Louisiana Tech (7-6) finished its 2017 campaign with three consecutive victories including their fourth straight bowl victory. The DXL Frisco Bowl win over SMU has Bulldog fans excited for 2018. Over the next few weeks we will take a look back at 2017 and a look ahead to what 2018 may hold for the ‘Dogs. Next up, wide receivers.
The question entering 2017: Who replaces Carlos Henderson and Trent Taylor? The answer: No one. Replacing the best duo in NCAA history is impossible.
Tulane transfer Teddy Veal was a well-known talent, and he did not disappoint. The junior led Tech receivers with 74 catches for 950 yards and seven touchdowns and was J’Mar Smith’s favorite target by a wide margin.
Finding a compliment to Veal is where the Bulldogs had issues. Rhashid Bonnette showed his big play capabilities in spurts, but he struggled with drops and was plagued by injuries at times. Marlon Watts, Kam McKnight, and DeJuawn Oliver filled their roles admirably but did not provide consistent production on a weekly basis that is necessary in a go to second receiver.
Injuries played a role in the receiving unit struggling in 2017 as well. Starting slot receiver Alfred Smith was injured early on and missed 11 games in 2017. Bonnette, Hardy, Scott, Zach Cousar, Marcus Gaines, and Javonte Woodard all missed time due to injury.
Combine the injury-bug with the lack of a second option and it’s easy to see why the Bulldogs struggled to throw the football for much of the year.
Looking ahead, Watts, Gaines, and Oliver all depart due to graduation.
Veal returns along with Kam McKnight as the lone seniors for the Bulldogs in 2018.
Young, talented, and now experienced is how the Bulldogs receivers can be described going into 2018.
Rhashid Bonnette has shown flashes of becoming a more complete receiver and not just a one-trick, deep threat receiver. Adrian Hardy has some Carlos Henderson shake in his game. George Scott is a big body, speedy guy outside. CeeJay Powell is still learning the slot position and will look to continue to improve. Zach Cousar is a fantastic route runner with great hands at 6’4”, 220 pounds. Javonte Woodard has big time speed outside.
Tech certainly has more depth than ever at the receiver spot. Veal is a proven commodity and will be J’Mar’s go to guy once again in 2018.
Who is behind Veal? Is it former Oklahoma signee Adrian Hardy? Will Bonnette take the next step? Is George Scott ready for primetime? Will Wren come in and contribute immediately? Questions abound at the receiver position for the Bulldogs this offseason, but the position is certainly talented.
An improvement by the receiving unit as a whole will go a long way in the Bulldog offense getting back to their high powered levels that Tech fans are so accustomed to seeing.
Stay tuned to BleedTechBlue.com as we continue our ‘Year in Review’ series, take a look at Dunkin’ Dog basketball, and dive into the final recruiting targets with the late signing period on February 7th.