Louisville Wide Receiver Seth Dawkins celebrates after No. 2 Jamari Staples scores against the NC State Wolfpack in October 2016. Photo by River City Cards staff
Talent looks to replace experience
The calendar has turned to August, and it’s now a little under a month until the Louisville Cardinals take on the Purdue Boilermakers in Indianapolis. Practices already resumed this week, in preparation for the 2017 season. Everyone will have something to work on, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, working on remaining in the pocket, and finding his targets, preparing for what could be a top NFL pick.
Speaking of his targets, perhaps no unit had more departures than the receiving corps: The Wide Receivers and Tight Ends. Two of the Cards tight ends departed, Cole Hikutini and Keith Towbridge, along with wide receivers James Quick and Jamari Staples.
Hoping to replace Hikutini is senior Charles Standberry. The 6’3” senior from Montgomery, Alabama is listed first on the depth chart, and had limited action last season as a reserve tight end. He appeared in 11 games, and caught four passes for 46 yards, with his longest being a 20-yard reception against Syracuse. Behind him is Junior Micky Crum, whom showed prowess as a pass-catching tight end his first season, but injuries kept him off the field for most of 2016. Prior to that, however, he caught 14 receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Former Texas A&M transfer Jordan Davis is behind Crum.
Seth Dawkins will replace Quick in Indianapolis. The 6’3” Sophomore from Columbus, Ohio succeeded in 2016, catching 11 receptions for 191 yards and a touchdown. His best catch came against Duke, where he hauled in a 53-yard reception for his only catch of the game. Junior Devante Peete is behind him, who was a Captain on Special Teams and caught four passes for 70 yards in 2016 as a Wide Receiver. Freshman Corey Reed will back up Peete.
Lining up on the other side is veteran wideout Jaylen Smith. The Junior caught 56 career receptions for 975 yards and seven touchdowns. His season was also capped by a 74-yard touchdown against NC State. Redshirt freshman Dez Fitzpatrick is the second-string. The 6’2” four-star recruit from Farmington Hills, Michigan was the No. seven player from Michigan, and the No. 45 wide receiver. Senior Javonte Bagley is behind him.
In the slot is Traveon Samuel, the viral star of last season, featured in a meme with Lamar Jackson. The Phenix City, Alabama native was featured in 12 games, and caught 18 for 230 yards. He had one touchdown against Charlotte. Sophomore Emonee Spence will back him up. Spence missed 2016 due to a foot injury in fall practice. The last receiver listed is redshirt freshman Keion Wakefield.
It should be a better year for Louisville receivers. Dawkins and Smith bring experience to the table, with a potential star in Fitzpatrick. If Jackson can find his targets, a few of these players may become household names.
Next week, River City Cards will look at the defensive front, a totally different unit after the departure of many players.