Trojan receivers to play big role in 2010

Published 10:35 pm Thursday, August 5, 2010

As the preseason practice continues, the Troy Trojans will continue to build on its strengths and work on its weaknesses, in preparation for the season opener.

There is one group that enters the season with high hopes and big expectations.

Last season, the Trojan receivers helped Troy become one of the nation’s most explosive offenses and this season, head coach Larry Blakeney and the rest of the coaching staff and looking for more of the same.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

While the Trojans may have only been at practice a few days the old ball coach said he still expects his receiving core to be ready to go.

“I haven’t seen a lot from (the receivers) but I know that they all will be in with the systems, their routes and their assignments,” Blakeney said.

“They haven’t caught the ball too well so far, but I’m sure it’s because the players haven’t got their gloves yet,” the coach laughed.

One of the biggest advantages the coach sees with this receiver core is its speed, agility and depth.

“We got a lot of guys who can do a lot of good things for us,” Blakeney said. “We got good experience.

“They came into camp in good shape and with fast our offense can be, to see that conditioned well in the offseason is a good thing,” he added.

Of the twenty-one receivers on the roster, nine are upperclassmen, with six seniors: Jerrel Jernigan, Austin Silvoy, Tebiarus Gill, Jason Bruce, Jonathan Chandler and Donnie Crosby and three juniors: Chip Reeves, Brett Moncrief and Matt Stidham.

“I think we have a pretty good looking group of guys all across the board,” Blakeney said.

“In years past, we have not been as good on the outside, but this season we have a chance to be great both outside and inside.”

Along with the upperclassmen, there are a few freshman and sophomore receivers that Blakeney mentioned should be able to contribute to the team as well.

Some of the notable underclassman receivers mentioned by the coach included, sophomore Josh Jarboe, and freshmen Khary Franklin, Jamel Johnson, Sam Haskins, and B.J. Chitty.

“They are all exciting players for us,” Blakeney said. “We will be working them into the system and giving all of the receivers a chance to really help the team and contribute this season.”

T.J. Mitchell, Jaquon Robinson, Garry Williams, Anthony Williams, Felton Payton, Gavin Ellis, and Eric Thomas round out the remaining receivers on the team.

Thanks to a change at one of the most important positions on the team, each of those players is going to have important roles.

With a new Trojan behind center taking the snaps, Blakeney said having a group as talented and experienced as this year’s receivers is going to have a large impact, regardless of whether it’s Jamie Hampton or Corey Robinson as the team’s quarterback.

“It’s most definitely going to help out whoever is (the quarterback),” he said.

“Like I said, we have a very talented group here and I think they are going to help out tremendously.”

A big part of that help is going to come from Jernigan, who will be entering his fourth and final season with the Trojans.

In 2009, the senior posted career high in both receiving yards, with 1,101 and rushing yards and attempts, with 266 and 40.

“As long as Jerrel can stay well, we are going to give him the ball as much as possible,” Blakeney said. “He’s got a chance to be just as good this year as he has been for us the past couple of seasons – and I expect and hope that he is able to contribute for us.

“He is a good young man, that stands for a lot of good things,” the coach added.

Coming into this year, Jernigan will be looking to add on to his career stats, which include 178 receptions, 2,306 receiving yards and 12 touchdown receptions.