Fresno State senior receiver Aaron Peck (7) will be counted on to step up as the No. 1 target in the passing game this upcoming season. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
Fresno State’s wideout corps has a huge question mark coming into the season, as the former No. 1 option at the position, Josh Harper, will be entering the NFL Draft next month.
Senior Aaron Peck looks to fill that void. The 6-foot-3 213-pound athletic wide receiver played in all 14 games last season, finishing the year with 419 receiving yards (second most on the team) and three touchdowns.
After their 13th practice of the spring on Tuesday, head coach Tim DeRuyter said he likes what he is seeing out of Peck and the wide receiver position, but says Peck needs to be more consistent as both a player and a leader.
“He’s showing flashes of getting better,” DeRuyter said. “He’s made some great catches out here; making those tough, contested catches out here is what you are expected to do as a senior.
“You need to have a guy with his physical tools play like it, and although he’s done it at times he needs to get more consistent with it.”
Peck will be looking to have a big year this season, and he also realized he needs to become more reliable as a receiver to take that next step.
“I’ve been playing pretty good throughout (spring) practices,” Peck said. “I know there are plays I should have made, but I like where I’m at right now.”
Peck, one of just two senior wide receivers, has liked what he has seen out of the young wideout group so far throughout spring. He sees those same flashes DeRuyter has wanted to see throughout these last 13 practices.
“I think we’re looking good at the wide receiver position,” Peck said. “ There are a lot of young explosive guys in here. These guys are really quick and fast, and they have brought a whole new dimension to our bubble screens. If we get these guys screened right these guys could take it 50 or 60 (yards) anytime.”
Since this is Peck’s last season, leadership and consistency are main goals for him going into his final year. Although Harper’s absence will be missed this year, Peck is only worried about the tangibles he brings to the table this season.
“I’m not performing to the ability that I know I can,” Peck said. “That’s my main focus going into the season. Especially with the wideout corps, being a senior, I’m just trying to talk to those guys and lead by example — try to get them right before the season.”
This young wideout group will also be looking to the only other senior receiver on the team, Justin Johnson, to help lead them through this next season.
“He’s doing a good job,” DeRuyter said on Johnson’s play. “He’s a guy who’s been dependable and physical for us, and doing a good job senior leadership wise.”
The ‘Dogs have one more practice until their Spring Showcase this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Bulldog Stadium.