Familiar faces return to lead receivers

Two-time All-Conference selection Otis Porter (#2) caught 53 passes for a Huntingdon record 1,163 yards last season. He led the USA South in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns (11) and yards per catch (21.9).
Two-time All-Conference selection Otis Porter (#2) caught 53 passes for a Huntingdon record 1,163 yards last season. He led the USA South in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns (11) and yards per catch (21.9).

Head Coach Mike Turk on Day 3 of preseason camp: "It was pretty ragged today. We have two things we're fighting right now. For the younger guys, it's inexperience. We've put in quite a bit offensively and I know we have some confused players right now. A confused football player is not a very good football player.                                                                  

"But the other problem we have is we have too many older guys who are either not in shape enough to make it through practice or not mentally tough enough to focus when they are tired. Whatever the case might be, it was rough today and we have to be better than that. Right now, we have a long way to go."

 

Position Spotlight – Receivers

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

Others to Watch:  C.J. Pugh (Jr.), Hunter Huckbay (So.), Cody Dwyer (Jr.), Jay Davison (Sr.), Jamal Howard (Fr.)

 

A Closer Look: The Hawks return six receivers with varsity experience and the group has the potential to be one of Huntingdon's most reliable positions.

Led by senior and two-time All-Conference selection Otis Porter, the six combined for 124 receptions, 2,302 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. Porter led the group with 53 receptions and led the USA South Athletic Conference with 1,163 yards, 11 touchdowns and an average of 21.9 yards per reception.

Porter, who set the Hawks' single-season record for receiving yards last season, enters this season ranked sixth in the Huntingdon record book for career receptions (96), fourth in career receiving yards (1,995) and sixth in career receiving touchdowns (18). His career average of 20.8 yards per reception ranks first in Huntingdon history.

Behind Porter, senior Quen Whitlow was Huntingdon's second-leading receiver in 2017. Whitlow, who is entering his fourth season as part of the rotation of receivers, finished with 30 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns last season. His 91-yard touchdown reception against Averett was the third longest receiving touchdown in program history.

Rounding out the group of returning players is Garrett Headley (eight receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns last season), C.J. Pugh (14 receptions for 271 yards), Jay Davison (11 receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns) and Cody Dwyer (eight receptions for 170 yards and one touchdown).

Sophomore Hunter Huckbay and freshman Jamal Howard are two younger players who are emerging early in the preseason.

Turk on the leadership of Porter and Whitlow:  "Otis has developed into a special player during the past two seasons. He is a guy that has put in the work and has made plays to help us win games. He is someone we are counting on to be a leader for this team. 

"Q. Whitlow is another guy we're counting on for leadership. He has been a solid guy for us since his freshman season. Now as a senior, he's emerging as a leader and trying to be assertive, which is positive. He's in shape and he's busting his tail, going hard every play and trying to lead by example."

Turk on the overall receiving corps: "We have some guys who aren't in shape like we need them be right now and we've also had some injuries. So, what should be a really deep and productive position for us still has a lot of question marks.

"I see some good things from some guys, but we need to see more. Senior Jay Davison is working hard and doing well and we really need some guys like Pugh and Huckbay to come on strong for us. Cody Dwyer is a guy who has been working hard and is a solid guy for us, but he got hurt today and we're not sure what his status is yet.

"As far as the newcomers, freshman Jamal Howard has shown us some good things already and looks like he is coming along. There are a lot of opportunities for younger guys to step in and help this team. We're going to see who else emerges in the coming days."

Next Practice: The Hawks return to the field at 9 a.m. on Saturday in shoulder pads and helmets. Practices are open to the public.