Film Breakdown: Maryland WR Kaden Prather

Maryland football has been active in the transfer portal this offseason, already adding several players who will play key roles in 2023 as head coach Mike Locksley looks to guide his team to a third consecutive bowl win. One of those key players is wide receiver Kaden Prather, who announced his transfer to Maryland last month over Penn State, Alabama, Oklahoma and Miami among others.

Originally from Germantown, Maryland; Kaden Prather is arguably the most exciting transfer the staff has scooped up this offseason. A former four-star prospect out of Northwest High School (MD), Prather went to West Virginia for the first two years of his collegiate career. His freshman year didn’t garner a big workload as he racked up only 12 receptions for 145 yards. We will be focusing more on his sophomore season but will dip a little bit into his freshman tape. Prather’s sophomore season was more impressive as he accumulated 52 receptions for 501 yards and 3 touchdowns. Those numbers may not jump off the page but he would have been second in yards on the Terps this past season with only Jeshaun Jones having more yards.

The first thing I usually look for in receivers is burst off the ball and the ability to gain separation in one on one situations. I think some plays in his freshman tape showed that off with a couple of huge gotta have it downs against Kansas St. It was clear that West Virginia trusted him in big spots as a freshman. These two plays show off his quick footwork and how he uses it as deception to create separation from the corner and get a much-needed first down.

Looking through his sophomore tape I noticed that his field awareness is off the charts. A lot of the time he was finding soft spots in the zone and was left completely uncovered. A lot of this can be found in the monster game he had against Baylor this past season. Here, Prather is lined up out wide and takes an in route for a first down. Prather seeing that it is cover three, slows down his route in the seam and allows his quarterback to make the easy first down throw.

Prather also displays his wide catch radius as the ball is behind him but he still manages to coral it in. Prather performed a lot of these types of routes last season and I found it similar to play designs that Dontay Demus ran during the 2021 campaign. I could see Prather sliding into that part of the offense albeit with a new offensive coordinator on the way.

Watching more film, think I can describe Prather as a sure-handed wide receiver that is going to be there on gotta have it 3rd and 6’s. This is my favorite type of wide receiver as they aren’t too flashy but all of the sudden you look up and they have 7 catches for 90 yards at halftime. On this play, Prather is running a designed comeback route. He recognizes the space between the high safety and the corner covering the flat. He sits in that open area and holds onto the ball through contact. An impressive play and again shows that he is sure-handed and is going to make the tough plays.

Here is an impressive touchdown from that same Baylor game: again taking an in breaking route and doing the most with it. Prather again creating separation from his man and using his physicality to fight through tackles.

One final play is his from his freshman year where his field awareness is just off the charts. This is a corner blitz where the linebacker replaces and the single high safety is playing almost a cover 1 deep look. Prather recognizes this and sits in between the two zones and then makes a ridiculous catch on the sideline. This play encapsulates what Prather is: a sure-handed receiver with an insane catch radius and an on-field IQ that would make Tom Brady blush.

Overall, Prather is a beast. He is not going to wow you with his speed or deep threat ability but he is going to be there for Taulia Tagovailoa when he needs him most. Picture this: 3rd and 8 on a brisk November day in Lincoln, Nebraska. Tagovailoa is in trouble but all of the sudden he sees Kaden Prather with a little separation on a crossing route; he heaves it to him and Prather grabs it despite being draped by the defender. That’s Kaden Prather and boy am I excited to see what he and Taulia can cook up. I predict he is going to be Maryland’s leading receiver next year on volume alone. And hey, he ain’t a bad run blocker either. Prather has drawn comparisons to Dontay Demus since he surfaced as a viable target, given his big frame, but physically he’s arrived on campus in great shape and has NFL-ready strength. There’s little doubt that Prather will be a focal point of the Terrapins’ 2023 offense.

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