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Five Most Important Juniors on Offense

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"Five" is a series of five things, players, thoughts or whatever I think will fill a post.

You're probably going to tell me that this is a pitiful list, but if you look at the roster (PDF), there are only a handful of offensive junior players on the team, three of them are junior college players. The pickings are slim.

1. WR Eric Ward | My personal opinion is that Ward is the best receiving on the team, including Darrin Moore. Not at all afraid to say that. Quite simply, I think that Ward has better ability to be an impact receiver even though Moore absolutely burst onto the scene. I think that Ward is easily the best junior on the team and that isn’t close either. I’ve talked at length about how Ward has improved his game significantly from his redshirt to sophomore year and I think that you can expect an even better junior year. The thing that probably impressed me the most was that Ward was so consistent for most of the year, especially when Moore was injured, which means that teams could focus on Ward.

2. WR Javon Bell | I don’t know that Javon Bell is even going to play this year. I think if the staff had it their way, they’d redshirt Bell this year, just like they wanted to redshirt Marcus Kennard last year, and let him gain some weight and figure out how to be a receiver. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Bell is pretty good, he had a really nice catch during the spring game, but when I look at the depth chart, I just don’t see where Bell is going to get significant catches. In fact right now, Bell is running third behind Moore and Bradley Marquez. But there will be more room for Bell to spread his wings next year, and make no mistake, I think that Bell is one of those players that could make a significant impact next year with a bit more time to add weight and figure out the scheme.

3. P Ryan Erxleben | Is a punter even an offensive player? Should a punter even be on this list? These are all good questions, but they are questions I’m going to ignore and just tell you that, unfortunately Erxleben was an all too important part of the machine last year. Last year alone, Erxleben had 57 punts and was actually sixth in the Big 12 at 41.68 per punt. Again, not bad, but I think we can all agree that 57 punts is too many punts. Punts are bad. Real bad. I don’t ever want to have to award the special teams MVP to Erxleben ever again. That was depressing.

More after the jump.

4. OT Rashad Fortenberry | Like Bell, another player that I hope never sees a down of football this year. With Fortenberry only weighing 279 when he checked in earlier in the spring, my guess is that he’s probably a very athletic player for his size, but could use the extra year to put on some size to be able to play at the tackle spot. Still, I really like the idea of a projectable player that could even move inside, he’s only 6-4, to a guard spot if needed or has the athleticism to play at the tackle too. I like having a bit of versatility, especially considering that the offensive line is going to go through a significant change after this year with the graduation of the left tackle (LaAdrian Waddle), the right or left guard (Brian Thomas, TAMU transfer), the center (Deveric Gallington), and right guard (Terry McDaniel). That’s four starters, so there’s going to need to be some depth there that is ready to play next year.

5. Some Player | I really don’t know who else to pick. Here are your options, Kyle Clark, who I do not ever remember seeing play football. Aaron Fisher, who only caught 5 passes last year. Sadale Foster who is another JUCO recruit. Again, forgive me, but right now Fisher is sitting at 4th on the depth chart at inside receiver and you would think that there would be a player that would be higher on the list, but I’ve never seen Kyle Clark ever take a snap, but I think I recall seeing him during the spring game and he was okay, but nothing that really stood out to me. I think I could have also gone with Sadale Foster, especially if he’s utilized in a role that highlights his return ability and ability to play running back and inside receiver. But I’m going to stick with Fisher because I am stubborn and I actually think he can play if given the time. Fisher’s biggest problem last year was just getting into the game, but in Texas Tech’s biggest game he caught 3 passes for 43 yards and was a significant player in that game. So you see that there are really just a few options here and I’m not sure who I should pick.