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APSU football: Govs possess depth at receiver, tight end

APSU Athletics Communications

By Colby Wilson

APSU Athletics Communications

Throughout fall camp, will take a look at each of the position groups as the Austin Peay State University football team goes through preparations for the 2019 season. Today, we’ll examine the skill guys Jeremiah Oatsvall will target in the slot, out wide and over the middle–the wide receivers and tight ends. The Govs have big talent out wide in Gorel SoumareBaniko Harley and Kadeem Goulbourne, with transfer Keenan Barnes in the mix as well. In the slot, DeAngelo Wilson is back as one of the league’s surest pair of hands with Jay Parker set to earn plenty of touches–that duo are putting together the most impressive fall camps and are electric playmakers. Elijah Brown and Trey Pruitt lock down the tight end position.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Whatever still remains to be answered about Austin Peay football in 2019, one thing is absolutely clear: the Governors have skill players aplenty and they’ll turn those playmakers loose with impunity on opposing defenses.

Former Gov DJ Montgomery is currently plying his trade with the Cleveland Browns, but plenty of big in stature targets remain options in the passing game. 6-4 senior Kadeem Goulbourne, 6-3 junior Gorel Soumare and 6-2 junior Baniko Harley combined for 21 catches, 312 yards and three touchdowns opposite Montgomery last season and look to increase their roles again in 2019. Harley, a former quarterback, flashed significant deep-threat capabilities last season, averaging nearly 23 yards per reception.

To this group of vertical deep threats the Govs added Keenan Barnes, a Louisiana-Lafayette transfer who was a preseason All-Sun Belt choice ahead of his junior campaign. Barnes, who played three seasons under Governors head coach Mark Hudspeth during his tenure in Lafayette, has been more than just another big target since his arrival on campus.

“He’s brought a whole new attitude to the room as far as maturity,” said wide receivers coach Chad Bumphis. “We know what he can do as a player and that’s why he’s here, but I’ve been most impressed by him off the field. He’s taking charge, holding everybody accountable and raising everyone to a higher level.”

While DeAngelo Wilson may not have the climb-the-tower height of some of his teammates, he more than makes up for it by being one of the most consistent pass-catchers in the Ohio Valley Conference. Austin Peay’s leading returner in receptions (28), yards (478) and touchdowns (7). Wilson’s track record is second-to-none; he’ll be tasked with providing the same steady presence in 2019.

Bumphis, a former Mississippi State standout during his playing days, has plenty of weapons in his war chest—and that’s just among the veterans. There are exciting young players on the roster that should keep the chains moving not only in 2019 but for years to come.

“[Freshman] Geordan Pollard has really caught my attention a few times,” Bumphis said. “He’s still young, he’s still raw, he just played one year of high school football, but he can run, he can go get the ball and he’s a great kid.

“DeAngelo is bringing up the younger receivers behind him, and you can see that in [sophomore] Jay Parker. He’s the smallest guy in my room but he’s probably the most physical. He’s tough as he can be, he’s really aggressive and he can make plays.”

For the hybrid pass-catchers/blockers at tight end, Trey Pruitt and Elijah Brown remain the standard. Both sure-handed, physical and intuitive football players, the juniors have plenty of experience and can help bring a still-youthful offensive line up to speed.

With Caleb Florence moving to the interior, a spot opened up to learn alongside the upperclassmen, and Hunter Scholatodecided to make a transition. Originally a linebacker like his older brother, three-time All-OVC choice Gunnar, has moved to the other side of the line of scrimmage in order to capitalize on his physicality and pass-catching abilities. For Hudspeth, who works closely with the tight ends, the ability to be a threat in the passing game as well as a quality blocker is important for any tight end in his system.

“They’re eager to learn,” Hudspeth said. “They have a good work ethic, they’re highly intelligent and they’ve picked up the offense well. Now it’s just a matter of improving fundamentally and processing information quickly as the game speeds up.”

2019 Returnees / 2018 Stats
Josh Alexander (Sr.) / 3 GP, 2 catches, 10 yards
JP Batarseh (R-So.) / 2 GP
Elijah Brown (Jr.) / 11 GP, 6 catches, 24 yards
Kadeem Goulbourne (Sr.) / 11 GP, 5 catches, 68 yards
Baniko Harley (Jr.) / 10 GP, 8 receptions, 182 yards, 2 touchdowns
Jay Parker (So.) / 7 GP
Trey Pruitt (Jr.) / 11 GP, 1 catch, 16 yards
Hunter Scholato (R-So.) / 1 GP (transitioning from linebacker to tight end)
Corey Simmons (R-Jr.) / 5 GP
Gorel Soumare (R-Jr.) / 11 GP, 8 receptions, 62 yards, 1 touchdown
DeAngelo Wilson (Jr.) / 11 GP, 28 receptions, 478 yards, 7 touchdowns
Darius Nalls (R-Fr.)
Justyn Baker (R-Fr.)

2019 Newcomers
Keenan Barnes (R-Sr.)
Justin Gibbs (R-So.)
Geordon Pollard (Fr.)

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