Football Fall Camp Report - The Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Aug. 19, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. -
With two scrimmages under their belt, the 2012 Fordham University football Rams are nearing the end of the fall camp. But that doesn't mean we're done looking at the personnel as today we'll investigate the wide receiving corps, a unit that returns the top five pass catchers from 2011.
No matter who wins the starting quarterback job for the Rams in 2012, one thing is for sure; he will have a plethora of weapons to choose from. Fordham has eleven of the 17 players who caught a pass last year back this fall, including the top five receivers. That should make the quarterback's job a little easier.
Leading the returning receivers is senior Blake Wayne, who hauled in a team-high 38 passes for 349 yards (9.2 yards/reception) and one touchdown last fall while also rushing twice for five net yards. His top game came at Lafayette when he caught eleven passes for 106 yards, both career highs, and one touchdown (six yards). Wayne also had four receptions for 70 yards at Georgetown and made four catches for 31 yards at Penn.
In the 2012 Spring Game, Wayne grabbed three passes for 54 yards while in the two scrimmages so far this summer he has eight receptions for 39 yards and one touchdown.
As a sophomore in 2010, Wayne served as the starting quarterback, completing 145 of 241 passes (60.2%) for 1,614 yards and six touchdowns and he also rushed 109 times for 458 yards (4.2 yards/carry) with four scores, Wayne became the first quarterback in school history to rush for more than 100 yards in a game when he gained 108 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown (11 yards) at Holy Cross and he also completed 19 of 30 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns (six and seven yards) in the game.
Also back is sophomore Brian Wetzel who grabbed 36 passes for 493 yards as a rookie last fall. He was second on team in receiving yards and third in receptions, hauling in a season-high eleven passes for 118 yards at Georgetown. Wetzel also made seven catches for 79 yards against Bucknell and gained 94 yards on six receptions at Lafayette.
Sophomore Dan Light, who started every game at tight end for the Rams last year, returns after one of the most successful rookie campaigns for a tight end at Fordham. He caught 23 passes for 233 yards (10.1 yards/catch) and one touchdown in 2011 and also rushed once for 13 yards. Light hauled in a season-high five passes for 53 yards at Georgetown and grabbed four passes for 51 yards against Bucknell.
In the 2012 Spring Game, Light led all receivers with seven receptions for 122 yards and one score while in the two scrimmages so far, he has seven catches for 96 yards and one touchdown.
Sophomore Sam Ajala opened his collegiate career with seven catches for 47 yards in last year's season opener at Connecticut and he finished the season with 15 catches for 144 yards (9.6 yards/reception) with one touchdown, He followed the UConn game with four receptions for 76 yards and one touchdown (60 yards) in the win over Columbia and then made three catches for ten yards at Rhode Island.
Ajala, who caught three passes for 35 yards in the 2012 Spring Game, has eight catches for 133 yards and one score in the first two scrimmages of camp.
Junior Andrew Spanarkel will be looking for increased playing time in 2012 after appearing in seven games as a sophomore last year, catching three passes for 21 yards. He enjoyed a solid spring season, capping it with two catches in the Spring Game, and had a 40-yard touchdown reception in the first scrimmage of 2012 camp.
Sophomore Lourenzo Smith also returns and gives the Rams depth at wide out. He appeared in all eleven games as a freshman for the Rams, catching two passes for six yards and also making six tackles on special teams.
Senior James Avedesian and sophomores Alex Leo, David Lulgjuraj and Adam Malkiewicz also return for the Rams while newcomers who will look to break into the receiving rotation include Ben Johnson, Tony Patrignelli and Marco Fragnito along with tight end Phazahn Odom.
Johnson, a graduate of Orchard Park High School in Orchard Park, New York, was a member of the 2011 Class AA State Championship team and was named MVP of the State Championship Game. A First Team All AA-South and Second Team All-State selection last fall, he was named Most Outstanding wide receiver in Western New York. On the year, Johnson recorded 925 receiving yards with 16 touchdowns and amassed 1,645 career receiving yards with 28 touchdowns in his high school career.
Patrignelli is a product of Monroe-Woodbury High School where was a three-year varsity starter and served as a team captain as a senior in 2011, He played both at running back and wide receiver and returned punts on special teams and was also a member of the track and field team, winning the Section 9 Class A title in the long jump (20' 0.25"). Fragnito, a graduate of Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., was a four-year letter winner in football.
Odom, a graduate of Barnwell High School in Barnwell, South Carolina, was selected to play in the North/South All-Star game last year when he was a First Team All-State pick. He was also named First Team All-Area and First Team All-Region and a South Carolina North-South All-Star.
Field Awareness: During PAT practice, the defense blocked an attempt but an alert Brian Wetzel picked up the ball ran it into the end zone for the conversion. After practice, head coach Joe Moorhead spoke to the team of his experience with that sort of play when he was an assistant at Akron in 2008. Trailing by a point, the Zips were attempting late field goal at Eastern Michigan from the EMU nine. The kick was blocked and the Eastern Michigan's players started celebrating. However, the Akron holder, Andy Hildreth, recognized the situation and that fact that it was a live ball since it was blocked behind the line of scrimmage. Hildreth picked up the ball and took it to the five for a first down. Two plays later, the Zips punched it in for the 42-35 win. The moral of the story: be aware of your situation.
Two-Sport Star?: Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead was a three-sport standout in his high school days at Central Catholic in Pittsburgh, lettering in baseball and basketball along with football. It appears that his nine-year-old son, Mason, is looking to follow in his father's footsteps. During practice, Mason stretches with the football team while, after practice, he and his father take to the batting cage on Jack Coffey Field where Mason works on his pitching.
Schedule: Yesterday was the last two-a-days for the Rams while today's practice was the final before the third and final scrimmage which will take place on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. on Jack Coffey Field. The Rams will them have Tuesday off and will start preparations for the Lock Haven game on Wednesday.