcus Cummins and Brandyn Lee. Vaughn, who excelled during training camp, finished last year with three receptions for 17 yards in two games before redshirting the remainder of the season. Cummins caught two passes for 22 yards last season as a redshirt freshman. Lee, a sophomore who played in nine games as a true freshman in 2015, will look to make his return a successful one after redshirting last year.
Toler summed it up best when he said, "I don’t want to give the defense too many secrets, we will mix things up this season. We have a strong arsenal of talented players that are not only working hard to improve, but help their teammates improve as well."
Aggies host Southern Utah in home finale
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Gameday Central vs.
19/15 Southern Utah (4 p.m. PT)