Today is the day, folks: Camp beings. At 5 p.m. at California Memorial Stadium, the Bear Raid takes flight. In our final Camp Countdown, we take a look at the mile-long depth chart of wide receivers who will be the heart and soul of this offense.
What about the other position groups? We broke those down – with exclusive video from spring camp -- in previous weeks, and you can find all of them right here:
CAMP COUNTDOWN: Quarterbacks
CAMP COUNTDOWN: Running Backs
CAMP COUNTDOWN: Linebackers
CAMP COUNTDOWN: Defensive Line
CAMP COUNTDOWN: Defensive Backs
CAMP COUNTDOWN: Offensive Line
Don’t forget to check out our special Fall Camp Central message board, which will be the place to get all the latest news and notes from camp over the next three weeks.
BOARDS: Fall Camp Central
We also have everything you'll possibly need for fall camp, right here:
PODCAST: Going Camping
FEATURE: Have a Little Faith
BAY AREA MEDIA DAY: Emptying the Notebook
FEATURE: For McClure, It Feels Like the First Time
BAMD: Handicapping the QB Race
PAC-12 MEDIA DAY: Boehm Makes the Switch
P12MD: Fall Camp, Walk-Ons and More
P12MD: Offense Notebook
P12MD: Bears Lose Two
P12MD: Stay in Your Lane
Without further ado, we get down and dirty with Cal’s wide receivers, starting with the guys on the outside.
X (LEFT OUTSIDE):
5-foot-11, 180 pounds
As a recruit: Five-star prospect, No. 5 wide receiver; 2012 Semper Fidelis All-American … Ran a 10.71 100m during his senior track season at St. John Bosco … Son of former Cal WR Brian Treggs.
6-foot-3, 200 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 84 wide receiver; Cousin of former Bears Keenan Allen and Zach Maynard.
6-foot-6, 215 pounds
As a recruit: Two-star prospect coming out of junior college … Played two seasons at City College of San Francisco … recorded 36 catches for 396 yards over two seasons.
Z (RIGHT OUTSIDE):
6-foot, 180 pounds
As a recruit: Before being named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List this offseason, Harper came in as a relatively unheralded three-star prospect, the No. 81 receiver in the 2012 class.
6-foot-3, 185 pounds
As a recruit: Four-star prospect, No. 42 wide receiver.
OTHERS ON THE OUTSIDE:
6-foot, 180 pounds
As a recruit: Two-star prospect, No. 220 receiver; Ran a 10.8-second 100m on the track team … also played baseball … clocked as fast as 4.47 in 40-yard dash.
6-foot-3, 205 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 84 wide receiver; Originally a Boise State commit.
6-foot, 170 pounds
6-foot-2, 185 pounds
High School: Teammate of quarterback Zach Kline, kicker Matt Anderson, long snapper John Sheperdson and defensive lineman Kyle Kragen at San Ramon Valley … two-time lacrosse All-American who was offered a scholarship to play at Syracuse.
THE SITUATION: California will essentially play three-deep at receiver, with groups of four (two inside, two outside) rotating every three plays, unless there’s a special package. Groupings will also change each game, mixed and matched to best exploit a defense or the hot hand. It will mainly be up to the players to sub in and out, but the coaches obviously have the final say and the override. Bryce Treggs, for one, is loathe to sub out, and his stated mission this season is to run every single play, and in that vein, the rotations won’t be iron-clad or constant. If he or others can keep going at 100%, they won’t be subbed out for the sake of subbing. However, subbing – especially on the outside – is going to be crucial, especially if the Bears run over 80 plays per game. Everyone has to stay fresh.
“I think I’m in great shape right now, and right now, I’m the starter,” Treggs said. “So I don’t plan on coming off the field at all, unless I catch like a deep post, get a 50-yard gain. Then I’ll just signal to Maurice Harris and he’ll come in the game, and I’ll just go to the sideline. “
The outside guys will run the more vertical routes where separation and precision will be at least a bit more important than timing. The personnel on the outside, you’ll notice, are predominantly longer athletes, or your more traditional wide receivers. These are the guys taking the fades and the corner routes, the posts and the like. That doesn’t mean you won’t see Drake Whitehurst on a slant or drag route, but receivers like Whitehurst or Maurice Harris will be used primarily as possession receivers and leapers, while you’ll see Treggs, Chris Harper and Kenny Lawler stretch the field a bit more and use their speed.
