Southern wide receiver Hunter Register and the Jaguars are counting on his surgically repaired left labrum to hold out this season. He’s being expected to shoulder more of the load in the Jaguars passing game.
Register has all the skills to be a go-to receiver with size, leaping ability and speed, and it’s crucial since Southern has lost its top two receivers from 2018.
Trey Smith and Kendall Catalon combined for 61 catches, 905 yards and 13 touchdowns to lead the receiving corps. The returning Jaguars wideouts totaled 37 receptions for 349 yards and two scores.
If the Southern offense wants to get cranked up behind dual threat quarterback LaDarius Skelton, Register and Co. have to step up their game.
“I’m excited about the whole receiving corps,” Register said. “A lot of people don’t realize Jamar (Washington) and (Cameron) Mackey, they’re real good receivers. Kendall outshined them but they’re real good. We’ve got a lot of incoming people, T.J. (Bedford) Corey (Williams) and a lot of other people are going to step up. It’s a good receivers room this year.”
But Register could be the centerpiece of the passing attack. At 6-feet-5 and 215 pounds, he makes an inviting target, especially on jump balls. His basketball skills help with his ability to high point the ball and his speed allows him to turn in big plays.
A Lafayette native who prepped at Comeaux High School, Register spent three seasons at Minnesota before transferring to Southern last year. He caught seven passes for 147 yards while learning the playbook and battling the torn labrum.
Surgery kept him out of spring practice but he spent that time strengthening his grasp of the offense and the playbook.
“You can see it; he’s comfortable in the offense,” coach Dawson Odums said. “He’s healthy and fast to be that big. I wouldn’t say he’s a hidden weapon because a lot of people know he’s on our team. The best of Hunter Register is in front of us. He has a special talent. He was a good basketball player. His ball skills and confidence are going through the roof.”
Southern safety Montavius Gaines concurs with Odums. He’s been going head to head with Register in summer workouts and likes what he sees. He wouldn’t say which one wins most of the battles.
“I’m not going to say, we just compete,” Gaines said with a smile. “I know he’s going to have a big year. He’s a big target.”
Register called his injury a blessing and a curse. While he sat out the spring, he was able to focus intensely to the point he knows everyone’s role on the offense, not just his.
“I got more in touch with the playbook,” Register said. “I transferred in so I didn’t have a good grasp of it. Now you can ask me anything. I know what we have, what the tight end has. I know the whole concept. I studied with the coaches more.
“I want to be an every-down receiver. I’m working on everything, every down receiver. Run the curls, the outs, the post, working on everything.”