Great Danes’ revamped receiving core look to recapture last year’s brilliance.
By: Edwards Kemedijio | March 12, 2021 Credit: Times Union
158 catches, 2325 receiving yards, and 24 touchdowns.
That is what the Great Danes’ receiving duo Juwan Green and Jerah Reeves did for the University at Albany football team. These stats made them the greatest wide receiver duo in UAlbany program history, by a wide margin.
Green, who led the pair with 83 catches and 1386 yards and 17 touchdowns, is now a receiver for the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL. That is what left UAlbany last year and is what must be replaced going forward.
Dev Holmes, now former UAlbany wide receiver, was dismissed for the second time in the last two seasons. Holmes, who led the team in catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns in 2018 had left the team after four substandard games in 2019 due to the emergence of Green and Reeves. He announced his return in January of 2020 but failed to get back on the field for the Great Danes again.
Head Coach Greg Gattuso was asked about the dismissal of Holmes but refrained from giving any details to why the receiver was not long with the team.
“These guys, whether they’re on my team or off my team I believe in protecting my players,” said Gattuso after the Friday night game against the University of New Hampshire. “I don’t take that lightly…but it’s not important to divulge that right now.”
With the dismissal of Holmes, the only returning receiver on the team is redshirt sophomore Tyler Oedekoven, who was fifth on the team in yards per game last year.
Along with Oedekoven is redshirt freshmen Mike Gray and grad transfer Mohamed Jabbie was a three-year starter at Rutgers University before coming to UAlbany this year.
While the shoes to fill are as large as this program has ever seen, the receiving core got off to a good start against the UNH Wildcats last Friday. Oedekoven had 10 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in the game. Mike Gray had himself a debut as well with seven catches for 74 yards and a score. Both receivers were major contributors in the Great Danes’ win to kick off the spring campaign.
“I feel like I’ll be more comfortable taking the field as we move forward,” said Gray, who was the CAA rookie of the week. “It felt great to get back out there after so long.
Star quarterback Jeff Undercuffler had been raving about the receiving group all throughout training camp and were pleased with the performance on Friday.
“Those three guys definitely stepped up during this spring camp,” said Undercuffler after the win on Friday. “They did a good job learning the little intricacies of the offense.”
Coach Gattuso started off his comments to the media Wednesday talking about the revamped receiving core.
“Overall, I was really pleased with our wide receivers,” said Gattuso. “[They] do all the dirty work that a great receiver needs to do then they made some great plays.”
As UAlbany looks to their game at Maine on Saturday, one aspect of their team that will be less of a worry will be their brand new receiving core.