McNeese State junior receiver Ernest Celestie. (American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 10:34 AMWide receivers typically speak the same language as Muppets character Beaker.
That does not appear to be the case with this year’s crop of wideouts at McNeese State.
“We have a healthy room. It’s full of brothers,” said junior Ernest Celestie. “It’s like a family presence when you walk into our room. That’s always good to have. We don’t want a bunch of individuals just looking to get theirs.”
Celestie (Texas Tech) is one of three Bowl Subdivision transfers in the group, along with Darius Carey (North Texas) and Damion Dixon (Louisville), all of whom return from a year ago.
Experience is a trait throughout. The other three players listed in the top six on the depth chart — Wes Briscoe, Diontae Spencer and DeVionte Edmonson — each have two years of playing experience.
“I think we really have a chance (to be deep),” said Cowboys head coach Matt Viator. “The kids coming back from last year appear to be healthier, for sure. Hopefully we are deeper there. We definitely have experience.”
While each player brings different skills and strengths, Celestie said their chemistry is the most impressive attribute.
“It’s very rare. You don’t find it everywhere,” Celestie said. “Usually there’s a standout here or there. We’ve got a group of all-stars. You put us together and we’re unstoppable.
“You try to make one king — he’ll excel because he’s a great receiver, but he won’t reach his full potential because it’s a band of brothers.”
There might not be a king in this castle, but Darius Carey certainly qualifies as a duke. Carey led the team with 42 catches for 487 yards in his first year in a McNeese uniform.
“I expect to have a great senior season,” Carey said. “I worked hard during the summer with my teammates. About 99 percent of the team was here, which was a big plus for us.”
Carey can make people miss, but Briscoe might have the best knack for coming down with the deep ball. Though fifth on the team with 17 receptions in 2011, he was third in yardage (380) a whopping average of 22.4 yards per grab.
Celestie and Dixon have virtually the same numbers. Celestie had 25 catches for 261 yards (10.4 ypc) and Dixon grabbed 22 passes for 245 yards (11.2 ypc).
Edmonson had nine catches but tied Carey and tight end Josh Jordan for the team lead by turning two of them into touchdowns.
Celestie said he expects the various talents to mix together for the perfect gumbo this season.
“If you need it, we have it in our receiving room,” Celestie said. “And it’s awesome to put it together.”
Junior Ernest Celestie breaks down the receiving corps in his own words:
Darius Carey: He’s all-around. Great footwork. Great hands. Great acceleration. Great routes.
DeVionte Edmonson: I’ve played with him on every level. He’s huge, he’s physical. He gives you length. He gives you great speed. If I want someone to block for me, I want Dee to block for me.
Damion Dixon: You’ve got speed, length, great hands.
Wes Briscoe: He can stretch the field for you and also has great hands. He’s tough as heck.
Diontae Spencer: Just pure speed. I don’t know anybody faster.
Ernest Celestie: If I had to give myself an attribute, I’m quick. I don’t mind taking a hit. I don’t mind blocking. I like to put myself second.
Deajon Mitchell: Speed on the outside. Great routes.
William Ryckman: It’s a debate. He may have the best hands in the room. He doesn’t wear any gloves.
Jereon McGilvery: The best route-runner in the room.
Kenny Brown: He’s come up and had a great spring. Great hands, real physical.
Shelby Hemenway: He has good size. He’s real physical. Him and William are both walk-ons who have shown what they’ve got