BYU football recruiting: Speed and athleticism at wide receiver

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The receivers in BYU's 2014 recruiting class appear to be the fastest and most athletic since BYU signed Austin Collie, Todd Watkins, and Michael Reed in 2004. This year's recruits could very well be better than those in 2004. Sure there are other teams with faster receivers out there, but that doesn't take away from the fact that these four receivers have a dynamic combination of size, speed, and athleticism that is all too rare at BYU. With one incoming senior, two juniors, and one freshman, look for this group to make an immediate impact and pick up where departing seniors Cody Hoffman, JD Falslev, and Skyler Ridley left off.

Let's take a closer look at each receiver starting with the senior and working our way down to the freshman:

JORDAN LESLIE

Leslie will be graduating from UTEP in electrical engineering as a junior and will be able to play immediately for his senior year. At 6'3" and 210 pounds he is a good sized receiver and will be a fantastic target for QB Taysom Hill. At UTEP he averaged 13.9 yards per reception, had 8 career 100+ yard games, a long reception of 75 yards. Against Tulsa in 2012 he had receptions of 61 and 50 yards that contributed to a 200+ yard receiving game. In a tweet he stated that he has a 4.4 40-yard dash time, which contributed to his consideration as the 2013 #2 deep threat in the nation. An all around athlete, in high school Leslie received accolades as a Texas first-team All-State receiver, All-District basketball player, and Regionals high jumper runner up.

NICK KURTZ

Kurtz hails from Grossmont College in California and is expected to be the replacement for Cody Hoffman. His 6'6" and 205 pound frame gives him the size, even a little taller than Hoffman, to replace BYU's best receiver in school history, but that is just the beginning of what Kurtz has to offer. With a 4.5 40-yard dash, Kurtz has been ranked as the #4 receiver and #22 overall JC player in the country by Rivals and the #6 receiver and #8 overall players from California by 247Sports. Kurtz offers from Oregon, USC, Texas Tech (tip of the hat to Mr. Welker) attest to his athletic ability. In the JUCO ranks he averaged more than 14 yards per reception, had 4 100+ yard receiving games (high of 174 yards), and 6 multi-touchdown games (2 of which were for 3 Tds).

DEVON BLACKMON

Blackmon is perhaps the most dynamic player of the lot. In high school he played quarterback, wide receiver, running back and defensive back. He started his college career by red shirting his freshman season at Oregon and then played as a red shirt freshman in three games, then transferred to Riverside City College in California. Words such as agile, athletic, shifty, versatile, dynamic, and play maker all aptly describe this 6'1" and 185 pound signee, and in a lot of ways he is very similar to his childhood friend and high school teammate Jamaal Williams (could he be a better athlete than Williams? We'll find out this fall). The two have run track together since they were seven-years old. Blackmon's ability to change directions quickly and stretch the field make him difficult to defend. ESPN named him the #2 wide receiver and 247Sports named him the #2 athlete coming out of high school, where he posted personal records in the 110 m 39" hurdles at 13.88 seconds and the 55 m 39" hurdles at 7.39. He is now ranked the #4 JC Receiver by ESPN and #9 by Rivals and 247Sports. Blackmon was recruited by the likes of Arizona, Utah, and Washington, among other universities.

TREY DYE

The son of the legendary James Dye is the lone freshman of this bunch and is built in the same mold as his father. Do not be deceived by his slight frame of 5'9" and 175 pounds. Dye runs a 4.48 40-yard dash and has tremendous football speed. But wait, there's more! Dye has the ability to absorb an impact and stay on his feet, shrug off defenders, and get yardage after initial contact. Much like Blackmon, Dye is very shifty and has great vision of the field. He has the quickness to get to the outside edge and turn the corner, as well as the guts to run the ball up the middle. Think of Dye as the replacement for JD Falslev, except that he is faster and more athletic. Look for him to primarily play in the slot, but also running reverses, or going in motion to line up at running back prior to the snap. An all purpose player, his senior year in high school saw him average 10.5 yards per rush and 13.8 yards per reception.

CONCLUSION

The BYU coaching staff did an impressive job of reloading the receivers corps. They added depth and longevity by getting a senior, two juniors and a freshmen. These four young men combined with two current players on the mend, Mitch Matthews and Ross Apo, will form an electrifying group of receivers that QB Taysom Hill will look to early and often, short and deep. Which receiver are you the most excited to see dressed in Cougar blue?

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