Bowl season has concluded and basketball season is in full swing, but we still have plenty of football to talk about. For the next few months, we will be taking a look back at the 2022 season and reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of each team. With that being said, let’s take a look at the good, bad, and ugly of the wide receiver units in the Mountain West.
Jalen Moreno-Cropper and Nikko Remigio were the best receiving tandem in the Mountain West, finishing third and fifth in receiving yards. The Bulldogs also had a great third option in Zane Pope, who finished eighth in the conference in receiving yards. Those totals likely would have been much higher if Jake Haener had not missed significant time with an ankle injury. Moreno-Cropper and Remigio are both gone; will the Bulldogs be able to replace that kind of production?
San Jose State
Former Nevada receivers Elijah Cooks and Justin Lockhart had big years for the Spartans. Cooks finished second in the conference in receiving yards and was the only player in the conference with double-digit touchdown receptions. Lockhart emerged as a potential number-one receiver for the Spartans.
The Rebels had one of the most talented receiving corps in the Mountain West. Ricky White and Kyle Williams both had solid seasons. Williams entered the transfer portal and is headed to Washington State. UNLV fans are expecting a monster season out of White in 2023.
San Diego State
It was a little surprising to see the Aztecs land in this area considering how inconsistent they were passing the ball. Tyrell Shavers and Jesse Matthews both finished in the top 15 in receiving yards. I expect the Aztec passing attack to improve significantly in 2023 with a full season of Jalen Mayden at quarterback and a change at offensive coordinator.
Colorado State had the best receiver in the conference in Tory Horton. The Rams' offense relied heavily on Horton and there was a major falloff in production after him. However, I think the Rams could have one of the best-receiving corps in the conference next year. Justus Ross-Simmons came on really strong as the season progressed, and they have some very talented freshmen on their roster.
If I were giving this receiving corps a grade, it would be a C. Under Hank Bachmeier, it looked like they were incapable of creating space. When Taylen Green took over, receivers were open and their numbers improved. Bronco receivers did struggle with some untimely drops over the course of the season. However, the vast majority of this unit is returning in 2023, and Eric McCallister looked like a number-one receiver in the making. I expect big things from this unit this fall.
Despite their struggles on offense, the Wolf Pack did have some very productive receivers in BJ Casteel and Dalevon Campbell. The success of this unit in 2023 will rely heavily on what kind of production they get from the quarterback position. I think the foundation is there; they just need to fill in a few holes.
Similar to the Wolf Pack, it is really hard to gauge how effective this unit was with how much they struggled at quarterback. With a change to a more traditional Air Raid offense, I expect a more productive season from Hawaii wide receivers in 2023.
Brian Cobbs had a really good season, but I expected Justin McGriff to emerge as one of the top receivers in the conference, it just didn’t happen. Like many teams in the Mountain West this past season, we can chalk up some of the struggles to uncertainty at the quarterback position.
Another season concludes and another talented receiver enters the transfer portal. The Cowboys have lost their leading receiver, Joshua Cobbs. If Craig Bohl has any hope of keeping these talented players in Laramie, they have to improve their passing attack. I think the Cowboys need to give one of their young recruits a chance to take over the offense in 2023.
It probably isn’t fair to give this unit a grade. They were miserable at the quarterback position last year and the receivers did not have many opportunities to show what they were capable of. The Lobos’ leading receiver was Geordon Porter and he only had 312 yards.
With the triple option attack, it isn’t fair to give this unit a grade as a whole. I will say that David Cormier was probably one of the most skilled receivers in the conference this past season.
Which team in the Mountain West had the best wide receivers? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.