BELLFLOWER, Calif. — Four games into the season, one of St. John Bosco’s biggest strengths is its receiving corps — despite losing two of its three leading receivers from 2018.
With four-star wide receiver Logan Loya transferring in from Orange Lutheran (California) and four-star junior Beaux Collins adding about two inches and 10 pounds this summer to reach 6-foot-2 1/2 and 195 pounds, they’ve been nice complements for four-star Kris Hutson, who had the second-most receiving yards on the team last year.
Jode McDuffie, ranked three-stars by 247Sports and Rivals, is also an important part of the group, which benefits by playing alongside one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, DJ Uiagalelei, who’s ranked No. 12 among the USA TODAY High School Sports Chosen 25.
“We just have the most explosive receiving corps in the country, no doubts about it,” Collins said. “We can score an 80-yard from the goal line, and we can just do everything.”
Friday wasn’t a great game for Bosco’s offense, relative to its typical performance. The Braves were slow to get going in a 31-8 win over Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Maryland). But the No. 3 team in the Super 25 still won handily to increase its record to 4-0.
And there were still times when they moved the ball with apparent ease.
Bosco punted after the first drive and turned the ball over on downs on the second. Uiagalelei completed just one of his first five passes.
But when safety Jake Newman picked off a pass on Good Counsel’s second drive, Bosco got aggressive with ball at its own 25-yard line.
On the first play, Uiagalalei threw a pass down the sideline. Collins nabbed it and took it 62 yards. After a five-yard penalty, McDuffie scored an 18-yard touchdown.
Two plays. That’s it. When the offense clicks — and it normally does — Bosco feels invincible, and production comes from the entire group of receivers. With nine receptions Saturday, Hutson led the team for the third game in a row. His speed allows him to catch the ball deep or run short routes and then burst past defenders.
If defenses focus on Hutson, they miss the shifty Loya, who has offers from 13 schools including Nebraska and nine Pac-12 programs. Collins, recruited by Alabama, Clemson and 24 other programs, and is a deep threat — he scored touchdowns on all of his four receptions against Liberty (Henderson, Nevada) in the third game of the season, averaging 44.5 yards per catch.
And if there’s a more dangerous No. 4 wide receiver on any team’s depth chart than McDuffie, who has offers from a pair of Pac-12 programs, it’s not an offense you’d like to face.
“The cool thing is that we can all move around, too,” Loya said. “We can do all positions, all four of us.”
Uiagalelei, listed at 6-foot-4 1/2, 246 pounds, has the rare combination of accuracy and the ability to break tackles. He’s the size of many opposing defensive linemen. And though he’s listed as a pro-style quarterback, he’s an effective scrambler who can gain the extra yard on his feet or find a receiver downfield.
Loya is the new kid on the block, but the chemistry between he and Uiagalelei has grown quickly, evidenced by their nine connections in the season opener.
“Just kind of clicked,” Loya said. “Our preparation in the offseason was amazing for all four of us receivers, and we’re all just clicking.”