- WR Dominique Sandifer
- WR Brice Butler
Projected starters (2012 stats)
- WR #24 Colin Lockett – RS Sr., 6-foot, 180 pounds (20 catches, 293 yards, two touchdowns ; 4 carries, 44 yards)
- WR #3 Ezell Ruffin – RS Jr., 6-foot-1, 205 pounds (17 catches, 319 yards ; 4 carries, 21 yards)
Key reserves (2012 stats)
- WR #10 Dylan Denso – RS Sr., 6-foot-2, 205 pounds (4 catches, 63 yards)
- WR #41 Tim Vizzi – RS Sr., 5-foot-10, 175 pounds (9 catches, 99 yards, one touchdown ; one carry, 17 yards)
- WR #80 Larry Clark – RS So., 6-foot-4, 210 pounds (N/A)
- WR #86 Jemond Hazely – RS So., 6-foot-1, 185 pounds (One carry, 5 yards)
Players to watch
- WR #10 Dylan Denso – RS Sr., 6-foot-2, 205 pounds – After having a breakout season in 2011, Denso was unable to match his prior production in 2012. Much of it was due to a broken finger suffered at the end of fall camp, which hindered him all season. That, along with the return of Sandifer and the addition of Butler, made it tough for Denso to replicate the 49 catches for 634 yards and three touchdowns he recorded in 2011. Don’t be surprised if Denso finds his way into the starting lineup next season, and even if he doesn’t, he will still see loads of playing time and have several balls thrown his way as the third wide receiver.
- WR #80 Larry Clark – RS So., 6-foot-4, 210 pounds – A physical specimen, Clark was given the nickname “Babytron” last season by a teammate because his frame resembles that of NFL All-Pro wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. After two seasons of development, expect Clark to finally break through in 2013 and be a solid contributor for the offense. A big target with strength and speed, Clark will likely come in on spread packages as the fourth receiver, and may be used in certain situations where his height and athleticism can cause matchup problems for opposing defenses.
San Diego State currently has one wide receiver commit, Julius Wilson from Culver City, Calif. Although it is likely he will redshirt due to the depth at his position, don’t be surprised if the talented three-star wide receiver finds his way onto the field as a true freshman.
Although the Aztecs seemed to have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position in 2012, they relied heavily on their run game and tight end Gavin Escobar, who was their leading receiver with 543 yards (Butler recorded the second-highest total with 347 yards).
San Diego State loses Butler and Sandifer, but Lockett, Ruffin and Denso have started multiple games over the last two seasons and should not have any issues stepping up as the main targets. Lockett is the leader of the group, with career totals of 78 catches for 1,263 yards and 11 touchdowns. Similar to Denso, Lockett had lingering injury issues in 2012, as he suffered an ankle sprain early in the season and was often not at full strength. Look for him to bounce back next year and be a deep threat like he was in 2011 when he recorded 970 receiving yards.
Ruffin finally hit the scene in 2012, and broke out in the second game against Army with 5 catches for 152 yards. Following his breakout game, it seemed that the young wide receiver from Long Beach, Calif., was poised for a big season, but it ended up being his only 100-yard game of the year. Like Denso and Lockett, Ruffin also played through an injury in 2012, as he broke a bone in his hand near the middle of the season. Look for him to show his playmaking abilities even more in 2013 and have a solid year.
Newly hired offensive coordinator Bob Toledo said in an interview with the U-T San Diego that he wants to “throw the ball a little bit more than before,” and this will mean more production from Lockett, Ruffin and Denso. With Escobar and running back Walter Kazee gone, expect San Diego State to depend less on its running game and tight ends and more on its wide receivers.
Redshirt freshmen wide receivers Eric Judge and Lloyd Mills will likely need another year to mature and develop their bodies before they start climbing the depth chart. Both will be determined to see some action after redshirting last season, so keep an eye on these two, along with Paul Pitts III, to see if they can find their way onto the field as special teams contributors.
After failing to have a wide receiver surpass 400 receiving yards in 2012, San Diego State will have three wide receivers with over 500 yards in 2013.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview on the running backs of the 2013 San Diego State Aztecs
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by Hunter Hewitt