ElViento: So I’m a couple of hours late, but Wednesday, August 12th meant 24 days until Cougar football. So for day 24 of the countdown, we take a look at the 24 receivers on UH’s roster, according to UHCougars.com. The receivers for the Cougars are perhaps the team’s biggest strength, with a huge stable of young, talented players. Case Keenum should have plenty of targets to throw at this year. So without further ado, the receivers, in power ranking form:
- Tyron Carrier (So) – All the diminutive speedster did as a freshman in ’08 was catch 80 passes for a team-leading 1,026 yards and 9 touchdowns. Carrier hauled in a TD pass and recorded over 100 yards receiving in each of the final three regular season games. The idea of getting to see three more years of this kid is very exciting. Carrier’s catch of the year: 26-yard TD reception in the waning seconds against SMU, to pull off the come-from-behind victory.
- Patrick Edwards (So) – Virtually unrecruited out of high school, and without a division 1-A offer, Edwards chose to walk on at UH. He quickly earned a scholarship, and was Houston’s leading receiver as a redshirt freshman at the time of his horrific injury at Marshall. The consensus is that Edwards is back at 100% for the start of the year. The consensus is also that, despite Carrier’s track-star speed, Edwards is the fastest player on the team, in pads. Edwards’s catch of the year: Edwards’s 70-yard catch-and-run against UAB in the early fourth quarter put the Cougars up 11, and ended all doubt as to the outcome of the game.
- L.J. Castile (Jr) – Although he’s never quite lived up to his insane athletic ability, or put on quite the show in actual games that he’s been known to put on in practice, there’s no denying that Castile has been a productive player for the Cougars. In ’08, Castile caught 31 passes for 531 yards, and his 8 TD are second-best among returning receivers. Still, Castile finds himself a non-starter on the depth chart coming out of the Spring, amid not-so-quiet whispers that he still hasn’t figured “it” out. Even if he never becomes a superstar, appreciate L.J. for what he is. Castile’s catch(es) of the year: While the Cougars didn’t really show up against Rice to end the year, don’t blame Castile. L.J. caught five passes for 144 yards, and TD catches of 43, 22 and 17 yards.
- Kierrie Johnson (Jr) – The Blinn JC transfer was one the big surprises for Houston in 2008, and I can proudly say that I (sort of) saw it coming, after being impressed with Johnson in the Spring game. After catching 32 passes for 499 yards and 5 TD, Kierrie (pronounced Key-air, like Pierre) was named a starter by Kevin Sumlin post-Spring. Johnson’s catch of the year: An 84-yard dash by Johnson less than a minute into the fourth quarter at #23 East Carolina put the Cougars up 31-17, and put the game out of reach. It was the longest play from scrimmage on the year for Houston.
- James Cleveland (Jr) – A guy who could be higher on this list by year’s end, Cleveland was a huge transfer pick-up for the Cougars. Cleveland began his career at Iowa, where he caught 36 passes for 464 yards as a freshman, earning all-Big Ten Freshman team honors. After having some personal issues, Cleveland played a year at Trinity Valley CC, and now finds his way to Houston. Expect big things from Cleveland.
- A.J. Dugat (Fr) – Like Cleveland, Dugat is yet to play a snap as a Cougar, but could end up a few spots higher on this list by the end of the year. One of the most highly-touted recruits by the Cougars in a while, Dugat de-committed from TCU when Houston (who Dugat called his “dream school”) offered. A Parade All-American as a senior, Dugat could have played most anywhere he wanted, as a safety or a WR, but chose to come to UH to play in the Sumlin-Dana Holgorsen offense.
- Chaz Rodriguez (Sr) – One of the very few seniors on this year’s team at any position, it’s a testament to Houston’s depth at this position that a solid contributor like Rodriguez (40 rec, 418 yards) finds himself this far down on the list. The 6-2 Rodriguez was listed as a starter coming out of the Spring, so putting him this low might be an oversight on my part. Rodriguez’s catch of the year: Okay, so this was 2007, but my favorite Chaz catch of all time was one of just two catches he had as a sophomore, a 24-yard haul from running back Anthony Alridge. Quick 6 had been promising all year that he was going to throw a TD, and he made good on national TV against SMU.
