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USU football: Aggie QB Chuckie Keeton will be chucking the pigskin to these receivers this year

Published: Friday, Aug. 28 2015 7:04 p.m. MDT

Utah State wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen (7) celebrates his touchdown with teammate D.J. Tialavea (91) in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (Darryl Bush, AP) Utah State wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen (7) celebrates his touchdown with teammate D.J. Tialavea (91) in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (Darryl Bush, AP)

Was the receiving corps the weakest unit to last year’s Utah State football team?

It’s a tough question when the team clicked on all cylinders most of the time en route to the best season in school history. But one must wonder how much of the Aggies’ single-season school records for total points, total offense, completions and total yards came because of the arm of Chuckie Keeton rather than the hands of a group whose running back (Kerwynn Williams) was the second-leading receiver. Graduated athlete Matt Austin led with just 48 receptions in his sixth season. Chuck Jacobs may crack an NFL roster for Week 1 but averaged just more than three catches per game.

Austin was apparently an emotional leader, but he and Jacobs’ on-field production? Replaceable.

Those with the task is a mish-mash of seniors Travis Reynolds and Travis Van Leeuwen and sophomores Bruce “Jojo” Natson (fans should be excited about him) and Brandon Swindall.

Travis Van Leeuwen concentrates on the ball during drills at Utah State spring football practices in the Aggies' indoor practice facility in Logan in 2010. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) Travis Van Leeuwen concentrates on the ball during drills at Utah State spring football practices in the Aggies' indoor practice facility in Logan in 2010. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

The toughest player to replace may actually be tight end Kellen Bartlett, who earned honorable mention all-WAC honors last season. Senior D.J. Tialavea and junior Keegan Andersen will be responsible.

Receivers coach Javon Bouknight, a former star at the University of Wyoming, returns despite former coach Gary Andersen’s departure to the University of Wisconsin. Bouknight is entering his fourth season at the position.

These are the guys seeking to be on the other end of Keeton’s throws this season.

Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for UtahPolicy.com and hails the true-blooded Aggies from Utah. The co-founder of magazine Aggie BluePrint.com, he's been an intern for the Deseret News and other publications. rhett.wilkinson@usu.edu | @wilklogan

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