Position flexibility sought for Louisville receivers
Competition has carried Louisville football’s receiving core early in fall camp as several players look to emerge as contributors this season.
Atwell led the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in receiving yards and touchdowns last year while finished second on the team with 635 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Beyond Atwell and Fitzpatrick, newcomers and returners are vying for opportunities according to wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer.
“We have a lot of competition, we have some veteran guys and some young guys,” Brewer said. “Competition is the best thing that you can do to get better.”
Brewer wants Louisville receivers to have position flexibility.
Braden Smith, a junior college transfer, has the ability to play multiple spots. The 5-foot-10 receiver adds depth on the outside and slot.
“Braden has come in and done a nice job of having the ability to play more than one spot,” Brewer said.
With the graduation of Seth Dawkins, Justin Marshall has the opportunity to contribute on the outside.
The 6-foot-3 receiver, who had six receptions for 135 yards last season, has transitioned from X to the Z position as a receiver.
“He has a lot of play strength, he is a physical guy,” Brewer said. “There are times we need a big body, he can run.”
Corey Reed, who transferred back to Louisville, is a 6-foot-3 receiver that Brewer says has had a nice fall camp so far.
After missing the 2019 season due to injury, Josh Johnson is being used in the slot and on the outside. Brewer said the 5-foot-11 redshirt junior will continue to gain confidence as he returns from injury.
“That young man has been through such a tough career injury-wise,” Brewer said. “He is 100%.”
Jordan Watkins, a freshman from Louisville, has shown flashes of ability and athleticism during camp.
“He [Watkins] is very fast, that is one thing that caught my eye,” Fitzpatrick said. “He knows how to stop with his speed.”