Skip to main content

2022 Louisville Football Position Breakdown: Wide Receiver

The Cardinals once again have a lot of turnover at receiver, but have loads of potential heading into next season.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

As we inch closer to the start of the 2022 college football season, Louisville Report will break down each individual position on the Cardinals' roster. Next in our positional breakdown series, we take at look at the wide receivers.

Position Roster Movement:

Returning (3): Ahmari Huggins-Bruce, Josh Johnson, Braden Smith
Departing (5): Demetrius Cannon (Transfer - JUCO), Tyler Harrell (Transfer - Alabama), Justin Marshall (Transfer - Buffalo), Jordan Watkins (Transfer - Ole Miss), Shai Werts (Graduation)
Incoming (5): Chris Bell (HS), Tyler Hudson (Transfer - FCS Central Arkansas), Chance Morrow (HS), Devaughn Mortimer (HS), Dee Wiggins (Transfer - Miami)

Projected Depth Chart:

Wide Receiver (X)

  1. Tyler Hudson (6-2, 197, Jr.)
  2. Dee Wiggins (6-3, 195, Jr.)
  3. Chance Morrow (6-6, 200, Fr.)

Wide Receiver (Z)

  1. Ahmari Huggins-Bruce (5-10, 163, So.)
  2. Devaughn Mortimer (5-11, 178, Fr.)
  3. Chris Bell (6-2, 220, Fr.)

Slot Receiver 

  1. Braden Smith (5-10, 192, Sr.)
  2. Josh Johnson (5-11, 178, Gr.)

Breakdown:

Just like last offseason, Louisville finds themselves losing a good amount of production in the wide receiver room. With Tyler Harrell, Jordan Watkins and Justin Marshall all hitting the transfer portal, three of the Cardinals' top five wideouts are now gone. Last season, they combined for 1,374 yards and 11 touchdowns.

But unlike this time last year, Louisville is entering the season with a couple established options. Ahmari Huggins-Bruce had a standout freshman campaign with 29 receptions for 44 yards and four touchdowns, and Braden Smith looked like he was in line for a productive year before suffering a season-ending knee injury early in the year. Josh Johnson also gives the WR room a veteran presence.

Yes, there is a decent amount of turnover for the second year in a row, but most of the incoming options have loads of potential.The biggest name to watch here is, without a doubt, Tyler Hudson. He was named a Second Team AP FCS All-American last season for Central Arkansas, finishing the year with 62 receptions for 1,242 yards and eight touchdowns. So far, he has made a near-seamless transition to Louisville, with the offensive coaches raving about his performance in spring ball. It wouldn't be surprising to see him emerge as the No. 1 option in the fall.

But don't count out on Dee Wiggins having an impact year, either. Before getting buried on the depth chart at Miami last season, he had 51 receptions for 693 yards and seven touchdowns over his sophomore and junior years. Louisville knows first-hand his big play potential, logging 85 yards and two touchdowns on just three receptions against the Cards in 2019.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Behind the guys with collegiate reps, Louisville has a trio of incoming freshman receivers. Chance Morrow and Chris Bell are likely to take redshirts or have a minimal role in 2022, but it's very possible that Devaughn Mortimer - a former top-400 prospect - earns some decent early playing time.

As far as exact roles on the team go, Louisville has a wide receiver room that is fairly flexible. Hudson and Wiggins are likely going to stay outside the numbers, but Huggins-Bruce, Smith and Mortimer can all bounce between the slot and the boundary.

One factor of the roles will honestly be Smith's health, although he appears to be on track to be 100 percent for the start of the season. If he can't go, anticipate either Huggins-Bruce or Mortimer to take on heavier slot receiver type roles, with Hudson and Wiggins being your go-to outside guys at X and Z.

The biggest question regarding the position heading into next season, is who exactly will replace Tyler Harrell as the deep ball threat? His surprise "transfer" not only impacted Louisville from a production standpoint, but vastly alters the overall offensive scheme considering his skill set and talent. Until someone establishing themselves as a legitimate play-in and play-out deep ball threat, defensive are likely not going to play as deep as they normally would with Harrell lining up.

The most likely candidate here is Huggins-Bruce, as he displayed his open field speed last year on a handful of occasions. But a guy like Hudson may come out and surprise people with his ability to go deep. If someone can establish that role early, it will make it much easier on not only the receivers who play underneath, but for Cunningham as well.

Overall, Louisville has to feel good about the wide receiver position. Sure, you no longer have the faster player in college football and there are only a few returners from last season. But Huggins-Bruce has breakout potential, Smith is a threat when healthy, Hudson could be an All-ACC sleeper, and the rest of the room has the ability to contribute. 

This might be a position a little too reliant on potential, but it's hard to ignore what is possible here. Especially with how loaded the running back room is, which will make play-action passes a massive threat to opposing defenses.

Other Position Breakdowns:

(Photo of Ahmari Huggins-Bruce: Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

You can follow Louisville Report for future coverage by liking us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:

Facebook - @LouisvilleReport
Twitter - @UofLReport
Instagram - @louisville_report

You can also follow Deputy Editor Matthew McGavic at @Matt_McGavic on Twitter