Patrick Ochs

New crop of receivers will need to rise and lead South Mississippi in 2017

East Central's Brad Cumbest runs the ball while St. Stanislaus' Corbin Blanchard pushes him toward the sidelines on October 14, 2016, in Bay St. Louis.
East Central's Brad Cumbest runs the ball while St. Stanislaus' Corbin Blanchard pushes him toward the sidelines on October 14, 2016, in Bay St. Louis. file

The who-to-know summer series rolls on this week, with receivers next up.

South Mississippi receivers filled up the state’s leaderboard a year ago with St. Martin’s Kalem Reddix second in Mississippi with 1,774 yards while George County’s Tyrese Fryfogle (1,430) and Dwan Williams (1,372) weren’t far behind. St. Stanislaus’ Corbin Blanchard (1,184) and Chase Rogers (1,042) also eclipsed 1,000 yards. The Coast’s returners will have to put in some serious work to put up those kind of numbers in 2017.

Here are five receivers to know heading into the upcoming season:

Brad Cumbest

School: East Central

Class: Senior

2016 receiving stats: 30 receptions, 575 yards, 6 TDs

The breakdown: Brad Cumbest is probably the easiest no-brainer on this list. With a guy like running back Tony Brown dominating the offense, Cumbest maybe doesn’t have some of the stats as others on the list but it’s hard to deny his dominance. The recent Mississippi State commit towers over opposing defenders at 6-foot-6 and makes the most of his opportunities.

Jalen Knight

School: Gulfport

Class: Senior

2016 receiving stats: 38 receptions, 867 yards, 5 TDs

The breakdown: As a junior last year, Jalen Knight proved to be a big-play threat for the Admiral quarterbacks and something of a safety net. Three times he eclipsed 100 yards with his best performance coming in the form of six receptions for 200 yards against D’Iberville. He enters the season as South Mississippi’s leading returning receiver with 867 yards.

De’Angelo Mayers

School: Biloxi

Class: Senior

2016 receiving stats: 23 receptions, 267 yards, 3 TDs

The breakdown: One of the more versatile athletes on this list, De’Angelo Mayers does a little bit of everything for Biloxi. He’ll pop up in the backfield a bit, play slot receiver and also get regular reps at defensive back and on special teams. Mayers was named Biloxi’s team MVP a year ago after helping lead the Indians to the playoffs. As a junior, Mayers rushed 23 times for 150 yards, caught 23 passes for 267 yards and three scores and recorded 39 tackles. Expect to see more of a role in the passing attack in 2017 with the graduation of Tim Jones, who is now at Southern Miss.

Patrick Roth

School: Resurrection

Class: Senior

2016 receiving stats: 30 receptions, 447 yards, 6 TDs

The breakdown: Patrick Roth may be the most reliable returning receiver on the Coast. As a junior a year ago, Roth caught 30 passes for 447 yards and six touchdowns — all team highs. He also recorded 31 tackles and led RCS with four interceptions and five passes defended. RCS graduated quite a bit of offensive firepower, so don’t be surprised to see Roth’s touches make a jump in 2017.

Tony Young

School: Long Beach

Class: Senior

2016 receiving stats: 49 receptions, 708 yards, 6 TDs

The breakdown: It makes sense that the favorite target of the Coast’s top returning passer (Long Beach’s Cade Crosby) would find his way onto the list. Tony Young constantly got behind defenders for big gains a year ago, finishing with 49 receptions for 708 yards and six scores. Young really broke out over a two-game stretch against Pearl River Central and Gautier, catching 16 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns.

But wait, there’s more

A few other names to know: Gulfport’s Larozzo Shugart is moving from primarily a running back position to a slot receiver spot and is always a danger to break one. ... Hancock’s Marquis Cherry will split time at running back and receiver. Along with tight end Chase McDonald, the new Hawk QB will have plenty of help. ... Harrison Brewer is the lone holdover of Myles Brennan’s passing weapons at St. Stanislaus. The senior caught 44 passes for 582 yards and four touchdowns last season. Expect him to be the go-to receiver as the Rockachaws transition to a new system under new coach Jeff Jordan.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs