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LFN's 2015 Spring Preview - Wide Receivers and Running Backs

WR Troy Pelletier in an Oct 2014 practice (Brown and White)
Penn State is frequently called "Linebacker U", thanks to all the famous linebackers that played for them.

If Penn State is "Linebacker U", you could make a very good case for Lehigh being "Wide Receiver U."

Guys like WR Dave Cecchini, WR Rennie Benn, WR Josh Snyder, WR Jake Drwal, WR Ryan Spadola, and WR Lee Kurfis are just six of the many great names that have suited up for the Brown and White, and it's no wonder that Lehigh Nation would naturally look to this position group for a lot of potential in 2015.

With Lehigh returning a Jerry Rice Award finalist at this position, too, it's certainly going to be something to watch at the end of the Spring, too.


Sophomore WR Troy Pelletier wasted no time as a member of the Lehigh football team in 2014, coming into the rotation in the second game of the year and, in his debut against New Hampshire, scored two touchdowns against a team that would spend time as the No. 1 team in the nation.

He would end the season with 815 yards receiving and 7 TDs, including two monster performances against Georgetown and Holy Cross where he scored a combined 17 receptions, 401 receiving yards and 3 TDs.

If he was able to pull in those numbers as a freshman, Lehigh fans have to be salivating wondering how he can top himself in 2015.

"Troy really showed up and he's back and going to be better; bigger, faster and stronger than he was so that's exciting," Coen noted in the spring preview on LehighSports.com, calling wide receiver an "area of strength".

Pelletier isn't the only big name returning, either.

Stepping into the big void left by WR Josh Parris is senior WR Stefan Sansone (215 yards, 1 TD), along with speedy senior WR Derek Knott, who was injured for the majority of last season, giving Lehigh's quarterbacks a great Swiss army knife of passing options.

That's not all, as Lehigh's offense in the past has sent out many 4- and 5- receiver sets, giving a multitude of players a chance to take the field and show what they can do.

Guys like sophomore WR Sasha Kelsey, junior WR Michael Anderson, junior WR Jarrod Howard, speedster junior WR Trevor Socarras, and sophomore WR Gatlin Casey could all see time on the field at different times in different sets.

I'd expect to see different lineups with some different combinations of wideouts on Saturday.

"Knott seems to be on the mend," Coen told me.  "We have a lot of good competition at that position."

At running back, Lehigh has been put into a numbers crunch this spring with the departure of a couple of players.

"We were disappointed by the departure of RB Brandon Yosha and RB Chris Leigh," Coen told me.  "That has limited what we do with the tailbacks this spring, though I'm proud of the guys stepping up and giving us some solid reps."

That includes junior FB Evan Kauffman, who has gotten a lot of action as the most experienced player returning to the backfield this spring.  Junior FB Mackenzie Crawford also has taken advantage to see more time in the backfield.

At a pure running back, senior RB D.J. Kee has a golden opportunity this spring to establish himself as the No. 1 running option out of the end of spring practice.  The 5'11, 190 pound senior out of Maryland hasn't seen any varsity action yet but will be able to show what he can do this week at the Brown/White game.

Backing him up is sophomore RB Nana Amankwah-Ayeh, a 5'11, 220 lb player who was a walk on last season and will also have a golden opportunity to show what he can do.  An LFN fave, I'm hoping to see him in the mix at RB this upcoming season.

LFN's unofficial guess at the spring depth chart:

X Receiver: 
1st: Sophomore WR Troy Pelletier
2nd: Sophomore WR Sasha Kelsey or sophomore WR Gatlin Casey

Z Receiver: 
1st: Senior WR Stephan Sansone
2nd: Junior WR Jarrod Howard or junior WR Michael Anderson

Y Receiver: 
1st: Senior WR Derek Knott
2nd: Sophomore WR Sasha Kelsey or junior WR Trevor Soccaras

RB: 
1st: Senior RB D.J. Kee
2nd: Sophomore RB Nana Amankwah-Ayeh

FB:
1st: Junior FB Evan Kauffman
2nd: Junior FB Mackenzie Crawford

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