In 2009 Kent State freshman Tyshon Goode put together quite a debut
performance. The 6-foot-1, 178-pounder from Syracuse, N.Y., caught 53 passes
for 755 yards and scored five touchdowns, all new school records.
In the last 12 years just Goode and Darrell Dowery, Jr., are the only KSU
wide receivers to catch 50 or more passes in a season. In the four years before
Goode's arrival the season-high for receptions was 39.
Goode's performance highlights the lack of production by the Kent State
wide receivers over the past several seasons.
With Goode returning in 2010, along with quarterback Spencer Keith,
also a sophomore, the Golden Flashes have a big-time talent at wide receiver.
But the Golden Flashes have some depth too, with two more of their top pass
catchers from 2009 returning this fall.
With Goode returning as the starter at split end in 2010 the Golden Flashes
have one of the best wide receivers in the Mid-American Conference at their
62.9 receiving yards per game placed him ninth in the MAC, and four of the
receivers have exhausted their eligibility.
Goode set freshman records in receptions, yards and touchdowns in 2009.
Goode is on target to finish his Kent State career with 212 receptions, which
would put him second all-time behind Eugene Baker's 229 career catches
between 1995-98. Ironically, Baker is now Goode's position coach.
With classmate Keith returning under center Goode's production arrow
certainly is point up.
Putting Goode's freshman season in perspective is easy. Kent State's
top three receivers-Baker, Najah Pruden (2003-06) and Dowery (2001-04)-combined
to catch 38 passes during their respective freshman seasons; that's 15
less than Goode caught during his freshman campaign in 2009.
Baker, Pruden and Dowery went on to catch 229, 113 and 152 passes, respectively,
in their careers.
Following his outstanding season, Goode was named to Phil
second team and was an honorable mention freshman All-American according to
CollegeFootballNews.com. He was also one of 10 players named to ESPN's
non-BCS all-freshman squad.
During the 2009 season Goode had at least one catch in 11 of 12 games and
recorded three straight 100-yard receiving games.
At Nottingham High School in Syracuse Goode was a two-time all-state honoree
as a running back. He accumulated 3,771 yards rushing and scored 40 touchdowns
in his career.
Kent State graduated two of its top four pass catchers from 2009-Phil
Garner and Jameson Konz, now a member of the Seattle Seahawks.
Returning for the Golden Flashes are seniors Jon Simpson, Anthony Bowman and Leneric Muldrow, juniors Kendrick Pressley and Sam Kirkland, and sophomores Matt Hurdle and Chris Gordon, all who combined for 63 catches for 731 yards and five touchdowns.
The starters are Goode at split end, Kirkland at Flanker and Muldrow at H-Back.
The starting wide receivers accounted for 75 receptions for 971 yards and five
scores, with most of the production coming from Goode.
But, Kirkland looks to be much improved from the 2009 campaign.
The 6-foot-1, 191-pounder from Deep Creek, Va., arrived at Kent State in 2007.
He redshirted that first season while learning the nuances of playing defensive
back at a Division I college. In 2008 he moved over to wide receiver so the
Kent State coaches could take advantage of his speed, size and athleticism.
He caught seven passes for 92 yards and scored twice that year.
Last fall he started two of the 11 games in which he appeared and finished
the year with 18 catches for 154 yards. His biggest play came on a reverse,
which led to an 86-yard touchdown on Kent State's first offensive play
against Bowling Green.
Kirkland's skill set provides a valuable complementary receiver to Goode,
which forces defenses into more man coverage. Kirkland was among the top performers
during spring practice.
Muldrow, a 5-foot-7, 178-pounder from Greenville, N.C., it seems has been
at Kent State forever. The fifth-year senior redshirted in 2006 and has started
seven of the 34 games in which he has appeared over the last three seasons.
He's not the biggest guy, but at H-Back his skill set perfectly suits
the position. Muldrow has speed and good vision, which made him a very dangerous
high school quarterback.
At J.H. Rose High Muldrow won back-to-back state championships and accounted
for nearly 6,500 yards of total offense and 74 touchdowns in his career.
Muldrow made an impact early at Kent State. His first career catch went for
a touchdown at Iowa State, in Kent State's week one victory over the
In his career at Kent State Muldrow has caught 25 passes for 321 yards and
four scores. He also has thrown for two touchdowns and ran for another three
on fake field goal attempts. He returns in 2010 as Kent State's holder
on PAT's and field goals and he'll team with Eugene Jarvis to return punts.
Behind Goode at split end is Hurdle and Gordon. The two have combined for
seven receptions for 25 yards.
Hurdle, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound redshirt sophomore from Richmond, Va., came
to Kent State as a quarterback. He redshirted in 2008 then moved to wide receiver
in 2009. His size and athleticism has the Kent State coaches excited about
Gordon redshirted in 2008 then caught a pair of passes for 16 yards in 2009.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder from Miami, Fla., played quarterback at Coral Gables
High. He threw for over 3,200 yards and 43 touchdowns in his career.
The depth at H-Back includes Bowman and junior Chris Gilbert.
Kirkland made some big plays in 2009.
