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Northwestern receiver Kyle Prater expects great things

You probably expected Kyle Prater to be more productive over the past two seasons. His transfer to Northwestern in January 2012 was viewed as a pretty big deal, and rightfully so.

He was the top-ranked receiver and No. 3-ranked player in the 2010 class, according to Rivals.com. Prater didn’t have the type of impact at USC his recruiting rankings suggested he could, but the prevailing thought was that with a fresh start at a new school where he’d be afforded a larger role in the offense, Prater could thrive.

That did not happen. Over 23 games with the Wildcats, Prater battled injuries and recorded 19 catches for 113 yards and zero touchdowns. Could this be the season he finally breaks out? The 6-foot-5, 234-pound Prater provided some encouraging words at practice Saturday.

According to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, Prater said his legs are “fully healthy and strong” and that, “I feel great things coming.” It’d be foolish to expect Prater to blossom into NU’s top receiver this season, but if – as he told Greenstein – he’s fully healthy, can he be a productive complementary target?

I’d say so. In an offense led by Trevor Siemian, a pocket passer, that should feature more pass plays than it did the past two seasons, when dual threat Kain Colter split snaps with Siemian, Christian Jones and Tony Jones will likely be NU’s top two receivers. Rutgers transfer Miles Shuler could start in the slot, and Cameron Dickerson and Prater will be targeted on certain plays.

With his big frame, Prater could be a productive red zone target, but he’s not explosive enough to stretch defenses. A few more catches like that would certainly add something to NU’s offense.