Receivers emerging after first week of preseason

Junior Otis Porter earned second-team All-Conference honors last season and finished with 43 receptions for 832 yards and seven touchdowns.
Junior Otis Porter earned second-team All-Conference honors last season and finished with 43 receptions for 832 yards and seven touchdowns.

Head Coach Mike Turk on the first scrimmage of the preseason: "Both sides had their times of dominance, at least in the first groups, today. The offense scored touchdowns on the first three possessions, which was a great start for the offense and obviously not a great start for the defense.

"But I was proud of the way the defense responded to the early adversity in the right way. The next two times the offense had the ball, the defense gave up some yards but stopped the offense twice in the red zone and held the offense to a pair of field goals attempts. After those two possessions, the defense made a couple of stops near midfield.

"From an offensive standpoint, I was proud of the way we started and the way we executed some things really well. But as time wore on, it looked like the defense was beginning to establish itself as the dominant unit. From an offensive standpoint, that is disturbing."


Position Spotlight – Receiver

Projected Starters: Otis Porter (Jr.), Quen Whitlow (Jr.), Garrett Headley (So.)

Others to Watch: Cody Dwyer (So.), Parker Sasser (So.), C.J. Pugh (So.), Jay Davison (Jr.), Jacob Hawkins (Fr.)

A Closer Look: One of the biggest priorities for the Hawks in the preseason is to replenish the receiving corps. Nick Haas, who tied the Hawks' career receptions record and finished in the top three in career yards and receiving touchdowns, is gone as are a total of seven receivers who combined for 135 catches, 1,966 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.

Leading this year's receivers are juniors Otis Porter and Quen Whitlow. Porter emerged as one of the Hawks' top targets last season and earned second-team All-Conference honors with 43 receptions for 832 yards and seven touchdowns. He led the Hawks in receiving yards and was second on the team in receptions and touchdown receptions.

Whitlow did not have the statistical numbers that Porter had but is the veteran of the group. Whitlow is entering his third season as part of the rotation at receiver.

Turk on the leadership of Porter and Whitlow: "This time last year, Otis was beginning to make a name for himself. He had grown a lot and progressed a lot from his freshman year. That's something you want to see, guys growing up and becoming players and he did that. He has continued to improve and get better and is still working hard to get better. He has matured and become a guy we know we can count on.

"Quen has been a solid player for us since he was a freshman. He doesn't always get a lot of passes thrown in his direction but he does his job. You know he is going to do what he is supposed to do and do it well. This fall, he has been a lot more vocal and has been a really good leader for the receivers."

Turk on the younger receivers: "Garrett Headley is working with the first unit right now. He joined us last year and is still learning the position, but he has made some really good plays in the preseason. Cody Dwyer, Parker Sasser, Jay Davison and C.J. Pugh have all done some good things and made some plays in the preseason. As far as new guys, Jacob Hawkins is still learning but he looks like a guy who will be capable of playing for us this year."

Next Practice: The Hawks will practice in shoulder pads and helmets at 9 a.m. on Friday. Practices are open to the public.