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Nevada football 2022 summer position preview: Wide Receivers

Pack lose top four wideouts from 2021.

Syndication: Reno Gazette Journal JASON BEAN/RGJ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Nevada Wolf Pack football team, who suffered one of the biggest roster turnovers in recent Pack memory, will be kicking off in less than 40 days against the New Mexico State Aggies!

Nevada lost its head coach to in-conference foe Colorado State as well as a bevy of transfers. Its top three skill threats — Carson Strong (more below), Cole Turner and Romeo Doubs — elected to go to the NFL and the Pack return less than 30 percent of its production from a year, the lowest in the nation, per ESPN.

Until the start of the season, I will be previewing each unit of its roster each week. We already did the quarterbacks and running backs — let’s transition to the wide receiver position, which was gutted this offseason.

Let’s jump into it!


Anyone departing?

Romeo Doubs

Doubs was one of the most decorated wideouts in recent Wolf Pack history. He tallied two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, He combined for 2,111 yards on 138 catches with 20 receiving touchdowns in 2020-21, including 1,109 receiving yards (80 rec.) with 11 scores last season — each of which were top-3 in the Mountain West. Over his career with Nevada, he tallied 3,322 yards — fourth all-time — with 13 100-yard and two 200-yard performances. He also posted seven games with at least two touchdowns with a pair of three-touchdown outings in 2020. He was an All-Mountain West first-team honoree in both 2020 and 2021.

Melquan Stovall

Stovall, Nevada’s third-best pass-catcher a season ago, followed Norvell to Colorado State. He caught 56 catches for 643 yards — including seven for 155 and his only touchdown of his three-year career against New Mexico State. With Nevada, the 5-foot-9 wideout had 108 career catches for 1,064 yards.

Justin Lockhart

Lockhart burst onto the scene in 2020 after hauling in just five catches for 33 yards as a freshman in 2019. In 2020, he added 27 catches for 241 yards and two scores and followed that up with 35 receptions for 470 yards and two scores last season. Against New Mexico State, he totaled seven receptions for 103 yards and a score. His only other touchdown came against Fresno State, when he added six catches for 83 yards.

Tory Horton

With Stovall, Horton departed to Colorado State. Over two seasons, he conjured together 10 total touchdowns — five in each season. He ended his Wolf Pack career with 72 receptions for 995 yards, including 52 catches for 659 yards in 2021. He posted three 100-yard games and two with multiple touchdowns.

Elijah Cooks

After being one of the conference’s best wideouts in 2019, Cooks’ last two seasons with nevada were hampered with injury. He was limited to just four combined games with shoulder and foot injuries. In 2019, he led the team receptions (76), receiving yards (926) and receiving touchdowns (8). He joins Lockhart at SJSU.

Carson Walters

Walters entered the portal but has yet to find a new program. He played in just two games, last season, tallying two catches for four yards.


Who’s returning?

Jamaal Bell

Bell is the Wolf Pack’s only returning receiver who had more than 15 career catches at the Division-I level. He has 17 career receptions for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including 14 catches for 119 yards and one touchdown a year ago. He was Nevada’s top receiver in the Quick Lane Bowl, adding seven catches for 75 yards and his lone score. Bell earned All-Mountain West honors as a punt returner, however, adding 27 returns for 628 yards.

Dazure Paggett

Paggett did not make an appearance with Nevada as a freshman in 2021. He tallied 20 receptions for 540 yards and four touchdowns as a junior at Lincoln High School in San Diego, Calif., choosing Nevada over Lake Erie College and Southwest Minnesota State.

Aaron Smith

Smith has yet to appear in a game with Nevada after redshirting in 2020. He chose the Wolf Pack out of Colorado, AIr Force, Army, Yale, Cal and Montana State, among others. As a senior at Centennial High School in Corona, Calif., he had 44 catches for 829 yards with three receiving touchdowns.

Tyrese Mack

Mack transferred from City College of San Francisco to Nevada ahead of last season. He appeared in five games, hauling in just two catches for 27 yards. At the City College of San Francisco, he had 26 catches for 459 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore.

