At SEC Media Days last month, Bobby Petrino was asked right off the bat about what questions he wanted to answer early in fall camp.
On offense, he mentioned two things: first, an improved running game; and second, find some backup wide receivers.
“One of the things that we really need to understand is who is going to be our backup wide receivers,” Petrino said. “Although we return the four guys that had the most catches last year at wide receiver, who are their backups?”
The only story hotter than the temperatures at practice over the last week has been the emergence of the freshman wide receivers — Maudrecus Humphrey (photo right), Marquel Wade, Javontee Herndon, and Julian Horton. The group have collectively dubbed themselves “The Fantastic Four.”
Now typically we would scoff at the self-promotion of a bunch of freshmen who haven’t played a down in a college game. But these guys seem a bit different, and from the looks of things, have the game to back it up.
If you haven’t seen them yet, here’s a quick rundown.
Maudrecus Humphrey (6-3, 185, 4.4), son of Alabama legendary running back Bobby Humphrey, has incredible speed (high school track star). Of the four, Humphrey has ‘the look’ and the size that Petrino covets in a receiver.
Marquel Wade (5-11, 180, 4.4) has showed tremendous speed and the ability to run after the catch. He will remind fans of current Hog Joe Adams in that regard. You can tell he’s going to be a playmaker.
Julian Horton (6-1, 194, 4.5), appears to be the strongest of the bunch. He has shown the ability to catch the ball in traffic and break tackles. He’s more than a possession receiver, though.
Javontee Herndon (6-1, 185, 4.4), who goes by Jay, has to be the steal of the 2010 recruiting class. Arkansas was late to offer the Jacksonville, Florida native a scholarship, but after seeing him up close, and watching his highlights, there’s no doubt he’s going to be a star.
The Hogs will likely travel with seven wide receivers. So with the four entrenched veterans (Adams, Hamilton, Childs, Wright), that leaves three spots for the battle between redshirt freshman Lance Ray (6-3, 207) and the “Fantastic Four.”
“The ones that are in front of us, they’ve done things that I’ve never seen before,” Wade said. “That just makes me want to do the same things they’re doing. I’m going to do what I’ve got to do to be like them.”
It’s early, but we like what we see from these guys. We’ll let ‘em keep the nickname for now.