Led by junior wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith, the Knights have a talented group of wide receivers and tight ends ready to make an impact in 2017.
Smith, the 2015 American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, has posted a pair of prolific seasons so far in his career with the Knights. He is averaging nearly 800 yards receiving per season. In addition to his productivity, he regularly produces SportsCenter Top 10-worthy highlights.
Smith hauled in 57 balls last season, racking up 853 yards and five TDs.
Meanwhile, the Knights have a pair of tight ends who have enough athleticism that they’ve both seen action at wide receiver during their time with the Black and Gold.
Junior Jordan Akins converted to tight end last season after missing much of 2015 with a knee injury. He was the team’s third-leading receiver in 2016 and actually led the squad in yards per reception. Akins grabbed 23 receptions for 347 yards and two scores last season. Senior Jordan Franks caught 11 passes for 143 yards last year. Franks’ versatility has led to him seeing action at multiple positions on both offense and defense for the Knights. Senior Michael Colubiale saw action in each game last season in more of a blocking role, but still recorded a pair of receptions.
“We should be really good at tight end,” Frost said. “We have three guys at tight end who all got a lot better, particularly in the run game this spring. Jordan Akins, Jordan Franks and Michael Colubiale have all improved and I feel really good about that spot.”
Junior Cam Stewart returns at wide receiver, as well. The lanky Georgia native saw action in every game last season, catching 18 passes for 172 yards. Talented sophomore Dredrick Snelson also looks to continue making an impact in his second season on the roster. Snelson recorded 17 receptions with a pair of touchdowns as a freshman.
Sophomore wide receiver Jaquarius Bargnare is coming off a knee injury suffered in the Cure Bowl. The talented youngster saw action in 10 games as a true freshman in 2016 with six receptions.
Early enrollee Emmanuel Greene turned heads at wide receiver during spring practice and will likely push for playing time as a true freshman.
The Knights are also high on incoming freshmen Gabriel Davis and Marlon Williams, while Speedy sophomore running back Adrian Killins will likely see some time in the slot. Otis Anderson, another early enrollee true frosh, is listed at running back but is also expected to see action at receiver.
“I thought Cam Stewart made big improvements,” Frost said. “Having Manny Greene on campus early is going to give him a leg up on some other guys. Adrian Killins played receiver some this spring and did a good job. Otis Anderson is another young kid that I think is going to split time between running back and receiver and give us some things. Dredrick Snelson did some good things in spring. I feel pretty good about where the wide receiver position is going.”
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