LSU's current receiver depth chart is perhaps the most unstable of any position on the team. The Tigers return just eight catches, 156 yards and two touchdowns. They will be replacing a pair of 1,000-yard receivers that both declared early for the NFL draft. Big shoes to fill, to say the least. Travin Dural looks to be the heir apparent. He shined as a freshman in camp before injuring his knee, causing him to miss the entire season. Last year, he played well in spots, including a dramatic 49-yard game winning TD, that you may remember.
Dural shined this Spring, lighting up the spring game for 5 catches 130 yards and 2 TDs, numbers that nearly top his entire season output last year. He's long and lanky and can really run, and LSU absolutely needs him to step into the spotlight this fall.
Yet after Dural, it's a bunch of unknowns. Unlike the defensive tackle position, which is loaded with top 100 recruits, unknown as they may be yet, the receiver group is a bit more questionable. John Diarse was a 4-star recruit coming out of HS, but at the bottom of the top 200. Ditto for Avery Petereson, who fell out of the top 200. Quanatavius Leslie was considered a top 20 JUCO player, but only the sixth-highest ranked receiver. Nit picky as it is, these are all recruits I'd place in the solid to good range, rather than the potential to be elite. This is not to say LSU cannot have a thriving passing game with this set of targets, but there is cause for concern.
The 2014 signing class brought an influx of wideouts. Cam Cameron signed four new targets, including two in the top 100, Malachi Dupre and Trey Quinn, that may factor as immediate weapons. D.J. Chark will likely need more polish, but he could find himself into a return role immediately. Tony Upchurch is a guy with enough size to be an immediate factor as well. This infusion of talent will be essential to the success of the LSU offense both in 2014 and going forward.
CORRECTION: I have been contacted by Trey's father, Dave, expressing his concern at how I framed his involvement with Trey's recruitment. He very politely corrected some of the comments of mine which were heavily based in rumors. I apologize deeply to both him and Trey and you, our wonderful readers for giving a false impression. Trey and his family handled his recruitment with respect, responsibility and class all the way. Dave also wanted me to emphasize that they raised Trey to be a consummate team player, and he's very focused and motivated and helping the teams he plays for achieve great things.
Quinn's recruitment started in the fall of 2012. He received early offers from Duke and Houston. He took trips to LSU and Ole Miss. Then Clemson, Mississippi State, Cal, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Texas... the list goes on. The suitors lined up to take their shots. Most LSU fans felt confident, but there were lingering concerns about Clemson, Texas Tech and even Ole Miss.
Quinn unofficially tripped to LSU in January, then in March and April and June. He visited Texas, Clemson, Auburn and Ole Miss, but only one time each. By mid-August, he made up his mind and pulled the trigger on LSU. He never visited elsewhere from that point forward, yet recruitniks continued to express concern about a possible flip to Clemson. Ole Miss fans took a turn believing they could turn him away from LSU, as well. In the end, Quinn stuck to his commitment and inked with the Tigers on signing day.
Quinn earned a selection to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, joining fellow Tiger commits Davon Godchaux, Clifton Garrett and Ed Paris in San Antonio for the weekend. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, he stood out as one of the top performers in attendance. Scouts raved about his route running and sticky hands. Many thought the performance would be enough to catapult him to 5-star status, but it did not happen. Quinn caught 6,566 yards worth of receptions in HS, setting a new national record, breaking Dorial Green-Beckham's old one. He also qualified for State in the 100 meters and can dunk a basketball.
Quinn rates as a 4-star with a .9627 rating on the 247 Composite ratings.
100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career.
97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who displays pro-potential.
89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country.
79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.
Tale of the Tape
Weight: 192 pounds
I'm not sure the 4.39 is a legitimate time. Quinn ran a 10.97 100, which is plenty fast, but not really a time that melts your face off. 2015 recruit Donte Jackson, for instance, ran a 10.42 to win the 4A State title last year. That said he did push 22 miles per hour in the sprint this summer, which is faster than any speed OBJ clocked in a game last year. Quinn isn't the biggest receiver either. His size is adequate, but he's not going to overwhelm there.
Strengths: Quickness/Lateral Agility, Hands, Route Running, Open Field Ability
Weaknesses: Size, Strength
Quickness/Lateral Agility: Quinn is exceptional in tight spaces and flashes an ability to make defenders miss with quick cuts. However, he's not a guy obsessed with dancing around. He's typically makes one strong cut and gets up the field. Look at :15 and see that start/stop agility and quickness. He explodes out of his cut up the field, which makes him a threat in the screen game. Take a look at :33 and see his great one cut ability again. Can deliver moves, but doesn't waste time getting up field. 5:56 again he's so good in those short areas, flashing a burst and quick cuts. He's got excellent which should really aide his route running as well.