- Tim Monroe (Sr) – Deserves to be mentioned if for nothing else than that he wears #24, the number of our countdown. Monroe played some DB early in his Cougar career, before seeing plenty of time as a WR and on special teams in ’08. He finished with 17 catches for 237 yards, including multiple receptions in each of the first four games of the year. Monroe’s catch of the year: A 49-yard catch for a score against Tulane put the exclamation point on a 42-point effort by the Cougars.
- Wesley Scourten (Jr, Tight End) – A physical specimen at 6-6, 240, Scourten seems like an obvious choice to replace Mark Hafner when Houston uses the Big Slot position. Scourten’s receiving numbers haven’t shown up yet, but he’s already made an impact on special teams, using his huge frame to block three kicks in ’08. Scourten’s health is a concern heading into the season.
- Fendi Onobun (Sr, TE) – A sleeper of the highest order, Onobun comes to Houston by way of the Arizona Wildcat basketball program. Despite being a highly-touted basketball player out of high school, Onobun spent four years mostly riding the pine in Tucson, but after graduating, he was told by NFL scouts that he might get a look as a Tight End if he played a year of college ball. (Under NCAA rules, Onobun has a year of eligibility left in a sport other than basketball. See Paulus, Greg.) With his size (6-6, 249) and athletic ability, Onobun could get used both as a kick-blocker, and a large, red zone target.
The other fourteen…
Oge Anoliefo (RS Fr) – A Cleveland, Ohio native, Anoliefo was lightly recruited out of high school. He was a standout at small school ball, so while the physical talents are definitely there, it’ll be interesting to see if he can learn to play football at the Division 1-A level.
Chance Blackmon (So) – Brother to current Cougar defensive back Carson Blackmon, Chance will sit out this year after transferring from Colorado.
Tyler Chambers (Fr, TE) – A true freshman this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chambers take a redshirt. He definitely has the size (6-4, 233) to be a contributor at some point down the line.
Gino Collins (RS Fr) – Originally recruited as a DB, Collins was converted to WR during his redshirt season in ’08. Collins reportedly runs a 4.5 40.
Tarance Farmer (So) – The younger brother of former NFL running back Clarence Farmer, Tarance is (I believe) ready to play in ’09 after sitting out the 2008 season transferring from Alabama.
Chris Gilbert (Sr) – The 5’8” Gilbert has 10 career catches as a Cougar.
Brandon Hartson (RS Fr, TE) – The 6-4, 260 Hartson, in addition to playing Tight End, is Cory Johnson’s backup at Long Snapper, and could see time on the D-line.
Barry Laird (Sr, TE) – Also a relief pitcher on the Cougar baseball team, Laird is walking on to the Cougar football team this year.
Brian Smelek (Sr, TE) – The Tomball native figures to see time as a backup TE and WR, and could see time on special teams.
E.J. Smith (So) – Listed as Johnson’s backup, the Mississippi native caught 6 passes as a freshman in ’08, including 2 in the win against UTEP.
Andrew Stewart (Jr) – Stewart played baseball at Mayde Creek HS, and QB at Texas Lutheran college before ending up with the Cougars.
Isaiah Sweeney (So) – Sweeney runs track for UH, and might get to use that speed as a kick returner, in addition to WR.
Ronnie Williams (RS Fr) – Listed as a second-stringer behind Tyron Carrier, Williams ran track, and played basketball and baseball at Sterling High in Houston, in addition earning the highest GPA of any male athlete at the school. His cousin is Reggie Wayne of the Colts.
Demetrius Woods (RS Fr) – Ranked a three-star recruit out of high school by Scout, Woods is listed as Patrick Edwards’s backup.