It was a bit of a shock to hear that Toledo's playmaking wide receiver Eric Page would forgo his senior year to enter the NFL Draft, but I suppose Dan K. makes a good point: all his skills are there, but his NFL-mediocre size and speed won't get any better. Why "waste" another year at UT?
That's not to say it would be a waste; the Rockets may have lost a head coach but Matt Campbell keeps the continuity strong in the program and they still have both quarterbacks — although, sheesh, that offensive line could definitely get wonky — John Morookian, Mike VanDerMeulen (Mr. Small Font) and Philip Manley are graduating, tight ends Danny Noble and Jerome Jones and fellow wideout Kenny Stafford are all departing. Not to mention senior running back Adonis Thomas, another NFL-potential player, and able backup Morgan Williams. That's a substantial number of people who are leaving a 42 points-per-game offense.
That's 19 of the 34 receiving touchdowns and 2,201 of the 3,480 receiving yards they've had. They still retain Bernard Reedy, who will become the main option. You might remember Reedy from his 4-catch, 126-yard, 3-touchdown performance in the Military Bowl which garnered him game MVP. James Green and Cordale Scott should also emerge as good starting wideouts next year, especially as they get more comfortable with Owens and Dantin in — key phrase here — that same program. Other WRs who caught a pass in 2011: Julian Bellinger, Cassius McDowell and Justin Olack. Those latter two were freshmen.
The element that Page's absence will remove is the danger on kickoff and punt returns. He had one of each this year, three of the kickoff variety last season, and also accounted for various gadget plays where he tossed a couple touchdowns. The only thing I can speak to on this front is somebody may emerge; as we know, UT is the MAC's best recruiting program.
Yes, Page is going to really take UT's "wow" factor down several rungs immediately. But Reedy has to excite Toledo fans, and hopefully MAC fans, as the Rockets prepare for an OOC schedule that opens at Arizona and includes a visit from Cincinnati.