He said will know more about them after Saturday’s scrimmage, the first of camp.
“That’s when you see how guys are going to react,” Preston said. “Can they retain things because all of a sudden you get in a game and a guy doesn’t know where to line up. It will be a good marker.”
The entire group of wide receivers is young. There isn’t a senior on the roster.
Leading the way are redshirt junior Ricky Jeune, who led the team in receptions (24), yards (520) and receiving touchdowns (4) in 12 starts last season, and sophomore Brad Stewart, who had seven receptions for 93 yards in 12 appearances that included five starts.
Stewart said he feels much stronger, faster and knowledgeable than he did last summer. He said he worked on adding strength and decreasing his body fat from 13 percent to 8 percent during the offseason, while consistently weighing around 200 pounds. As a result, he said he’s much better at breaking press coverage and blocking in this camp compared to last season’s.
“What’s happening in college football, they are allowing a lot more hand-holding and grabbing and stuff,” Preston said. “As a receiver, you have to utilize your hands better to get yourself free. If you don’t you will get held up and not be as effective.”
Another player who should feature in the rotation is sophomore Mikell Lands-Davis, who moved from A-back in the spring. The Alexander High product had seven receptions for 69 yards last season.
Because he played A-back last season, he said he brings a more physical style with his blocking. The toughest part of the move has been the routes and that he’s catching a different type of pass then he did as a running back. He said he finally began to feel like a receiver over the summer after asking Johnson if he was going to participate in any more running back workouts.
Preston said there is no timetable on how long it can take a player to adjust to a new position, but that Lands-Davis has had a good attitude and is improving as a receiver.
“If your attitiude is right about change, the process can speed up and be easier,” Preston said. “If you have a negative attitude, some guys do when you tell them they are moving, then it’s tougher because I have to put them in a headlock.”