Spring Position Previews: Wide Receiver

ORLANDO ( – While much of the speculation from outside the UCF football program this spring will be on the quarterbacks, one thing is for sure. We have a pretty good idea who those signal-callers will be tossing the ball to.

Wide receiver looks to be a position of strength for the Knights once again as they prepare for the 2019 season, starting with the opening of spring practice earlier this week.

The Knights will once again be a veteran group at the wide-out spot. Rising junior Gabriel Davis was a First Team All-AAC selection after hauling in 53 receptions for 815 yards and seven touchdowns, all team-high totals, while starting 12 of 13 games. Tre Nixon was the team’s No. 2 receiver. The rising junior hauled in 40 aerials for 562 yards and four scores.

“I think experience is really big and what separates us in the receiver room,” Nixon said after a recent practice. “

Of the three starting wide receivers from 2018, one key piece is missing. Slot receiver Dredrick Snelson declared for the National Football League following his junior season, opening an opportunity for someone to step up in a bigger role.

Two immediate candidates are rising juniors Otis Anderson and Marlon Williams. Anderson, who was listed as Utility on last year’s depth chart due to his versatility has seen a ton of game action in his first two seasons with the Knights. Last season, Anderson caught 16 passes for 230 yards and three scores, while also rushing 52 times for 275 yards and four TDs. Williams caught 18 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown in 2018.

“With Snelson gone, it’s wide open for the slot (position),” Nixon said. “Guys like Marlon, Otis … a lot of guys competing for the slot position. I feel like we have a lot of depth, even missing Snelson. I feel like whoever does step up and take that spot, they’re going to a really good job.”

In addition to those mentioned above, Ke’Von Ahmad (R-Fr.), Alex Harris (R-Jr.) and Jacob Harris (R-Sr.) have all seen playing time for the Knights either on offense, special teams or both. Each will be looking to make an impression during spring ball to push for more playing time in the fall. Nixon is especially excited about one newcomer. His brother Devin Nixon is a graduate transfer from Western Kentucky, who has joined the Knights for his final season of eligibility.

As for the quarterbacks, Nixon said everyone at that position has done a great job in the offseason and in the early portion of spring practice.

“I like all of them,” Nixon said. “They’re all really good on and off the field. They all have strong arms and can run the ball. It’s open competition (there too).”

To hear more of Nixon’s comments, click the audio player below:

Next up in the spring position preview series: Linebackers (March 13).

2019 Returnees / 2018 Stats:
Gabe Davis (Jr.) / 53 rec. - 815 yds - 7 TDs
Tre Nixon (RJr.) / 43 rec. - 688 yds - 5 TDs
Marlon Williams (Jr.) / 18 rec. - 234 yds - 1 TD
Otis Anderson (Jr.) / 16 rec. - 230 yds - 3 TDs
Ke'von Ahmad (RFr.)
Kyle Benkel (RJr.)
Jason Colubiable (RSo.)
Alex Harris (RJr.)
Jacob Harris (RSr.)