Fresno State receivers run through a gauntlet during a fall camp practice session. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
Fresno State senior wide receiver Aaron Peck had big plans for the 2015 season.
After playing in all 14 games in 2014, the senior worked hard throughout the offseason and appeared to be on track to lead the Bulldogs’ receiving corps.
But then came a foot injury, which ended Peck’s season prematurely.
Now, the Bulldogs try to move on without the senior’s veteran leadership on the field.
“There are some curves in the path that the good Lord throws in front of us that you don’t anticipate, but you just have to make the most of it,” Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter said.
Without Peck, the ‘Dogs expect to rely heavily on a young group of receivers.
KeeSean Johnson and L.J. Reed are among the young receivers who are asked to make an immediate impact.
“We brought in [Johnson] as a redshirt freshman, and he’s gonna have his opportunity,” DeRuyter said. “[Reed] is a freshman with a big body. He has a terrific upside. He’s gotta grow up quick.”
At Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, California, Johnson made a name as a football and basketball star.
Reed also excelled as a basketball and football player at Tokay High School in Elk Grove, California.
One of the older receivers on the team is junior Josiah Blandin, but he is also looking to get acclimated to Fresno State.
“We brought in [Blandin] from Long Beach to come and compete right away,” DeRuyter said. “With [Peck] out, he has to step up.”
Delvon Hardaway, one of the returning receivers, is also currently sidelined with a knee injury.
As a redshirt freshman, Hardaway made seven starts and recorded 23 receptions for 279 yards with two touchdowns.
The sophomore is expected to return to the field in about four weeks.
As for Peck, he’s eligible to return next season as a redshirt senior.
“He’ll have a chance to rehab and come back,” DeRuyter said. “His senior year will be next year.”