Shrine Bowl WR RosterOn the NFL side of things, this year’s divisional round matchups provided one of the greatest weekends of playoff football we’ve ever seen. The winners all moved on to their respective conference championships, but for the losers, it’s time to look ahead to the offseason and the upcoming draft. They’ll soon get a chance to take a closer look at some of this year’s prospects in the upcoming all-star showcases: the East-West Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl. Here’s everything you need to know about the Shrine Bowl wide receivers.
Stanley Berryhill III, ArizonaStanley Berryhill III put together a solid 2021 season, racking up 744 yards on 83 receptions, including a couple of 100-yard games but just one touchdown. He’s a speedy receiver with a solid route-running ability from both the slot and outside. The Tucson native has also shown an ability to create separation and find gaps in zone coverage, settling in his routes when he gets to the open field. When he gets the ball in his hands, the receiver can create yards after the catch with his quick feet and agility that allow him to avoid defenders. In addition to his receiving duties, Berryhill also has experience as a kick/punt returner.
Tanner Conner, Idaho StateTanner Conner followed up a solid junior year with a better showing in 2021. He finished the season with 735 yards and four touchdowns on 42 catches. Conner is strong and quick, which allows him to get off the line easily, but he relies more on being physical than fast in the open field. His hands are inconsistent, sometimes dropping easy throws, and he often catches the ball with his pads rather than his hands. In addition to football, Conner was a member of ISU’s track and field team, where he won a Big Sky Championship in the 60-meter hurdle.
Emeka Emezie, NC StateEmeka Emezie finished his career at NC State as the program’s all-time receptions leader. He often relies on his physicality and strength over his footwork and technique in his routes. As a result, Emezie has the ability to win on contested catches, but he isn’t a strong route-runner, often slowing down and not maximizing efficiency in his cuts. That means he’s had to lean more on his physicality to complete catches without the ability to create separation.
Ty Fryfogle, IndianaAfter a strong 2020 showing, Ty Fryfogle regressed in the final year of his college career. Like Emezie, he’s a big, physical receiver that isn’t as big of a threat in quickness, route-running, or creating separation. That said, he does well in tight coverage by using his size to his advantage and can put up good numbers on intermediate-to-deep throws when he has to go up and get the ball. He doesn’t have as much potential on quick, short routes nor with creating yards after the catch.
Jaivon Heiligh, Coastal CarolinaJaivon Heiligh had a very solid senior year at Coastal Carolina, finishing with 1,128 yards and seven touchdowns on 66 catches. Half of his performances this year were for more than 100 yards, and he earned a second consecutive year of All-Sun Belt First Team honors for his efforts. He has good hands, and his speed and footwork give him solid yards-after-catch potential as well. Heiligh is a versatile athlete as well, earning All-Sun Belt Third Team honors as a punt returner.
Josh Johnson, TulsaAfter one season at Iowa State, Josh Johnson transferred to Tulsa, where he was a quiet contributor for a couple of years before breaking out in 2021. He put up career-high numbers in practically every category, finishing with 1,114 yards—more than twice as many as in any previous season—and six touchdowns on 83 receptions. Johnson is a speedy slot guy with good yards-after-catch potential.
Davontavean “Tay” Martin, Oklahoma StateTay Martin had a solid year for the Cowboys in 2021, culminating with a three-touchdown performance against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl earlier in January. He finished the year with 1,046 yards and 10 touchdowns on 80 catches. He’s a tall receiver with great body control and explosiveness, but he can struggle with his release. Martin has found success working the sideline and demonstrating good footwork on such plays. That said, his hands can be inconsistent on contested catches, though he is a plus run blocker on the outside.
Kyle Philips, UCLAThe most highly-touted receiver prospect on this list, Kyle Philips had a great season for UCLA this year. He finished with 739 yards and 10 touchdowns on 59 catches in 2021. He’s predominantly a slot guy who pulls his real strengths from his speed, quickness, and route-running skills. Philips’ route-running and sure hands make him an easy go-to target for quarterbacks on quick-read plays, though he’s also found success on intermediate and deep throws as well. His ability to make defenders miss on top of that sets him up for high YAC potential too. In addition, he’s got versatility as a special teams athlete, tallying 203 yards and a touchdown on nine returns this past season.
