June 10, 2008

2008 Recruiting Breakdown: WR's

The already strong position of wide receiver for the Chippewas got even stronger with the commitments from the 2008 recruiting class. Joining the Chippewas this fall will be Cedric Fraser of Everglades High School (Miramar, FL), Valtorrey Showers of Crockett Vocational Tech (Detroit, MI), and Jerry Harris of Boca Raton High School (Boca Raton, FL).

Recruited by assistant head coach, wide receivers coach, and south Florida recruiter Zach Azzanni, Fraser and Harris are two of ten players to sign for Central from the state of Florida. Showers joins fellow Michiganders TE David Blackburn (De La Salle High School), DE Darryll Stinson (Jackson High School), DE Steve Winston (Muskegon Heights High School), DE Armond Staten (Inkster High School), and DE Mike Repovz (Lansing Catholic Central) in his commitment to the Chippewas.

Both Harris and Fraser are good-sized receivers, each listed at approximately 6'3", 180 pounds. Figuring to see most of his action out of the slot, the much shorter Showers is listed at 5'9".

Of these three playmakers, Harris was the most highly recruited (see message board for highlight video). The Chippewas beat out the University of Louisiana Lafayette and Southern Miss in the recruiting battle for Harris. A multi-sport athlete, Harris also excels in basketball and track. Harris' 40 inch vertical jump is best showcased in his highlight reel dunks where his head nearly touches the rim.

However, Harris was not as highly recruited as his talent level should have dictated. As a junior, Harris played in a wing-T style offense at Boca Raton High School. The nature of this offense did not tailor to Harris' speed and playmaking skills. As a senior, the staff at Boca Raton made the decision to move to the spread offense, making Harris a more recognizable playmaker.

Harris is considered one of the best athletes in the class. A long strider in the open field, Harris runs the 40 at a consistent 4.51. This speed, coupled with his great size, should allow the Chippewas to stretch the field.

Cedric Fraser is also an equally adept athlete. Fraser never waits for the ball to come to him, always catching it at its "highest point." Fraser's big play ability is reflected in his five touchdowns off of just 25 catches for the season. Fraser was an all-Broward County selection.

A good comparison for Harris and Fraser would be Michigan State alum and current Washington Redskin Devin Thomas. Used frequently on deep passes and quick screens, Harris and Thomas both have the ability to beat the defender both before and after the catch. Fraser and Harris are a bit lankier than the more thickly built Thomas (listed at 6'2", 218 pounds) and will need to add some upper body strength to be able to free themselves from press coverage.

Showers is perhaps the most versatile of the three. In addition to his prominence as a pass catcher (590 yards and 7 TD's in 2007), Showers is also an equally dangerous returner. In his junior season, Showers returned 2 punts and 2 kickoffs for touchdowns. Showers was no. 60 on the Detroit News Blue Chip List, in addition to being named to the Detroit Free Press All-Detroit Team. Showers could see his first action as a return specialist, serving as a very nice complement to MAC Freshman of the Year Antonio Brown.

These three gamebreakers add to an already impressive position for CMU. Returning for the Chippewas include both Brown and first team All-MAC Bryan Anderson. The only two losses at receiver for the Chippewas in 2008 will be former walk-on Justin Gardner (graduation) and former quarterback Duane Brooks. Gardner was third on the team with 33 receptions for 305 yards and one score, and Brooks was fourth on the team with 30 catches for 325 yards and two scores.

In addition to Brown and Anderson, CMU returns Kito Poblah, Taylor Bradley, and Jean Pitts. Poblah had a very strong finish to the 2007 season, with a touchdown catch in three of his last four games. Bradley showed significant promise before catching the injury bug, but will be healthy this season Bradley and looks to be a big contributor in his sophomore season. Pitts has had an excellent spring, being named as one of three "Iron Chippewas" during the Spring game.

These three athletes, coupled with the athletes already at the position, make up what is arguably the deepest position for CMU. The combination of Brown, Anderson, Poblah, Bradley, Pitts, and these three talented gamebreakers will keep opponents guessing in 2008.

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