TALE OF THE TAPE: Harper had great success last season as more of a traditional slot guy, but he was also put outside as a third wide out with Keenan Allen and Treggs. He’s versatile, fast and a lot more physical than he looks. While Treggs was the most heralded receiver coming in, it was Harper’s ability to go inside and over the middle that got him the lion’s share of the throws not intended for Allen. The Biletnikoff Watch List member hauled in 41 catches for 544 yards and two touchdowns, second on the team in all three categories to Allen.
Treggs was far from a slouch, though, catching 21 balls in nine games for 216 yards and one touchdown.
“I like to get started early, and last year, I was recently shown a statistic that I was only thrown to 29 times,” Treggs said. “I played in nine games, so that’s about three balls thrown to me per game, not even catches. Being thrown to that little is obviously going to humble you and make you realize that it’s not always going to go your way.”
Treggs was limited later in the season by injury, but had a fine freshman campaign that he’s determined to improve upon. He has remarkable focus and maturity, and he and new receivers coach Rob Likens have formed a very close bond in a very short amount of time.
The real one to watch for this year is going to be Lawler. Treggs doesn’t give praise easily, but when he talks about Lawler, he practically glows.
“I know Kenny can compete with anybody in the country,” Treggs said. “And he showed that in the spring.”
Harris also played a bit more freely in the spring, and seemed to have a weight off his shoulders without family members Allen and Maynard around. He immediately picked up the new offense, and his size and hands will be big assets in the red zone.
As for Whitehurst, the best thing he did when he arrived on campus was block. Now, he’s become a much more complete receiver.
“I saw him become more of a natural receiver,” Treggs said. “When he first came in, he was a bit stiff, but now he’s more fluid in his route-running, and his hands are very natural also.”
Newcomers Austin and Coleman each provide something very different. Austin is more in the Whitehurst mold given his size, while Coleman is more of a burner thanks to his track and field background.
“Caleb Coleman, he brings some speed to the table he’s a fast guy. He just needs to work on his hands a little bit but that will come in camp,” Treggs said. “Jack Austin, he’s a real big target and he has very natural hands. His routes are a little bit raw, but once Coach Likens gets with him, he’ll be a great receiver for sure.”
Austin has put on about 15 pounds of muscle since we last saw him on his official visit, and may wind up as another breakout star.
Worstell has quite a bit of chemistry with Zach Kline, and was one of the redshirt freshman quarterback’s favorite receivers during Danville (Calif.) San Ramon Valley’s run to the NCS title game against Concord (Calif.) De La Salle during the 2011 season.
H (LEFT INSIDE):
6-foot-2, 210 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 6 fullback; Played fullback and quarterback, rushed 128 times for 859 yards and 14 TDs as a senior at South Salem, while also completing 84-of-178 passes for 1,182 yards and 12 TDs, and making 11 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown … also had 1.0 sack and two fumble recoveries on defense, blocked one kick, and posted a 33.8 yard average as the team’s punter.
6-foot-3, 215 pounds
As a recruit: Four-star prospect, No. 17 quarterback in the 2011 class.
6-foot-3, 210 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 106 receiver; 2012 Under Armour All-American.
5-foot-10, 190 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 67 cornerback; Came in as a two-way athlete, will play wide receiver in 2013.
Y (RIGHT INSIDE):
6-foot-4, 245 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 65 receiver … recruited as a true tight end … Father Richard Rodgers, Sr., was a part of The Play.
6-foot, 180 pounds
6-foot-2, 210 pounds
OTHERS ON THE INSIDE:
6-foot-5, 220 pounds
5-foot-10, 205 pounds
6-foot-3, 235 pounds
As a recruit: Three-star prospect, No. 59 tight end. Participated in Cal State Game.
6-foot-4, 250 pounds
As a recruit: Two-sport athlete (baseball), three-star prospect, No. 38 tight end … 37th-round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in the 2010 MLB Draft.
6-foot-4, 215 pounds
THE SITUATION: There really isn’t one “type” for the inside receiver in this offense. While the mind first goes to the bigger, tight-end-type targets, there is a lot of room for variance given the talent available. The fact that Bouza and Willis are in the mix, along with Powe and Rodgers, means that there are several different ways to utilize the two inside positions: Using traditional, smaller, slot-type receivers for underneath routes and speed; using bigger bodies like Wark or Rodgers to catch the ball in traffic; using tweener H-back types like Hagan and Hudson to cause match-up problems.
TALE OF THE TAPE: Cal got some good news on the eve of fall camp, when Hagan was completely cleared for action by the medical staff, according to a source close to him. Like Rodgers and Hudson, Hagan is a tight end/H-back who came up as a receiver, which gives the Bears three targets who can cause huge match up problems either due to their speed, size or both. With Hagan healthy, Hudson can certainly afford to redshirt, but given the sheer amount of plays this offense runs, he may need to play in order to spell the other two, but given his offseason knee and hip surgeries, there’s certainly enough reason to redshirt him.
