CU Buffs have high expectations for re-stocked receiver room: “Multiple of us can go for 1,000 yards.”

PUBLISHED August 11, 2023 at 4:23 p.m. | UPDATED: August 11, 2023 at 4:25 p.m.
BOULDER — It’s been a few years since the Buffs aired it out, but according to the CU wideouts, that’s all about to change this fall.
Last year, the Buffs ranked 118th in the nation at 172.9 passing yards per game. The year before that, they were 126th (131.3). Now with nearly all-new personnel, the Buffs pass-catchers believe quarterback Shedeur Sanders is ready to rack up yardage in his first year in offensive coordinator Sean Lewis’ up-tempo system.
“We’re trying to be one of the best (passing games) in the country,” receiver Xavier Weaver said. “(Shedeur) can do a whole lot with the receivers he’s got. Multiple of us can go for 1,000 yards. That’s how big the expectation is this year.”
If Weaver’s bold prediction comes true, it would mark just the second time in program history CU had more than one 1,000-yard receiver, with the first instance coming in 1992. That year, Charles E. Johnson (1,149) and Michael Westbrook (1,060) led a dynamic passing attack that averaged just a tick below 300 yards per game.
The materialization of Weaver’s prediction — or anything even close to it — would mark a stark contrast to the last two seasons, when the Buffs’ leading receiver didn’t crack even 500 yards.
But the swell of confidence that came with the arrival of Deion Sanders as head coach, and his son as QB, changed the complexion of CU’s passing game almost overnight, even as the Buffs have yet to play a game.
Weaver, a South Florida transfer, is currently a projected starter along with Jimmy Van Horn (also a USF transfer), Javon Antonio (Northwestern State) and two-way star Travis Hunter, the top-ranked transfer prospect in the 2023 class who will split time between offense and defense. Hunter followed Sanders from Jackson State.
“All those guys are so versatile, and can score from anywhere on the field,” Deion Sanders said. “That presents a tremendous threat to defensive backs. Xavier can take a quick hitch and go (for a score), and they all can do that in the first group. So I can’t wait for everyone to see this (wideout group) work, because they definitely have a quarterback who can get it to them. We’ve just got to protect.”
The Buffs gave up 23 sacks in 12 games last year, but like the rest of the roster, believe the re-tooled front featuring three transfers (right tackle Savion Washington, left guard Jack Bailey, right guard Jack Wilty) and two returners (left tackle Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan, center Van Wells) will hold up.
“This is a different O-line room and a different O-line attitude than they’ve had the last couple years,” Washington asserted. “We’ll give Shedeur time to find his guys.”
Van Horn says that Lewis’ system, which routinely features no-huddle as the Buffs aim to crank up snaps, will provide “plenty” of touches for all the receivers. With optimism, Van Horn’s already busted out his calculator to take Weaver’s prediction a step further, envisioning a season where the CU receivers shatter the school record book.
“With our high-tempo offense, we’re trying to get over 120 snaps a game,” Van Horn said. “At that tempo, a lot of us could be getting at least eight touches at game. And we all know what each of the guys in this receiver room can do with eight touches… I did the math. All we each need is 86 yards a game, and we could each end up with 1,000 at the end of the season.”
Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (2) makes a catch of the go-ahead touchdown against Nebraska defensive back Dicaprio Bootle (23) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. Colorado won 33-28.

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