A Look at the 2007 SFA Wide Receivers
Aug. 14, 2007
NACOGDOCHES - We have taken time to look at the Lumberjack quarterbacks and running backs to this point during preseason camp. And yes, there is a lot to smile about for SFA fans when thinking about those two positions, but having a strong running back can be neutralized if you don't have a group of receivers who can get the ball up the field. Having a strong-armed quarterback without a stable of talented receivers who can get open tends to make an offense a little one dimensional. Well, luckily for head coach J.C. Harper and his staff, the 'Jacks have receivers that can do both.
Leading the Lumberjacks' talented corps of receivers is 6-3, 200-pound East Texas native Dominique Edison. A San Augustine, Texas, native, Edison finished second on the team last season hauling in 30 passes, but led the squad with 556 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
A 2006 honorable mention All-Southland Conference selection, Edison finished tied for seventh in the league averaging three receptions per game, and was second in the SLC averaging 54.3 receiving yards per game. The return of Edison provides Southall with a legitimate deep-ball threat on the field at all times.
"Dominique is a great receiver," said Nunn. "His numbers speak for themselves during his first two years here. We need him to continue to be a threat down the field, which will help open up the run game. He is simply a pleasure to coach."
Along with all the skills he brings to the field, Edison presents a serious challenge to opposing secondaries. At 6-3, 200 pounds, there are not too many cornerbacks who will be able to match up to his size and strength. Add to that Edison's ability to go up and get the ball, and that makes him an imposing figure on the gridiron.
But Edison will need some help for SFA to be successful in 2007. That is where senior Nick Rhodes and sophomore Aaron Rhea come into play. A transfer from Trinity Valley Community College, Rhodes made an impact during his first season on campus, starting the final four games of the season.
"Nick Rhodes looks to be the starter at the X receiver," said Nunn. "Nick is the type of receiver who has great hands and runs nice routs. He came in here last year and made an immediate impact, and continues to do a great job for our team."
Rhodes is a great compliment to Edison. A sure-handed receiver, he still has the speed to separate himself from defenders. He played in all 11 games last season and hauled in 26 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown, but has been slowed a bit by an injury during fall camp.
The emergence of Aaron Rhea should provide Southall with another quality target in 2007. Rhea made 13 grabs last season for 120 yards, but has really come on during fall camp. Despite limited playing time during his redshirt freshman season, Rhea showed flashes of brilliance at times. And don't forget, Rhea spent his childhood going toe-to-toe against brother, Stephon, who has been a letterwinner in the Lumberjack secondary each of the past two seasons.
"Rhea has been a pleasant surprise during preseason workouts," said receiver coach Arlington Nunn. "He didn't have a great spring, but he has received more playing time since Dominique has been slowed by an injury. Rhea has really stepped up during this time, and there is going to be a battle at the Z receiver spot."
Contrevious Parks is a 5-10, 180-speedster from Killeen, Texas who could also figure into the Lumberjack offense this season. Used sparingly during his rookie season, Parks has the size, speed and athletic ability that should earn him quality minutes this season.
"Contrevious has great speed and we will work to get the ball in his hands," said Nunn. He is working to become a better receiver everyday, but he is really effective when we get him the ball on speed sweeps and reverses."
The Lumberjacks also have a number of athletes on the roster that should not be counted out heading into the 2007 season. Senior Daniel Foster and Lufkin sophomore Zek Fancher have both gotten stronger during the offseason and could see vauluable minutes for SFA.
The 'Jacks also welcomed in a crop of talented receivers during the recruiting season that include Marcus Taylor (Galveston, Texas), Roderick Warren (Tyler, Texas), Trey Parker (Sugar Land, Texas) and Garret Williams (Houston, Texas).
"It is always tough making the transition from the high school game to college, but we brought in a solid crop of receivers during the recruiting season," said Nunn. "We have in a young man from Galveston Ball High School by the name of Marcus Taylor who has similar speed to Parks. He is also a real quick receiver who can catch and run the reverse.
"Along with Taylor, Garret Williams and Trey Parker have done a fine job during camp. They both have stepped up and are making plays. Garret is a little banged up right now, so we are trying to get him healthy."
Although the Lumberjacks return a lot of the same faces from a 2006 squad that put some big numbers on the gridiron, they all understand their roles have changed from previous seasons.
"These guys make plays, but they understand that their roles have changed some also," said Nunn. "This isn't the old four-wide spread offense we used to run. They are going to have to play a bigger role in terms of making blocks and helping out the run game. They have accepted that challenge, and they know if they help open up the run game it's only going to strengthen the pass game."