Charleston Rambo, Miami (FL)Charleston Rambo transferred to Miami ahead of this season after three decent seasons with Oklahoma. It was clearly the right move for him, as he certainly found his place and stuck in the Miami offense, setting the program record for single-season receptions with his 79 in 2021. He’s become a good route-runner at Miami, consistently making the right adjustments in his routes to create separation and stay open. His above-average speed means he has the potential to take off before and after the catch. Rambo’s biggest outstanding issue is his tendency to let the ball get to his pads rather than catching with his hands, which has led to an issue with drops at the college level.
Jaquarii Roberson, Wake ForestJaquarii Roberson is primarily a slot receiver that found a lot of success in his final two years at Wake Forest. In 2021, he tallied 1,078 yards on 71 catches (15.2 yards per reception) along with eight touchdowns. Roberson has demonstrated talent in tracking the ball and controlling his body to make adjustments in the air. He’s also a skilled route-runner with good breaks and intelligent adjustments to find gaps in coverage. His agility and quickness also make him good at generating yards after the catch.
Jerreth Sterns, Western KentuckyJerreth Sterns found a ton of success in Western Kentucky’s air raid offense paired with quarterback Bailey Zappe. While he is on the smaller side, standing at 5-foot-9, that hasn’t stopped him from being a production monster. Sterns finished the 2021 season with a whopping 1,902 yards, 150 catches, and 17(!) touchdowns. He’s an elite receiver with high potential, especially given his production output this season.
Tyquan Thornton, BaylorTyquan Thornton had a really solid 2021 season, finishing with 948 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 62 catches. He’s a bigger guy at 6-foot-3, but he’s got speed too. That speed plus an ability to make defenders miss gives Thornton a strong upside in yards-after-catch potential. He’s also got good breaks in his route-running that create separation and allow him to stay open as he works downfield. Thornton’s good hands and body control have also made him good at adjusting in-air, sometimes making his quarterback look better.
Samori Toure, NebraskaSamori Toure put up huge numbers in his three seasons at Montana before transferring to Nebraska for his final season in college. He finished the 2021 season with 898 yards and five touchdowns on 46 catches, averaging 19.5 yards per catch. He’s a big receiver that has enjoyed success from the slot, where his speed and route-running ability allow him to create separation and get open on all three levels of the field. When Toure gets vertical, he can really take off.
Calvin Turner Jr., Hawai’iCalvin Turner Jr. is a super versatile athlete who began his college career at Jacksonville University before transferring to Hawai’i in 2020. He’s officially listed on the Shrine Bowl roster as both a wide receiver and running back, but he also has some experience as a quarterback as well. Turner’s roles as a rusher and pass-catcher were split dead evenly in 2021, as he recorded 73 rushes and 73 receptions for the Rainbow Warriors this season. The result was a final tally of 1,192 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns—Turner averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 12 yards per reception. It will be very interesting to see how he shows off his impact at each role at the Shrine Bowl.
Dareke Young, Lenoir-RhyneDareke Young is the sole DII receiver invited to the Shrine Bowl this year, and given his potential, it’s not hard to see why. He rose to prominence after a 2019 season that featured incredible performances as a dual-threat running back/receiver. He rushed for 335 yards and four touchdowns while also tallying 515 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. What was most impressive is that Young only had 49 rush attempts and 25 receptions, meaning he averaged 6.8 yards per carry and 20.6 yards per catch. Young slowed down in 2020 and 2021, held back by injuries and the pandemic, but he could make a big statement if he flashes at the Shrine Bowl.
D’Eriq King, Miami (FL)D’Eriq King is another interesting case of a dual-threat athlete. The most unique part about him is that he isn’t a receiver at all. He’s a quarterback. After a very strong showing in 2020, featuring 2,686 passing yards and 23 touchdowns to just five picks, King’s college career was cut short due to an injury to his throwing shoulder, so he missed all but the first three games of 2021. He’s expected to primarily run drills as a receiver at the Shrine Bowl, attempting to reinvigorate his football career.
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