The good news for the Owls is that nearly all the Owls who missed spring because of injury will be 100 percent when players report to camp on Aug. 1.
The bad news is that, because so many wide receivers either elected to transfer or left for the NFL, even with everyone healthy the Owls still lack experience.
Junior slot receiver Willie Wright is the most experienced of the returning pass catchers, boasting 102 career receptions.
John Mitchell and Pico Harrison, the likely starting outside wide receivers, both have made plays in games, but also struggled with injuries and inconsistency throughout their FAU careers.
The Owls did add some interesting names to the wide receiver unit, which we’ll detail below, but the loss of JUCO signee Adrian Bryant, who left school shortly after arriving in January, is a major setback.
Who can the Owls count on to make plays come September? Even the FAU coaches aren’t completely certain. Hey, that’s what fall camp is for, right?
Expect plenty of movement on the wide receiver depth chart throughout the fall.
OwlAccess.com Pre-camp FAU WR Breakdown
John Mitchell (6-4, 210, R-Jr.): Injuries limited Mitchell to seven games last season, when he caught six passes for 66 yards. With his height/speed combination, Mitchell has the potential to dominate Conference USA cornerbacks. He needs to be more consistent and confident to do so.
James Brunson (6-0, 180, R-Sr.): Brunson’s yet to make an impact on the field. Only one of his three career catches came last season. His time at FAU has been a disappointment considering former coach Charlie Partridge once called Brunson the Owls’ best open-field runner among wide receivers. Brunson has one season remaining to make good on his potential, but without a fast start to camp he stands to drop quickly on the depth chart.
Willie Wright (5-8, 160, Jr.): As a sophomore the diminutive speedster couldn’t recreate his breakthrough freshman year. Wright’s 46 catches and 474 receiving yards are the most among returning wide receivers – though many of those “catches” came on the jet sweep. The Owls will need more than two touchdowns Wright tallied last season.
Ladante Harris (5-10, 170, R-Sr.): Similar to Brunson, Harris has yet to make much of an impact as an Owl. He caught four passes for 31 yards last season, but climbed the depth chart in the fall mostly because of a lack of bodies. He spent the final weeks of camp on the sideline with an injury. One of the newcomers will likely surge ahead of Harris during camp, but Kiffin likes to make newcomers earn their spots, rather than simply giving them away.
Dante Cousart (5-10, 160, R-Sr.): Cousart likely would have been second on the depth chart exiting spring had he participated in spring drills. He’s recovered from the broken leg and subsequent surgery that sidelined him for the second half of last season and the spring. Cousart is participating in summer workouts, but will he be able to hold off some of the youngsters?
Pico Harrison (6-3, 190, R-Sr.): Harrison’s 21 catches and 375 receiving yards were fourth most among Owls last season, but he didn’t find the end zone. Injuries are always a concern with Harrison, who once again missed significant time during the spring.
Jordan Merrell (5-9, 193, R-So.): Merrell has yet to do much at FAU, redshirting one season and going without a catch last year. He did make the most of his spring opportunities, though, positioning himself for significant playing time this season. Merrell is tough and faster than he looks. He can play both outside receiver and in the slot.
Deangelo Antoine (5-10, 180, Sr.): The former USF wide receiver transferred to FAU as a graduate student and is eligible immediately. He caught six passes covering 75 yards and a touchdown for the Bulls last season. Antonie can also return kickoffs.
Eyin Cole (6-3, 200, Fr.): The big wide receiver reminds some at FAU of John Mitchell. He’s raw, but coaches are expecting Cole to contribute this season. He could be the freshman that makes the quickest impact.
Glover Cook (6-0, 180, Fr.): Mostly a running back in high school, the Owls view Cook as a wide receiver at this level, likely in the slot. For Cook to contribute, however, he’ll first have to arrive on campus. The Owls are optimistic he can meet the academic requirements before the start of camp, but nothing’s final, yet.
Rahsaan Lewis (5-11, 180, R-So.): The UCF transfer and son of Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis is already on campus and impressing. Lewis is showing good speed and strong, quick hands while playing mostly in the slot. That’s impressive for a player who began his career as a defensive back. If Lewis’ spring performance continues into the fall he could quickly climb the depth chart.
Roman Mungin (5-9, 155, Fr.): A steal on National Signing Day, the Owls took a chance on Mungin hoping he’d meet academic requirements. Mungin did, and he’s already on campus participating in workouts. He’s another strong candidate to climb the slot receiver depth chart.
Deante Nelson (6-0, 170, Fr.): The true freshman from Pahokee was one of Lane Kiffin’s Signing Day Surprises. The former Marshall commit has good hands and knows what to do when the ball’s in his hands.
Terique Owens (6-3, 180, So.): Son of another Hall of Famer, Terrell Owens, Terique came to FAU after a year at Contra Costa College. He caught 15 passes in seven games for Contra Costa last season, including two scores.
Xavier Roberts (5-9, 180, Fr.): Like Cook, Roberts will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact when he arrives on campus. Roberts is spending the summer fulfilling academic requirements, but the Owls are optimistic he’ll be in Boca Raton for the start of camp.
Jovon Durante: He led FAU in catches (65), receiving yards (873) and receiving touchdowns (5) last season. Durante entered the draft following his junior season but wasn’t selected. He didn’t catch on with a team as a free agent, either.
DeSean Holmes: He caught six passes for 48 yards in his lone season at FAU. Holmes elected to transfer before the start of spring practices.
DeAndre McNeal: The Texan ended a disappointing career at FAU by transferring to Texas Southern. Lacking focus while at FAU, McNeal caught 23 passes in 2017 but only one last season.
Jefftey Joseph (6-2, 185, Sr.): It’s most likely the biggest breakout will come from one of the newcomers, but we’ve already written about them. So here is a dark horse. Like Merrell above, Joseph made the most of his spring opportunity, showing good hands and surprising speed. Joseph might have cracked the pre-camp two-deep had an injury not limited him at the end of spring. A healthy Ronald Patterson could also make his presence known. At one point during the spring Patterson was at the top of the depth chart.