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Nevada Football: Previewing the Receivers

The Wolf Pack have their entire receiving corps returning, but will that translate to on-field production?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It's not often that a positional group that returns all their players has question marks, but such is the case with Nevada's wide receivers. Last season, they were dangerous top heavy, as Jerico Richardson and Hasaan Henderson combined to catch 120 passes. The rest of the team only caught 66 passes, combined. They will need to even those number out, otherwise an injury could derail the offense.

Last season, Jerico Richardson led the team with 68 catches for 750 yards. Richardson plays the "X" role in the offense, which serves as a boundary receiver that runs short to intermediate routes. Unless Hasaan Henderson takes a big leap this season, Richardson will be the top target for QB Tyler Stewart once again.

Hasaan Henderson was touted as a potential breakout star by many (Including myself), but really seemed to disappoint for most of the season. While he had a few big games, he seemed to disappear more often than not during games. Last season, he had more two catch games (4) than six-plus catch games (2). At 6-foot-5, there's no reason Henderson should be invisible so much, and he will need to make a big jump next season.

After Brayden Sanchez went down with a torn ACL in Week 1, Wyatt Demps stepped into the slot for the Wolf Pack. He was a solid option in the passing attack, catching 27 passes for 232 yards. His starting spot next season is no given, however, as Sanchez, a rising senior, will be back on the field to compete.

At tight end, Jarred Gipson flashed his skillset, but struggled with targets. He failed to surpass the 20 catch mark, despite having the second highest yards-per-catch average on the team (Min. five catches). He missed the final three games of the season just when he seemed to be hitting his stride, so he'll need to get that chemistry with Tyler Stewart back again. Gipson should be a big part of the offense, but he'll need to play well enough to the point where he becomes one of the top targets.

Outside the top four or five guys, the rest of the receivers likely won't see much of the field. The Wolf Pack run a lot of two-back formations, which leaves only three receivers on the field, including a tight end. The snaps will be limited, and players are going to have to earn everything they get. If injuries do strike, they will need a younger player to step up, as 9 of Nevada's 14 receivers are a sophomore or younger.

On paper, Nevada looks to have a very strong receiving corps. With the defense losing a number of key players, the offensive needs to step and carry this team. The running backs are more or less a known commodity, but the receivers will need to improve their game this season to take some of the load off of the run game, and help the Wolf Pack become a more balanced team.