The wide receivers for CSU are dynamic and ready to contribute

Mack Beaulieu

With a season in disarray, the one Colorado State constant has been bulk production from the receivers, the most consistent position in coach Mike Bobo’s tenure. 

Wide Receiver Preston Williams runs up field after making a catch against the Hawaii State Warriors in the first quarter of play at Canvas Stadium on August 25, 2018 in Fort Collins, CO. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

At a time when the Rams are struggling in many areas, the Rams’ receiving core looks to have not missed a beat after losing Michael Gallup to the NFL draft. Olabisi Johnson is once again helping set the table and Preston Williams has shined as well. The pieces are part of a group effort that extends beyond just catching passes.

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This year, as he has in years past, wide receivers’ coach Alvis Whitted has helped mold the group of playmakers.

“He’s taught me a whole bunch,” Johnson said. “ All these guys… He’s made a bunch of guys that came into CSU ten times better than they were before.”

Johnson has been partly in the shadows in his Rams career behind dynamic receivers like Gallup and Rashard Higgins before him. This year, he’s moved into a leading role alongside Williams. He is averaging almost 120 yards per game, slightly more than Williams.

Though the Rams came into the year without a superstar, it has not stopped their core from striving to be great.

Johnson has been diligently working for four years, Williams is a big bodied-SEC quality athlete and sophomore Warren Jackson has over-the-top ability down the middle of the field. Even tight end Cameron Butler, arguably the fourth-most dynamic receiving option, was on the preseason watch list for the nation’s best tight end.

“(Gallup) did his own thing,” Butler said. “We have our own different ways of playing, so in our own way, I think we are just as good as last year… I think everybody has a huge piece in it … We all do a great job and hopefully that can keep us having some success.”

Overall, the Rams’ receiving core is more balanced than it has been in recent years as both Johnson and Williams are on pace for 1300 yard seasons with Jackson on pace for nearly 500 of his own meaning opponents will not be able to key in on one guy. The final stats will certainly spread out more evenly than last year’s almost 800-yard difference between Johnson and Gallup.

Even with a receiving group that is so dominant, the Rams wideouts will be asked to do a little more in other aspects of the game if they are hoping to come together. Particularly when it comes to helping a run game that’s struggling more than it ever has under Bobo.

“We’re not tied together like we should be,” coach Bobo said. “The run and pass game, we gotta get tied together. When you’re not tied together offensively, it’s hard to be successful or for the quarterback to get in a rhythm offensively.”

Butler says the Rams’ receivers are up to that task of helping the Rams’ line and running backs, even if they haven’t always been great this season.

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“We take pride in our blocking,” Butler said. “We’re not always going to make the best block, but we do take pride in trying to get our ball carriers open.”

That will be big this weekend against Arkansas, who will be keying in on the Rams’ receivers after CSU has struggled to get it going on the ground through the first few games. A few unexpected key blocks, to go along with the big receptions, could go a long way in the eyes of the Rams’ offensive pieces.

Mack Beaulieu is a reporter for the Collegian and can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Macknz_James