A look at the wide receivers
8 of top 9 receivers returnAugust 4, 2009 · Athletic Communications
Key Losses: Eldred King
Battle to Watch: Senior Desmond Gee was expected to battle Eldred King for the starting H spot but that will not happen due to King's unexpected dismissal during the summer. The big question now will be who provides depth behind Gee and it will be wide-open for that spot this fall. Gee moved back to wide receiver in the spring after playing running back last fall and is one of the most exciting players in the league when he is in open space.
Spring Standout: Senior Chris McClover had the most noticeable improvement of any receiver on the roster during spring practice. In 15 practice sessions, McClover had the fewest drops of any player and is catching the ball now better than ever. With his size, McClover could be the X factor for the Blue Raiders in 2009.
Coach Justin Watts on the wide receivers
"We have a good group of experienced players with all our major contributors back from last year. The fall camp will be key as it will determine who we have on the field during crunch time of games, but with this offense a lot of receivers will be rotating in. Our receivers will be required to be great run blockers as well as pass catchers so being able to block will go a long way with playing time. We return a great deal of speed among this group, and we are excited about their big-play capability for 2009."
Wide Receiver (X)
CHRIS MCCLOVER (Senior) - Is coming off a great spring where he improved on his consistency of catching the football and obtaining a better grasp of the offense ... Brings a big body to the receiving corps who can create mismatches with the opposing secondary ... Needs to improve his technique of route running.
ANDREW BANKS (r-Sophomore) - A very intelligent player who understands how to position himself to catch the ball ... Worked extremely hard during the spring to fight for playing time in the fall and is in position ... Needs to get stronger in order to be a more effective run blocker.
SANCHO MCDONALD (Sophomore) - Was injured for 75 percent of spring practice, which set him back in the new offense ... Showed last year that he can make big plays but is still learning how to play the position after moving from quarterback.
Wide Receiver (H)
DESMOND GEE (Senior) - Enjoyed a really good spring after making the move from running back to receiver ... Adds a dimension to the offense by matching a playmaker up against a linebacker or safety ... Coach Watts calls him one of the best practice players he has ever been around ... Needs to improve on sticking his routes.
MICHAEL CANNON (r-Senior) - Was limited during the spring following ACL surgery but was further along than the coaches had hoped ... Picked up the offense fast and competed hard every day during spring practice ... Coaches are looking forward to seeing him full speed in the fall.
Wide Receiver (Y)
MALCOLM BEYAH (Sophomore) - As a freshman he made most of his plays on athletic ability, but he really improved as a receiver during the spring ... He got better every day of the spring with his route running but is still very young at the position ... Needs to become a more consistent run blocker.
GENE DELLE DONNE (r-Senior) - The former quarterback and tight end adjusted well to playing in space as part of the new offense this past spring ... His size allows him to box defenders out, and he can make catches in traffic, which helps move the chains ... Does a good job of using his large frame to block smaller defenders ... Needs to continue learning how to play in space.
WES CALDWELL (Junior) - Coaches did not get a good read on him in the new offense during the spring due to his commitment to baseball ... However, the staff was impressed with his play during his five practices and thought he adjusted well to moving from the outside to the slot ... Picked up on the offense fast while playing two sports ... Needs to improve on route running.
Wide Receiver (Z)
PATRICK HONEYCUTT (r-Senior) - Is the most complete and toughest receiver on the team ... Brings his lunch pail to work every day and is very consistent ... A sure-handed receiver who needs to continue developing his leadership skills.
GARRETT ANDREWS (Junior) - A newcomer who should add a physical presence with his size ... Will be a mismatch against most defensive backs at 6-3 ... Turned in impressive numbers at the junior college ranks and does an excellent job in positioning himself to catch the football.
83 *Andrew Banks (r-So., WR)
4 Malcolm Beyah (So., WR)
81 Wes Caldwell (Jr., WR)
13 Michael Cannon (r-Sr., WR)
16 Gene Delle Donne (r-Sr., WR)
2 Desmond Gee (Sr., WR)
17 Patrick Honeycutt (r-Sr., WR)
1 Chris McClover (Sr. , WR)
15 Sancho McDonald (So., WR)
86 Byron McLeod (r-So., WR)
88 Marcus Thurmond (r-Fr., WR)
*Shane Blissard (r-So., WR)
*Harold Turner Jr. (r-Fr., WR)
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
More Football NewsFeb 17, 2014: Raiders' game at ODU moved to Friday
Feb 14, 2014: Stockstill inks highly-rated cornerback
Feb 11, 2014: Mat drills to get started Monday
Feb 6, 2014: Stockstill names West as defensive line coach
Feb 5, 2014: Raiders ink 23 on National Signing Day
Feb 4, 2014: Signing Day to feature live show, ticker, and more