Charley Molnar highlights freshmen that have stood out through camp

When Massachusetts football coach Charley Molnar referred to the 2013 recruiting class as the best in UMass history, these are the kind of conversations he was probably hoping to have.

Molnar highlighted a handful of rookies on both sides of the ball that have impressed him through the first week and a half of camp and said that each of these players will play this year.

Here is the list of players he mentioned after Wednesday’s practice.

  • Player: E.J. Burston

Position: Wide receiver

Notes: Burston has something that UMass’ receiving corps lacked last season: size. At 6-foot-3, Burston gives an improved element to the passing game and makes for a nice, big target for quarterback Mike Wegzyn.

  • Player: Shaquille Harris

Position: Wide receiver

Notes: Like Burston, Harris brings some much-needed size at 6-foot-2, 206 pounds.

  • Player: Shakur Nesmith

Position: Wide Receiver

Notes: Still kind of a mystery on his eligibility for the season after the former Temple commit reportedly chose to join UMass as a walk-on this summer. In the meantime, he’s been impressive could very well be an immediate impact player.

  • Player: Daquan Mack

Position: Running back

Notes: Molnar called Wednesday Mack’s “best day as a Minuteman.” He’s a big back that can bulldoze his way through the defense in short-yardage situations. His 247-pound frame will also make him tough to stop in the open field.

  • Player: Lorenzo Woodley

Position: Running back

Notes: This shouldn’t surprise many people. Woodley comes in as a three-star recruit and will likely be an instant-impact player in the backfield if Jordan Broadnax can’t hold on to the top spot.

  • Player: Tyshon Henderson

Position: Offensive tackle

Notes: Henderson’s been getting some first-team reps at left tackle while Anthony Dima was limited up until Wednesday. Molnar said he’s “a little bit ahead of the rest of the (freshman linemen) and we expected that he would be. When you’re running with the first-team offense the expectations are higher. He’s still had numerous errors, but he’s reducing them every single day.”

  • Player: Steve Casali

Position: Linebacker

Notes: Molnar said “You can’t help but notice him. He’s making plays all over the field.”

  • Player: Elijah Wilkinson

Position: Defensive lineman

Notes: Molnar said Wilkinson’s noticeably been making plays.

  • Player: Jackson Porter

Position: Defensive back

Notes: Molnar said Porter’s been getting some quality work in the defensive backfield and has been noticeable.

  • Player: Shane Huber

Position: Linebacker

Notes: “He’ll play this year,” Molnar said. “No doubt in my mind.”

Final note from Molnar on freshmen: “Those guys I mentioned are all gonna play this year. There’s gonna be others but those guys are clearly gonna be in the rotation.”

Nick Canelas can be reached at and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.





One comment on “Charley Molnar highlights freshmen that have stood out through camp

  1. Pingback: UMass Roster Breakdown: Defensive line | Daily Collegian Sports

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