Greetings, Lion fans. With the school and athletic year in the books, it will be a little over three months before things pick up again, so today, we’ll keep the home fires burning with a look at the 2019 Lion receiving corps.
Graduation has taken a toll on this group. Marquis Wimberly(60-862, 14.3 ypc, 8 touchdowns), Vincent Hobbs(35-343, 9.8 ypc, 4 touchdowns), and Darrion Landry(7-66, 9.43 ypc) hang up the blue and gold having permanently etched their names into Lion lore as among the best. Replacing them will not be easy, but David Bailiff has a well stocked roster from which to work.
Ryan Stokes(40-703, 17.5 ypc, 5 touchdowns)returns to lead the receivers. Stokes burst onto the scene last year with highlight reel performances against Midwestern State, and in the playoff game against Tarleton. Blessed with size, speed, and great hands, Stokes looks to improve on his perfomance in 2018.
Matt Childers(27-315, 11.6 ypc, 1 touchdown)burst onto the scene off of a redshirt season to become very viable option for the Lion offense. A former high school quarterback, Childers also threw for a touchdown pass in 2018. He’s been referred to here at The Wire as a “Swiss Army Knife” type of player. Meaning he can fulfill any role that it needed. The type of players that coaches love to have. The future is very bright for him.
Chance Cooper(21-231, 11.0 ypc, 1 touchdown)also was a big surprise for the Lions. A very good route runner with good hands, Cooper is a solid bet to shine in 2019.
Kelan Smith(13-163, 12.5 ypc)looks to rebound from a disappointing 2018 season. Smith was outstanding during the championship run of 2017, filling in for an injured Buck Wilson. Smith has all the tools needed for stardom, and is looking forward to the new season.
Tyler Guice(7-82, 11.7 ypc)did an outstanding job complementing Vincent Hobbs in 2018. Built along the lines of Hobbs, with great size and strength, Guice is looking to cement his name among the great tight ends that have played for the Lions.
The biggest factor that has made the Lion offense so explosive and productive in recent history is balance. Lion running backs have been a nightmare for opposing defenses with their ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. EJ Thompson(6-91, 15.7 ypc)was a real threat in an injury shortened season. Nate Davis caught only 3 balls, but for an amazing 27 yards per catch. Carandale Hale has amassed a great deal of all purpose yards.
With a new coaching staff in place, there are many questions surrounding the Lion offense, given their struggles at times in 2018. Given what we’ve seen in the spring game, with the more balanced look and new offensive formations, the Lions look ready to roll in 2019.
It’s now 115 days until kickoff. See You At The Hawk.