Rodgers has perhaps come the furthest among the inside receivers since fall camp. At one point, he was as heavy as 280 pounds. It showed. Rodgers looked slow and plodding, like he was running in pudding. Now, he’s slimmed down by somewhere on the order of 30 pounds, and is in far better shape. When Rodgers is going well, he’s just about impossible to account for on defense. His virtuoso performance last year against UCLA – when he hauled in seven balls for a team-high 129 yards – only scratched the surface of his potential.
Moving across the spectrum of body types, we come to Powe. As you can see in our inside receivers video above, the big, 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is moving very well, and has actually dropped weight since last season. He’s more of a traditional outside receiver, but his size, strength and hands are what make him a fit for the inside spot. Powe’s strength has always been as a possession receiver, particularly in the red zone or on the goal line, where he can post up smaller corners or shake safeties.
Anderson has been around for quite some time, but hasn’t really made any kind of impact because frankly, he didn’t have to. The Bears had plenty of experienced or highly-recruited receivers for two- or three-wide sets, but now that Cal is going to be going four-wide almost as a rule, he could see his first meaningful action, after playing in four games in 2012. Anderson has shown some ability in the last two spring games, catching one ball for 12 yards this spring, and leading all players with 96 yards on two catches in the 2012 spring game, including a 75-yard TD and a 21-yard grab.
While earlier, we’d put Willis with the defensive backs, provisionally, it’s since been revealed that he’ll be a receiver, exclusively, and he’ll bring a lot of speed to that position. In 2012, he played 12 games off the bench on special teams and as a reserve receiver, but didn’t get a pass thrown his way. As a senior at Garden Grove (Calif.) Pacifica, he tallied 90 tackles and three forced fumbles on defense, while making 40 catches for 905 yards and rushing for 345 yards and five touchdowns on offense, adding three touchdowns on returns (two kickoffs of 95 and 77 yards; one punt for 75). Willis has good ball skills, is improving as a receiver and could be a very effective weapon in the slot.
Bouza and McGovern don’t have Willis’s speed, but they both have very, very good hands. What’s easily forgotten about McGovern is that he played as a true freshman after taking a spot as a preferred walk-on. That doesn’t happen very often. Granted, most of his contributions have come on special teams, but that’s perfect for Dykes and crew, who love to use every asset possible in the third phase of the game. McGovern and Bouza are both very tough, hard-nosed receivers who aren’t afraid to catch the ball in traffic. Gun to my head, Bouza probably has the better hands, but there’s not much difference.
At Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista, McGovern finished his career with 177 grabs for 3,263 yards and 28 touchdowns. As a junior, he set a Northern California single-season record with 2,083 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. He knows how to make things happen, even though he may not be the most athletic guy on the field. In an execution- and timing-based offense, guys like McGovern can have a big impact.
Bouza has done just about everything asked of him in the past four years. He was co-Scout Team Player of the Year in 2010, played in five games with three catches for 32 yards in 2011 (two of those grabs coming for 28 yards during a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter in the Big Game) and played in all 12 games in 2012 off the bench. Neither the biggest nor the fastest receiver, Bouza is a grinder.
Wark and Davis were mentioned earlier in our running backs preview because of their primary involvement in the Bone formation, but as tight ends by trade, each of them can catch the ball well, and Wark has only improved his hands thanks to spending spring in the outfield for the baseball team.
I’ve saved the most intriguing option for last: Former quarterback Kyle Boehm. As the quarterback of a run-first offense at San Jose (Caif.) Archbishop Mitty, Boehm rushed for 861 yards as a junior in 2009 and had 596 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on the ground on 129 carries as a senior. As Dykes said at Pac-12 Media Day, Boehm is “physical … he’s tough and mean,” and he opens up a lot of options for trickeration should the need arise. Between wildcat formations, end-arounds and fly sweeps, Boehm provides a very versatile and unique athlete, particularly down deep and on the goal line. He wasn’t incredibly thrilled with the move from quarterback to Swiss Army knife, but once he had a few practices under his belt at the position, he was fighting back smiles while catching the ball this spring. Boehm would have been buried on the depth chart at quarterback because he has neither the arm nor the accuracy of his younger teammates -- Zach Kline and Jared Goff -- but this could be his big opportunity to contribute.
“Kyle, he’s very athletic, surprisingly,” said Treggs. “He has really good hands, so when he goes out there, we really don’t have to coach him up. He’s just a natural athlete. He understands how to run routes, and he understands how to catch the ball.”