A Look at the 2006 SFA Tight Ends and Receivers
Aug. 20, 2006
NACOGDOCHES - The 2005 version of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team recorded one of the more dominant air raid attacks in the country as the receivers hauled in 230 passes averaging more than 283 yards per game. The 'Jacks led the Southland Conference and finished 12th in the nation in passing offense, and it wasn't uncommon to see four 'Jacks among the league's top 10 in receiving statistics. After numbers like that, even the most die-hard fans would believe it to be impossible to improve the following season. Well, those die-hard fans would be wrong.
The Lumberjacks return a ton of talent from that 2005 squad, to go along with an influx of young talent, a crafty quarterback and an improved running game. The 2006 version of the 'Jacks' aerial attack could resemble a Blue Angels Air Show, except for the color blue.
Junior Tyrell Williams is the elder statesman on the Lumberjack roster. The 6-5, 214-pound Williams is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign that saw him start all 11 games, record 36 catches for 549 and tie for team-high honors with five touchdowns. Williams finished the year eighth in the league averaging 3.6 catches per game and seventh in the league averaging 54.9 yards per game.
"Tyrell is our most experienced receiver," said SFA receivers coach Arlington Nunn. "He serves as the leader of our wide outs. Williams had some big-time receptions last year, including a 64-yard touchdown to help regain the momentum against Southern Utah and an 18-yard TD reception against Nicholls State to send the game into overtime."
Sticking with the "break-out season" theme, SFA fans cannot overlook sophomore Dominique Edison. A 6-4, 195-pound target from San Augustine High School, Edison really jumped on the scene, and in the minds of defensive coordinators, in the Lumberjacks' third game of the season. Edison hauled in five catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns that night against Western Illinois as SFA cruised to the 63-36 victory. Despite not recording a start in his rookie season, Edison recorded 30 catches for 556 yards and four touchdowns. He finished ninth in the league averaging 50.5 yards per game.
"Dominique played quite a bit last year, despite not starting," said Nunn. "I expect him to start this season. He is the fastest receiver we have, and probably one of the most explosive players on the whole team."
Another sophomore that could have an impact this season is 6-4, 213-pound Lloyd Ligons from Dayton, Texas. Despite recording only two catches in six games last year, Ligons has had a great preseason camp and maybe playing himself into some early playing time this season.
"Lloyd has really stepped it up in camp," said Nunn. "We expect him to play a big role this season."
In the 'Jacks recent scrimmage, Ligons hauled in two catches for 57 yards, including 51-yard scoring strike from redshirt freshman quarterback Clint Bricker.
The SFA coaching staff also hit the recruiting trail this past offseason to add some weapons to its group of receivers, bringing in junior college talent Nick Rhodes and prep standout Contrevious Parks.
Rhodes is a 6-1, 204-pound athlete from Trinity Valley Community College. Rhodes brings a winning attitude to SFA after guiding TVCC to a conference and regional title, while Parks is a 5-10, 183-pound speedster from Killeen, Texas.
"Nick has big-time ability," said Nunn. "He has come here and made some nice plays during camp. He's the type of receiver with really soft hands and goes after the ball better than anyone I've seen. We're expecting Nick to make a big impact in our offense."
"Contrevious is another explosive player. He has a track background clocking a 10.5 in the 100 meters. Contrevious is still learning the system right now, but there is no telling how good he will be when he truly understands our system," added Nunn.
Junior Daniel Foster should also see some increased playing time this season. Although not the fastest receiver on the team, Foster gets the job done with other aspects of his game.
"Daniel Foster is our best route-runner," said Nunn. "He is a guy who walked-on to our program and works really hard. He really takes pride in running proper routes. He just has a way of getting open. Despite being a walk-on, we expect him to play for us this year."
With all this talent, Lumberjack fans can't overlook 6-1, 204-pound Aaron Rhea, the younger brother of SFA defensive back Stephon Rhea. Aaron utilized his redshirt season in 2005, but has already begun to turn some heads during fall camp. Although he didn't catch a pass in the 'Jacks' first fall scrimmage, Rhea utilized his speed running the reverse. Rhea had his number called twice during the scrimmage picking up runs of 18 and 12 yards, respectively.
The tight end position rarely ever garners the respect or hype that wide receivers do, but it was made evident in 2005 that under SFA head coach Robert McFarland they are no less important. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case the stats, as 2005 senior Matt Bodley earned honorable mention All-SLC honors after a career year last season.
This season SFA will look to a handful of veterans to lock down the spot. The 'Jacks will be counting on 6-3, 246-pound senior David Coleman and classmate Andrew Fleck to lock down the position in 2006. Coleman is the top returning tight end after the graduation of Bodley a year ago, while Fleck is making the switch from his defensive end position where he started all 11 games in 2005.
"Coleman is more of a receiving threat from the tight end position," said SFA tight ends coach B.J. McNutt. "Fleck will be utilized more as an H-back. We feel he is a little better receiver and blocker coming out of the backfield because he has experience with that coming from Virginia Tech."
Senior Mike Benson is 6-5, 246-pound athlete who will also see some time at tight end. He is following a similar path as Fleck. Although Benson transferred from SMU, he played a majority of the 2005 season on the defensive line before making the switch to tight end a year ago.