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Way-Too-Early Depth Chart: Wide Receiver a Question Mark for the Wildcats

Lots of production goes out the door for Northwestern, but that leaves the door open for anyone to step up.

In this edition of our Way-Too-Early Depth Chart series, we took a look at Northwestern's wide receivers. Click on the embedded links to find the previous depth charts for QB, RB, DB, and LB.

Northwestern is currently in a tricky spot at wideout. Out goes their three receivers in Ramaud Chiaokhaio-Bowman (NFL), Riley Lees (NFL), and Kyric McGowan (transferred to Georgia Tech). Last season, this trio ranked among the team's top four receivers in terms of yardage, and their combined 1,008 receiving yards accounted for 61 percent of the Northwestern passing game. This leaves a gaping hole in terms of production, as no other wideout on the roster has over 100 receiving yards.

Junior wideout Malik Washington is now one of the elder statesmen of the room. Last year Washington recorded 51 receiving yards, but his experience should come up huge this year with a lot of roster turnover. 

Berkeley Holman is a senior who caught two passes for 27 yards and will also provide some experience to the room. Bryce Kirtz is also a redshirt sophomore from Indiana who had 67 receiving yards last year.

Redshirt Sophomore Wayne Dennis Jr is one of the tallest wideouts on the roster, and his height (6’3") should provide a different skillset to the room. Genson Hooper-Price hasn’t seen any playing time, but is the tallest receiver on the team at 6’5 and could be used in the red zone, as could 6’3 redshirt sophomore Wayne Dennis Jr

Junior Raymond Niro III had only two catches last year, but has experience at running back and on special teams. Senior wideout JJ Jefferson didn’t play in 2020 (opt-out), but in 2019 caught two touchdowns, including a 50-yarder against UNLV. 

Preston Bacon is a redshirt sophomore who appeared in one game in 2020. Sophomores Jack Moses and Jack Kennedy have appeared in one combined game, but will provide for roster depth, as will redshirt junior Braeden Heald and Will Lansbury.

The Wildcats do have some potential starters entering the program, however. Stephon Robinson Jr. is a graduate transfer from Kansas who caught 45 passes for 727 yards in his last full season at Kansas. He was hurt in 2020, but his explosiveness and playmaking ability should give the offense a jolt it desperately needs. 

Jordan Mosely is a freshman from Alabama who was the Wildcats highest-rated recruit in 2021. He should see playing time right away, as well as freshman Jacob Gill. However, don’t forget about freshman Donnie Gray, the first player to commit to Northwestern last year. He could be a factor as a receiver and in special teams. CJ Johnson III played everywhere for French Camp Academy (MS) but he should be a factor in his first year at receiver or running back.

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This wide receiver room is going to have to do a lot of growing up real soon. According to ESPN’s Bill Connelly, Northwestern is only bringing back 39 percent of its production from 2020, which puts them at 126th in the nation. Most of that damage comes in the receiver room. The Wildcats will have to rely on their recruiting and development to make the difference. 

Stephon Robinson should have the inside track to be a starter based on his experience and explosiveness, and JJ Jefferson should also get a starting nod. In the slot, expect a battle between Malik Washington, Jordan Mosely and Jacob Gill. Every spot is up for grabs, and when the season rolls around, expect Northwestern to have multiple guys rotate in and out of the lineup.

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