With today's Belt Loops, I'm going to take a look at the Eastern Michigan Eagles receiving corps. This is an area of the Eagles offense that I've always had fun looking at. There's not much of a recent track record with EMU receivers heading into 2015 to give them much sex appeal, but there's still some good reason to be optimistic about these receivers with quarterback Reggie Bell running the offense for his second season. Here's a few names for you to get to know as we approach the season opener against the Old Dominion Monarchs.
Dustin Creel will be returning as the most team's most experienced Eagles receiver. Mostly lined up as an X or Z receiver at 6-foot-2, Creel didn't have the stats to impress many people around the conference like EMU fans had hoped. He battled a leg injury here and there, which is why he only caught 24 passes last year. But when he's healthy, he can have big games like last year at Ball State where he grabbed 14 passes for 152 yards, or at Toledo in 2013 with six catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Tight end and h-back Cole Gardner is going to have to pick up where Tyreesse Russell left off, and he was the team's leading receiver (okay, he doesn't have to be the statistical team leader, but productivity when it counts would be beneficial).
Size isn't much of an issue for the 6-foot-5, 252-pound target and it's not far-fetched to think that he'll be one of the primary targets in the red zone.
Cody Tuttle is part of the incoming class as a transfer student from out West. He'll also have the H-back title as a receiver, but he's versatile enough to play both as a slot and outside receiver. He's six-foot-four, so whether he's lined up against an outside linebacker, he's bound to have the height advantage on somebody.
At Moorepark College, he had 655 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in nine games last season. He was voted the team's MVP and earned all-conference honors too. I talked to Tuttle back in December about his decision to go to EMU and how his collegiate career actually began with the Nevada Wolfpack.
Kevin Davis is going to be another new face for EMU this season. Davis joined the Indiana Hoosiers out of high school as a three-star prospect out of Indianapolis, Indiana. The only three MAC schools that offered Davis were Bowling Green, Toledo and Western Michigan while also receiving offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati and Purdue.
Redshirtted his first year on campus in Bloomington, Davis appeared in five games at Indiana in 2013 without making a catch. That said, the best visual I have to offer you are his high school senior highlights, courtesy of Hudl.
After EMU's spring game, I asked Reggie Bell who his go-to targets are in a third-and-long situation. Look for Bell to go Davis' way in third-and-long situations in 2015.
Kris Strange is a 5-foot-11 receiver that didn't really get in-game reps as a wide receiver until last season where he totaled 179 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Lamar Harris was the scout team quarterback last year, but the plan was for him to play wide receiver after sitting out a year as a red shirt. At six-foot-two, he was also seeing plenty of time on the field as an outside receiver at the EMU spring game.