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Counting down Northwestern’s roster: 89 to 80

Our series continues with a group of receivers and superbacks

Iowa v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We’ve gone through Northwestern’s most important players, positional previews, and opponent breakdowns. Now, as the season creeps closer, we’re counting down the roster, 99 to 1. We’ll provide biographical information, stats, and an outlook for each player’s role headed into 2018.

Next up are numbers 89 to 80, featuring wide receivers and superbacks.

89 Charlie Mangieri

SB | 6-foot-4, 233 lbs. | Freshman | Peoria, Ill.

Likely Role in 2018: Scout team/redshirt

Mangieri joins fellow Illinois native Brian Kaiser in representing the superbacks for the class of 2018. A standout two-way player in high school, Mangieri comes from a football family — both of his older brothers played Big Ten football, and his uncles Eddie and Danny Sutter were both Wildcats back in the 1990s. With a lot of older guys ahead of Mangieri on the depth chart, it’s unlikely he’ll play much in 2018.

Career Stats: None

88 Bennett Skowronek

WR | 6-foot-4, 211 lbs. | Junior | Fort Wayne, Ind.

Likely Role in 2018: Starter at X-receiver

Skowronek enjoyed a breakout season during his sophomore campaign in Evanston. A year after recording eight catches in backup duty, Skowronek quickly became Clayton Thorson’s favorite target. He burst onto the scene with 123 yards against Nevada and developed into a deep threat, tallying receptions of 30 yards or more in four games. An ace in the red zone, Skowronek will be Northwestern’s No. 1 receiver in 2018, but he’ll need to become more consistent and tilt the field in his direction to open up the Wildcat offense.

Career Stats: 13 starts, 53 receptions, 714 yards, five touchdowns, 14.3 YPC in 2017

87 Eric Eshoo

SB | 6-foot-4, 235 lbs. | Sophomore | Chicago, Ill.

Likely Role in 2018: Competing for snaps at superback

Another big-bodied superback from Illinois, Eshoo has only appeared in one game during his time at Northwestern. Eshoo was a state champ at Loyola Academy, and he’ll compete for playing time behind Cam Green, Trey Pugh, and James Prather. He’s has a lot of trouble with injuries, but should be able to contribute in some way if healthy.

Career Stats: One game

86 Raymond Niro III

WR | 5-foot-10, 183 lbs. | Freshman | Barrington, Ill.

Likely Role in 2018: Scout team/redshirt

Niro, a preferred walk-on, was a dual-threat quarterback in high school, amassing 3,658 total yards of offense and 44 touchdowns (30 of which came on the ground) in 2017. In Evanston, he’ll play receiver, where his speed and shiftiness should play up. Don’t expect to see Niro play this year, but he could be an elusive slot receiver in the future.

Career Stats: None

86 Cody Link

SB | 6-foot-3, 249 lbs. | Sophomore | Madison, Wis.

Likely Role in 2018: Competing for snaps at superback/special teams

Born in Naperville, Link has only appeared in one game at Northwestern. James Prather is the only heavier superback, so we might see Link line up in short-yardage or special teams situations in 2018.

Career Stats: One game

85 Jackson Tirmonia

WR | 6-foot-3, 198 lbs. | Sophomore | Canton, Ohio

Likely Role in 2018: Competing to crack the WR rotation

Tirmonia hasn’t contributed much during his time at Evanston, but his high school tape demonstrates his ability as a vertical threat and an adept route-runner. His Hudl page boasts of 4.48 speed and he’s got good size at 6-foot-3. Still, he’s probably stuck behind Skowronek, Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, and Charlie Fessler at the X-spot.

Career Stats: One catch, five yards

84 Cameron Green

SB | 6-foot-3, 237 lbs. | Junior | Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Likely Role in 2018: Starter at superback

Green and Trey Pugh are competing for the starting superback role, and both feature different skillsets. A converted wide receiver, Green is the better pass-catcher. His father, Mark, was a receiver for the Bears the younger Green made some plays last season in wins over Michigan State and Maryland. He’ll need to develop his blocking skills, a crucial component of the superback role in Mick McCall’s offense.

Career Stats: 24 appearances, 24 catches, 201 yards, two touchdowns

83 Will Lansbury

WR | 6-foot-2, 208 lbs. | Redshirt freshman | Pebble Beach, Calif.

Likely Role in 2018: Competing to crack the WR rotation.

Lansbury redshirted back in 2016 and did not see the field last year. He was an excellent two-way high schooler in coastal California, but he’s got some work to do to climb the depth chart at Northwestern.

Career Stats: None

82 Alex Oelsner

SB | 6-foot-4, 234 lbs. | Redshirt freshman | Niwot, Colo.

Likely Role in 2018: Competing for snaps at superback/special teams

Oelsner enters his redshirt freshman season staring up at a lot of depth at superback. He was a versatile player in high school, playing tight end, linebacker and long snapper. The Colorado native also played basketball and threw for the track and field team.

Career Stats: None

81 Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman

WR | 6-foot-2, 202 lbs. | Sophomore | Minneapolis, Minn.

Likely Role in 2018: In the two-deep at X-receiver

Chiaokhiao-Bowman, or “RCB,” is certainly charismatic, and he showed some talent in four games last year as well. In high school, he saw time at *inhales* quarterback, running back, wide receiver, free safety, cornerback, return specialist, kicker and punter *exhales*. He also set school records in the long jump and triple jump while earning all-conference honors in football, basketball, and track and field. Given his frame and athleticism, RCB should get some chances to see the field, especially in the red zone.

Career Stats: Four catches, 35 yards, one touchdown

80 Trey Pugh

WR | 6-foot-4, 239 lbs. | Sophomore | Plain City, Ohio

Likely Role in 2018: Second-string tight end

A former top-15 tight end recruit, Pugh was one of two early-enrollees in 2017. He appeared in 11 games on special teams last season, but he’ll see an enlarged role with Garrett Dickerson’s graduation. He is a bit more physical of a player compared to Cam Green, which could be helpful in short yardage situations.

Career Stats: 11 appearances