Salukis deep, but inexperienced at receiver

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

Saluki football’s air-it-out offensive attack will create chances for many wide receivers to contribute.

The Salukis have 11 wideouts on the roster, not including redshirt freshman quarterback Matt DeSomer, who has worked with the receivers in camp. Only three of them have starting experience. 

Senior wide receiver Billy Reed, who started a team-high eight games as receiver last year, said he does not think a lack of experience will hurt SIU.

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“We have a lot of guys who haven’t played a lot,” Reed said. “But we had a good spring. A lot of guys are getting on that level.” 

Wide receivers coach Ashton Aikens said SIU will try to replace the production of last season’s top three pass catchers MyCole Pruitt, LaSteven McKinney and Tay Willis, who all graduated.

“What we’re trying to focus on is trying to build depth at wide receiver,” Aikens said. “We’ll need six to eight guys to play for us this year.”

Senior wide receiver Israel Lamprakes said the Salukis’ depth creates more opportunities for players to outwork each other.

“In the receivers’ room, there’s a lot of competition,” Lamprakes said. “Everyone is constantly putting in extra work, trying to make sure they can get on the field, making sure they can even travel with the team.”

Sophomore receiver Connor Iwema said the depth is reassuring. 

“If we’re going to be running 100 plays a game, I don’t want to have to be out there for 90,” he said. “I want to be able to be switched in and get fresh legs. It doesn’t really matter who’s out there starting.”

In SIU’s two scrimmages this preseason, Lamprakes led all receivers with seven receptions, 102 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Darrell James caught five passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @tdonleyDE. 

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