Hands: Quinn's catching ability is perhaps his most impressive trait. I always looks for WRs who can extend and pluck the ball in the air. Guys that tend to let the ball get into their bodies a lot often have difficulty at the next level. Quinn shows a mastery of utilizing his hands out away from his body to pluck the ball. He also flashes excellent discipline catching the ball in traffic and contested situations, as well as superb body control. Watch :44 and how he eats up the sideline and uses his hands to secure the football. His body shields off the defender and he hangs on despite the contact. 1:14 you see him extend and pluck away from the body. 1:30 is just a beautiful example of how he is always extending and plucking, attacking the football with his hands. He's so natural in catching the ball. 2:26 you get to see him attack the ball up in the air. Despite his smaller height, he's a good leaper and will go up to get the football. 3:13 he attacks the ball in the air again and able to fight through contact to make the catch. Not bothered by physical play. 3:30 you see his quality ball skills. He gets his body into position, shields off the defender and still catches the ball. 3:56 again catching the ball in traffic. Should really ease his transition to the next level. 4:34 is a stick, one-handed grab. 5:38 is another one-handed grab in the EZ.
Route Running: Unfortunately, due to the nature of how highlights are filmed, the camera typically sticks on the QB, so I don't get to see a ton of his route running. However, he's constantly be praised for his abilities there at every camp he attends. 247's scout labeled him one of the best route runners they've ever seen at the AA games. 4:42 is about the best example on the tape, and you see him run a full stop and go. Again his explosion and quickness play a part here, but he sets it up with a great subtle pause step before exploding past the defender to get deep. His ability to run these types of routes should make him a vertical threat.
Open Field Ability: Quinn's offense used him a lot in the screen game but also on reverses and returns. All gave him opportunities to make plays into the open field. He has an extremely strong sense of how to set up a big play by following his blockers or making a cut to get back across a defender into open space. 1:58 is a prime example of how he can make defenders miss, follow his blockers and do major damage. This should make him an immediate threat on returns and a player we can creatively move around the formation and utilize in different ways.
Size: At 6'0", 195, Quinn's size is merely above average. Short of a growth spurt, he'll likely be around this height with a little extra mass his entire career. Quinn is thin and muscular, but I'm not sure how much bigger he can truly get. This means he can't ever be a guy you lob jump balls up to, and possibly a slot-only player, especially in the NFL.
Strength: Related to the above, but the nature of Quinn's HS offense didn't have him having to fight through jams on his routes. At the college level, he will have to adapt. Can he get strong enough to fight off collegiate level defenders to get into his routes. If not, he can still be effective, but it will limit his versatility.
Quinn is, arguably, the most popular player in this signing class. By virtue of him never receiving his fifth star, LSU fans love to stump for him. It's not without merit as he's an exceptional talent. I think his classmate, Malachi Dupre, is the superior prospect. Chi's size and skill set project to an A.J. Green type dominant force. He's also diligently working to add polish to his game, the only glaring weakness he had coming out. Dupre spent his summer working out and even attended George Whitfield's shark days, where he impressed Bruce Feldman. There's be so many reports of people watching him catch the football and absolutely raving about his potential.
That said, Trey Quinn is no stranger to hard work. Check out this 4:00 minute video of him working on his conditioning. He works with a personal trainer as well as his father. Moffitt acknowledged Trey as a kid who has "worked hard all his life." There are zero questions about his want and desire to be great.
Quinn comes in with a really polished skill set. My only hesitations regarding him contributing immediately are whether or not he's strong enough to handle the jam. Of course, he will also need to develop chemistry with the current crop of QBs, but considering his sticky hands and strong route running, it's easy to see him emerging as one of LSU's standouts this year.
Don't be surprised if Quinn and Dupre quickly rise up the depth chart this fall. Frankly, they are probably already the two most talented WRs on the roster. It's a safe bet that Travin Dural will be one of the team's go-to options, but I wouldn't count any of the other players as shoe-ins. Could the year-end WR corps consist of Dural, Dupre and Quinn? I absolutely think so.
High End: All-American candidate with a highly productive career.
Low End: Multi-year starter.
Realistic: All-SEC caliber player. Sure, I'm thrusting high expectations onto the kid, but that's because he deserves them.