Redshirt senior wide reciever KeVonn Mabon walks to his position at the spring game on April 23 at Scheumann Stadium. DN PHOTO KELLEN HAZELIP
Ball State wide receivers shine in 2016 Spring Game
After former Ball State wide receiver Jordan Williams graduated in the fall, a lot of pressure was put on the receiving core to see who would step up as the next leader.
Redshirt senior KeVonn Mabon has seen the most action in his time at Ball State and knew there would be a transition period. He said his team is “ahead of schedule” from where they were last spring.
He finished the annual Spring Game with 102 receiving yards on two catches and a touchdown, but didn’t hesitate to credit his teammates. Redshirt senior Aaron Hepp led the air attack with 119 yards on five receptions and a touchdown of his own.
Aaron Hepp: 119 yards, 1 touchdown
KeVonn Mabon: 102 yards, 1 touchdown
Darian Green: 63 yards
Cywettnie Brown: 62 yards
Kyle Schrank: 26 yards
Devin Reece: 20 yards, 1 touchdown
Ralph Smith lll: 13 yards
Teddy Williamson: 10 yards
Danny Pinter: 5 yards
“If you think I’m the only receiver we have, then you’re crazy, that’s all I have to say,” Mabon said. “We used to call Hepp 7-11 because he was always open no matter what, you throw him the ball and he’d catch it.”
There was a total of nine position players who caught a pass from one of the four quarterbacks on April 23.
Mabon credited the rest of the offense for its seven touchdown performance on Saturday.
“[The offense] is very dangerous, we can put guys wherever we want them to give them the ball,” he said. “There’s not only receivers, there’s running backs, tight ends and playmakers everywhere.
“So if you want to try and double me and leave somebody else one on one, you’re going to lost the way.”
After a silent first half, Mabon made his presence known in the second half with a 65-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Riley Neal, the longest throw of the day.
Neal found Mabon open directly under the Cardinal logo at midfield. After securing the catch, he ran towards the sideline and spun out of two tackles, throwing a pair of defenders off of him before cutting up the sideline untouched into the end zone.
It was a pleasant sight to see for wide receiver coach Alex Bailey, as he has been implementing new routes and plays for his receivers throughout the spring.
“Going into a Spring Game, you want to see guys step up because you know they’re going to get the opportunity,” Bailey said. “Obviously, we’re going to see the tape and there are going to be some things we need to work on, but I think we made some good plays today.”
The receiving core proved its dominance in the between quarter drills as well. At the end of the first quarter, there was a one-on-one competition for the receivers and defensive backs.
Hepp lined up on the far right side and ran straight down the field, tightly contested by the defender. After getting a high pass from Neal, he rose over the defender to catch the ball and tap his toes in bounds for the near 40-yard sideline reception.
Each losing team in the drills had to do pushups. After the first drill, it was the defenders.
The offensive explosion came as no surprise to head coach Mike Neu, who implements a lot of game-like situations during his practices.
“You come out here and play the way you practice … So when you come out into a game-like situation like this you’re not caught off guard,” Neu said. “It’s nothing different from what we have been doing in practice throughout the spring and we’ve just got to continue to do that moving into fall camp.”
Ball State opens up its fall schedule at the beginning of September against Georgia State on the road before returning home on September 17 against Eastern Kentucky.