Jeremiah Gradowitz

Similarly to Smith, he redshirted as a freshman in 2020 and has yet to make an appearance. Gradowitz joined the Pack over Bucknell, UC Davis and Eastern Washington, among others. He was an unranked recruit out of Stockdale High School, but tallied 968 combined receiving yards and 11 touchdowns through the air (12 total) in his final two years of high school, per Max Preps.


Any new faces?

B.J. Casteel

Casteel was Arizona’s second leading receciver a yeaer ago, hauling in 33 catches for 326 yards and a touchdown. Over his career, he tallied 880 yards (on 90 catches) with four receiving touchdowns. He should be one of the offenses top wideouts, barring injury, in 2022. Here is what Mountain West Connection site manager and recruiting guru Mike Wittmann said about Casteel in Nevada’s recruiting preview:

BJ is transferring from Arizona to Nevada in this class. He has great hands and a knack for coming down with the ball when he goes up against defensive backs. Casteel has great size and once he gets going, would-be tacklers bounce off of him while he is moving in the open field. He can be used in the short and deep passing game and has even taken some carries out of the backfield, where his straight-line speed is on display. BJ will be able to step right into some playing time for the Wolf Pack next fall.

Tyler Clark

Clark is one of the Wolf Pack’s many local walk-ons, hailing from Damonte Ranch High School in Reno, Nev. He caught 19 passes for 190 yards in three seasons, but also tallied 57 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and one tackle-for-loss.

Nick Vargas

Vargas, son of former Nevada great Chris Vargas, joins Clark from Damonte Ranch High School, though he played one season at Sierra College. In his high school career, he caught 69 passes for 1,231 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Victor Snow

Snow elected to walk-on onto the team in Jan.; he caught a 77-yard touchdown in the Wolf Pack’s spring game. According to 247sports.com, Snow was an unranked recruit, but received interest from Bucknell, Lehigh, Monmouth and Rhode Island, among others.

Spencer Curtis

Curtis followed Wilson from Oregon, where he had one catch for 22 yards last season. He originally committed to Weber State ahead of the 2017 season, but redshirted and departed for an LDS mission.

Here is what Wittmann said about Curtis:

Spencer is another transfer wide receiver in this class. He gets downfield in a hurry, thanks to some noticeable speed and effective route-running. Curtis fights hard to get open and gains separation with both his speed and physical nature. He is especially effective on short routes and he can gain extra yards in space with his elusiveness. Spencer looks like he can slide in as a slot receiver for Nevada.

Elijah Barclay

As a senior at San Juan Hills High School at Santa Ana, Calif., he tallied 24 receptions for 392 yards and five touchdowns. He chose Nevada over Utah, Arizona, Illinois State, Nebraska, Purdue, TCU and San Diego State, among others.

Here is what Wittmann said about the 6-foot-2 recruit, who was one of the best in the Nevada class:

Elijah is a very talented wide receiver who was thankfully still available for the Wolf Pack to sign. He gets downfield in a hurry and has big potential as a deep-play receiver thanks to his speed. Barclay excels at tracking the ball in the air and does a nice job adjusting his routes and steps to ensure he comes down under the ball. He is also active in screens and passes to the flat and is dangerous with the ball in space. Elijah has the potential to be a dynamic receiver if he can put it all together.

Keenan Speer-Johnson

As a three-star recruit from Mountainside High School in Beaverton, Ore., he chose Nevada over Kentucky, Maryland and Florida Atlantic. Here is what Wittmann said about Speer-Johnson:

Keenan is a tall, long receiver coming to the Wolf Pack. He changes directions on cuts with ease and his long strides help him separate from defenders on his routes and after the catch. Speer-Johnson can out jump receivers and high-points the ball well on jump balls, which can be especially effective in the red zone. He runs precise routes and has solid hands. Keenan has the potential to be a future building block for the rebuilding Nevada program.