Veteran leadership setting the tone for Huntingdon receivers

Seniors C.J. Pugh (#13), Garrett Headley (#5) and Otis Porter (#2) return to lead Huntingdon's receivers.
Seniors C.J. Pugh (#13), Garrett Headley (#5) and Otis Porter (#2) return to lead Huntingdon's receivers.

Head Coach Mike Turk on Day 7 of preseason camp: "Today was better. We didn't really do what we were supposed to on Tuesday but we responded the right way today and I was proud of that. We were able to get some work done and it was a good day. This intensity level and effort level is the standard and it is what we're looking for every single time we go out there."    

                                                       

Position Spotlight – Receiver

Projected Starters: Otis Porter (Sr.), Garrett Headley (Sr.), C.J. Pugh (Sr.)

Others to Watch: Cody Dwyer (Sr.), Jake Lackey (Jr.), Bailey Densel (So.), Malachi Harvey (Fr.), Sebastian Verger (Fr.)

                              

A Closer Look: The Hawks return three receivers with starting experience, including senior Otis Porter, one of the program's all-time leading receivers. After missing last season with an injury, Porter returns along with seniors Garrett Headley and C.J. Pugh to lead the unit.

Porter enters the season ranked in the top six in every major career receiving category for Huntingdon with 103 receptions (sixth), 2,219 receiving yards (fourth) and 22 touchdown receptions (second). His average of 21.5 yards per catch is first in program history.

Porter caught seven passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns before his season was cut short in 2018.

Headley also missed time with an injury last season but finished with eight receptions for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Pugh played in all nine games and led the Hawks with 467 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions and was second on the team with 25 receptions.

Behind the starting unit, senior Cody Dwyer, junior Jake Lackey, sophomore Bailey Densel and freshmen Malachi Harvey and Sebastian Verger are all expected to be a key part of the receiver rotation.

 

Turk on the starting unit: "Our first three are really solid and as good as we've had. Otis was hurt all of last year and ended up with a medical redshirt, so we have him back for one more year. He is the real deal. He is a guy that everyone in our league knows about and every defense will know where he is lined up.

"Pugh had to shoulder a lot of the burden last year after Otis got hurt. He became our go-to-guy. He has moved from the X receiver to the Z receiver and I think that position better fits his skill set. He is a guy who can do some good things.

"Headley is another really solid guy. He has been a player for us since he was a sophomore. He is a big, physical guy that can get it done and can also run down the field and catch the ball. We're thankful to have him back this year."

Turk on overcoming injuries in the preseason: "We have had a slew of injuries at X receiver. Otis is healthy, but he is about the only X receiver who has been able to practice every day. There are some others who have done some good things, but have gotten hurt. We're still searching for some depth at that position. We have to keep plugging. We have a lot of guys trying to learn the position and hopefully some of them will get healthy and be able to help us out."

Turk on the importance of depth at receiver: "It takes a lot of guys at those three receiver positions for us to operate like we want and to be able to stay fresh. We ask a lot of them, so we have to rotate a lot of people in the first half of the game to be able to have what we want in the second half.

"We have some good players in the mix right now. Our first three are all proven guys and then we have guys like Jake Lackey, Bailey Densel and Cody Dwyer. Lackey and Densel have both done some good things in the preseason and are getting better each day. Dwyer has been hurt and has not been able to practice a lot, but he has been a solid player for us and once he gets healthy he will be a guy we can count on.

"Then we have two freshmen, Sebastian Verger and Malachi Harvey who are showing us some good things. Malachi has moved from running back to receiver since the start of the preseason, but both he and Sebastian have ability and are learning the position."

 

Next Practice: The Hawks return to the field at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Practices are open to the public.