Bowman, a 5-foot-10, 168-pound senior from Detroit, Mich., transferred from
Scottsdale Community College to Kent State prior to the 2009 season. He originally
signed with Iowa, where he returned four kicks for 76 yards as a freshman in
Last fall Bowman led the team with 913 all-purpose yards (115 receiving, 29
rushing, the rest on kick returns). His biggest play was a 92-yard kickoff
return for a touchdown against Miami.
Gilbert has been Mr. Everything for the Golden Flashes. The 6-foot, 198-pounder
from Huntersville, N.C., started his career in 2008 as a backup wide receiver,
when he was one of just eight true freshmen to letter.
Last fall he spent his time on special teams then moved to cornerback for
spring drills. That experiment didn't last long and now he's third
on the depth chart at H-Back.
At Hopewell High School Gilbert was the first three-time all-conference selection
and became the first player to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards in the same
season. He also was named an all-state kick returner and holds the school record
in the 100 (10.43) and 200-meter dash (21.38).
Over at Flanker, Pressley and redshirt freshman Ed Cazenave provide
Pressley, a 5-foot-11, 187-pound junior from Sumter, S.C., originally signed
with Virginia Tech prior to enrolling at Kent State in 2008. During that injury
shortened season Pressley caught nine passes for 57 yards. Eight of those passes
came in his first game at Kent State. Last year he started 10 of the 12 games
in which he appeared catching 21 passes for 301 yards and three scores.
At Sumter High School Pressley passed for 3,818 yards and 26 touchdowns and
rushed for 1,911 yards and 24 scores. He was the No. 33 player in South Carolina
and was selected to play in the NC/SC Shrine Bowl Game. He then attended Hargrave
Military Academy where Rivals.com ranked him as the No. 26 prep school prospect.
A 6-foot-2, 199-pound redshirt freshman from Dallas, Ga., Cazenave is yet
another player at Kent State with size, speed and athleticism. Cazenave redshirted
in 2009 but during his junior and senior years at East Paulding High he caught
a total of 80 passes.
Over at tight end junior Justin Thompson passed Simpson on the depth
chart this spring.
Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior from Columbus, Ohio, missed half the
2009 season with a knee injury. He returned in time to play the final six games
but did not record a catch. In 2008 he played in games, catching two passes
for 24 yards and one score. In his career at DeSales High, a run-first program,
Thompson caught 30 passes for 670 yards and nine scores.
Simpson, a 6-foot-5, 237-pounder, has been a mainstay at tight end for the
Golden Flashes over the past three seasons. He has started 15 of the 34 games
in which he has appeared and has caught 17 passes for 184 yards and four scores.
Simpson's speed and size create favorable mismatches against any defense,
but he has not yet reached his potential.
Kent State signed just one wide receiver in the recruiting class of 2010.
A 6-foot, 184-pounder from Orrville High School in Ohio, Sam Miller is a versatile player and could be used at defensive back if needed. But, after
catching 77 passes for 1,284 yards and 17 touchdowns in his junior and senior
seasons at Orrville, the Kent State coaches will give him his first shot at
wide receiver. Miller was a first-team all-Ohioan as both a junior and senior
and he was selected to play for Ohio in the annual Big 33 Classic.
During Doug Martin's tenure at Kent State his wide receivers
tended to measure in on the small side. Martin needed smaller, athletic wide
receivers to fit into his offense.
That isn't the case anymore.
He's still looking for athletic pass catchers, but he's added
plenty of height to the roster. Five of the nine players making up the three-deep
at wide receiver stand at least 6-foot and only Muldrow measures in at under
And there's no shortage of speed and athleticism as five of Kent State's
wide receivers played quarterback in high school: Gilbert, Gordon, Hurdle,
Muldrow and Pressley.
But Kent State's biggest strength at wide receiver isn't the increase
in size or the abundance of athleticism. It's depth.
Unlike most of Kent State's other position groups, the Golden Flashes
have experience and depth at wide receiver. And most importantly, they have
plenty of talent to complement Goode.
With Kirkland and Pressley lining up opposite of Goode opposing defenses can't
afford to double-up on Goode, which means all of Kent State's receivers
should see plenty of man coverage and big play opportunities.
While Kent State's wide receiver are among the most experienced of all
position groups, they haven't been overly productive.
Goode caught 53 passes for 755 yards and five scores. The rest of Kent State's
returning wide receivers combined to catch just 63 balls for 731 yards and
five scores. This group will have to become more productive and consistent
to constantly pressure opposing defenses.
With Keith returning at quarterback and a strong stable of running backs,
the Golden Flashes should have no problem finding productivity on the perimeter.
Kent State's wide receivers provide a lot of weapons for quarterback
Spencer Keith. With what should be one of the MAC's top rushing offenses,
the Golden Flashes should see a lot of openings in the secondary.
If the wide receivers can make plays like they did in the spring the Golden
Flashes are going to have an explosive offense.
Keep in mind Kent State's all-time leading receiver is now coaching
the position. With Eugene Baker sharing his expertise and work ethic
the Golden Flashes pass catchers have no excuse for coming up short.
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