Gallup will share with “other guys”
FORT COLLINS» Colorado State’s Michael Gallup is the best weapon at wide receiver in the Mountain West.
A first-team all-conference pick after his junior year, there was no shock in seeing him on the preseason all-conference list. It was a given after he posted the numbers he did — 76 catches for 1,272 yards and 14 touchdowns — and the reality is, he didn’t really click in coach Mike Bobo’s system until the second half of the season.
In the final eight games, Gallup caught 58 passes for 1,024 yards and 12 touchdowns, reminding many of the exploits of former star Rashard Higgins.
Now fully versed in the offensive system, Gallup could explode in 2017, even with defenses painting a target on him. It makes one wonder if anybody is giving a second thought to those other guys the Rams will line up at wide receiver.
Not that the “other guys” care.
“I’ve never been too big of a guy who has to have all the popularity and stuff,” junior Bisi Johnson said. “I like staying low-key, so if I’m the ‘other guys,’ I’m OK. I’ll play my role, I’ll go out on Saturdays and I’ll make my plays.”
Johnson, from a Bear Creek High School, proved it against Idaho in the Potato Bowl. He snared seven passes for a school-best 265 yards, scoring two touchdowns. One of his scoring catches was for 73 yards, or 8 longer than Gallup’s best.
Those seven receptions represented a quarter of Johnson’s season total. Johnson figures he’ll get the chance to back up that performance.
Johnson’s catches in the bowl were just two short of the season total Detrich Clark compiled in 2016, good for 90 yards and one touchdown. Although the junior college transfer would line up in the slot, he was mainly used as a rusher on sweeps, finishing with 36 carries and three TDs. What the former quarterback never really became adept at was running routes.
So he worked all offseason and spring on replacing choppy steps with long strides, hitting cuts and finding open space. He earned praise for his rapid development, then continued to refine what he learned heading into fall camp.
In a three-wide out set, Johnson and Clark will often be on the same side, and they feel they play to each other’s strengths. Clark is quicker coming out of the slot; Johnson is more precise with his routes on the outside.
Gallup believes defenders are going to be versed on names other than his before the conference schedule hits.
“It’s not going to take long. I honestly believe that,” Gallup said. “We saw it in the bowl game last year. Bisi can do just about as good as any wide receiver in this conference. Detrich Clark, he is going to surprise everybody. Nobody really knows about him, but he’s going to blow up this year. This first game we have, it’s going to be the first test, and I think they’re going to do great.”