2015 Boro Football Position Preview: Wide Receivers

Categories:      Sports
Saturday, August 29th, 2015 at 9:30 AM

The group at a glance:
No./ Name/ Pos./ Ht./ Wt./ Exp./ Hometown/ High School/ Transfer School
4 Darren Massey
WR 6-0 191 R-Jr. McKees Rocks, PA / Montour
6 Blake Reddick
WR 6-1 187 So. Stoneboro, Pa. / Lakeview
9 Alex Caratelli
WR 6-2 198 R-So. Beaver Falls, Pa. / Blackhawk Robert Morris
14 Connor Hollenbeck
WR 6-6 226 R-Jr. Ontario, NY / Wayne Central
19 Sean Rolick
WR 5-11 173 Jr. Kane, Pa. / Kane Area
22 James Clark
WR 6-0 175 Fr. Thorndale, Pa. / Coatesville
49 John Rizzuto
WR 5-8 160 Fr. Port Matilda, Pa. / Williston Northampton (Ma.)
80 Austin Dudley
WR 5-8 169 So. Erie, Pa. / McDowell Thiel
81 Shane Nelson
WR 6-1 185 Fr. Columbia, Md. / Wilde Lake
82 James Jackson
WR 6-2 187 Fr. Jefferson, Ohio / Jefferson Area
84 Kyle Galyk
WR 5-9 175 Fr. Marion, Ohio / Marion Pleasant
87 James Smith
WR 6-0 169 Fr. White Plains, Md. / South River

Players lost: Marcus Hill, Kolbe Hughes, Ben Eisel, Pedro Velasco, Eddie Williams, Tyler Davis, Kolton Kobrys
Players returning: Darren Massey, Blake Reddick (new position), Alex Caratelli (sat out 2014 after transfer from RMU), Connor Hollenbeck, Sean Rolick
Newcomers: James Clark, John Rizzuto, Austin Dudley, Shane Nelson, James Jackson, Kyle Galyk, James Smith

Analysis:
When taking a look at the Edinboro wide receivers, it begins and ends with Darren Massey. The McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania native and former Montour high school product has been spectacular in an Edinboro uniform since he stepped on campus. After taking a redshirt in 2012, Massey finished third on the team with 26 receptions for 339 yards and four touchdowns in his redshirt freshman season.

The six-foot receiver also did some damage out of the backfield in 2013, rushing for 69 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown on the ground. Massey also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown that season. Showing off his versatility, Massey would win PSAC West Freshman of the year honors from the league office.

Massey’s second season in the red and white saw him amass a school-record 80 receptions for 900 yards and 11 touchdowns as he earned second team All-PSAC honors. Only two seasons into his career with just 18 games played, Massey has got plenty of ball left and has a realistic shot at owning several, if not all of Edinboro’s receiving records depending on production, health and quarterback play.  Massey’s breakout games came at Shippensburg and in the home opener against East Stroudsburg in consecutive weeks last season when he hauled in 11 receptions for 161 yards and 10 catches for 103 yards and three touchdowns, respectively.

The only issue from the wide receivers is the uncertainty around Massey. After finishing second on the team in all receiving categories along with breaking freshman records with the program, Kolbe Hughes has left the team. Hughes, the six-foot-three-inch, 195 pound Amherst, New York native caught 38 passes for 535 yards and four touchdowns a season ago. He, along with fellow freshman Marcus Hill, another offseason departure from the team, leaves a glaring hole in the starting lineup.

Quotable:

Browning on expectations for junior receiver Darren Massey: “I expect leadership for one thing. Darren’s a guy that shows up every Saturday and he plays like a champion. We expect big things that way; we expect him to lead us on the field as well as lead us off the field.”
Browning on what makes Massey so dangerous: “First of all, he’s got tremendous eye-hand coordination. He has really good body control. He’s got good feet, he can set people up, he’s got the ability to get open and (if) you get the ball close to him he’s going to catch it.”
Senior linebacker Mike Shansky on Edinboro’s wide receivers: “Darren’s great. I’ve played against him in high school and he just absolutely torched us. He’s a huge threat that guys will double team and hopefully open up other guys on our team like Alex Caratelli. We’ve got some great guys coming in with him and I’m looking forward to it.”
Shansky on what makes Massey so dangerous: “His speed and quickness is ridiculous. He is so fast; you can’t cover him. It just makes it hard. His route running is amazing. He’s a great overall receiver.”
Senior defensive end Domenic Principale on Edinboro’s wide outs: “Our wide receiving corps is out of this world. Darren Massey was a freshman all-PSAC and then you have Alex Caratelli coming from Robert Morris. We have some new running backs that nobody really knows about yet, but they’ll put them on the map for us.”
Principale on Massey: “He’s a playmaker. He makes things happen where no one else will make things happen. He’s very driven; his motor never stops on the field. He’s always moving forward, whether he’s gaining five yards or 50 yards, he’s always moving. It’s just fun watching him when you’re on the defense. ‘There he goes again, there he goes again', so it’s great.”

What to expect:
What’s the plan? Edinboro will look to Robert Morris transfer Alex Caratelli to pick up the production left by Hughes. Caratelli has drawn a ton of praise from teammates ever since joining the program last season. Listed as a redshirt sophomore, Caratelli caught six passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in the 2013 season at Robert Morris.  The six-foot-two-inch target will have three years to play and the Scots will count on him right from the get go after he was not granted immediate eligibility last year.

Along with Caratelli comes redshirt junior Connor Hollenbeck. The six-foot-six-inch Ontario, New York native has the ideal size for a deep threat and goal line target, but wasn’t quite able to show it at times last year. Hollenbeck came to play in Edinboro’s second win of the 2014 season as he logged 6 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. With the exception of that 31-27 win over Seton Hill, however, Hollenbeck only caught five passes for 44 yards and no scores as he appeared in nine games. Sean Rolick, a five-foot-eleven-inch Kane, Pennsylvania native, caught one pass for two yards and returns for his junior season.

Blake Reddick could very well be the x-factor in this bunch. Reddick, moving over from the defensive side of the ball after last season, will try his hand at wide receiver. The former Lakeview Sailor and six-foot-one-inch sophomore will wear number six. Thiel College transfer and former McDowell Trojan Austin Dudley joined the group in the offseason as a true sophomore. Six true freshmen also became part of the program, but a majority of that group will be headed for a redshirt in 2015.

Ultimately, a position group that entered the offseason as a strength has become a giant question mark. Caratelli and Reddick could provide a ton of help and Hollenbeck is in a position of make or break as well. Massey will put up big numbers and lead the group well, but it’s all about what his teammates will be able to pony up.

Note: All quotes were obtained firsthand from the 2015 PSAC West football media day luncheon on Monday, Aug. 10.

Mike Fenner is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be found on Twitter at Fenner_6.

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