North Carolina’s spring football game is about a week and a half away. Spring football for coaches and players is all about installing new schemes on both sides of the ball, as well as a first look for coaches at positional battles for playing time. Spring football for fans means trying to figure out how the team will look different from the previous season, and who will replace departing talent.
Some of the biggest shoes to fill will be from receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams. Ratliff-Williams led the team in receiving yards by almost two hundred yards, with about seven hundred total. Ratliff-Williams also averaged over sixteen yards per reception last season, all while being the focal point of opponents’ defensive game plans.
Carolina started four different quarterbacks last season, so it’s not unreasonable to say that with more consistent quarterback play that Ratliff-Williams could have had even more production last season. He was truly a do-it-all receiver, and the entire receiving corps is going to have to step up to match his production. One player who is poised for a breakout 2019 year is junior Beau Corrales.
Out of Georgetown, Texas, Corrales is a 6’4”, 201-pound offensive mismatch all over the field due to his size and physicality. Despite only averaging about a reception and a half per game last season, Corrales was still fourth on the team in receiving yards while averaging a little over twelve yards per reception.
Corrales is big enough to go over the middle with slant and dig routes. Most of his production, however, came either downfield or on simple bubble screens designed to get him the ball in space. He’s a creative runner with the ball in his hands, and with his combination of size and short space quickness he’s difficult to bring down with the first tackle. Bubble or Ghost screens to Corrales are essentially pseudo run plays.
When Carolina didn’t send him to the flat to create space they often just let him run right down field. Corrales does such a great job high pointing the ball and leveraging his size against smaller defensive backs that it turns into simple backyard football at times. Watching Corrales play you can tell he takes pride in winning those 50/50 balls on third down and near the goal line.
Part of the increase in production from Corrales will come from the increased responsibility on the offense. One of the critiques of Corrales so far (which I do not agree with) is that his route tree is too simple, and he is only used as a down field threat or outside screen option. While that’s where most of his production has come from, I see that more as a result of extenuating circumstances rather than due to his ability.
Coming out of high school Corrales showed the ability to run a complete route tree. He had offers from schools such as Utah, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, and Vanderbilt, among others. While most of his touchdowns in high school came from simple down the field routes, you’re not going to get a ton of Power 5 offers just because you’re bigger and faster than everyone else in high school.
To be fair, Corrales was bigger and faster than most of his competition in high school. He was also an effective route runner, especially on posts and quick outs. His best skill that has translated to his time in Chapel Hill is that, even when he doesn’t create that much separation, he has unique body control to win those 50/50 balls anywhere on the field, not just down the sideline.
The video below is of his sophomore year, as there isn’t a ton of film available on his senior year at Georgetown. His 247 Sports recruiting profile has more film that show traits in high school that are translatable to college. What stands out more than anything is how physically dominant he is as a sophomore playing against 5A competition in Texas.
Another reason to pay attention to his high school film is that Corrales has mentioned the similarities between his Texas High School offense and Phil Longo’s Air Raid system. Here’s an excerpt from a post practice interview he did with Inside Carolina.
It’s fun, especially in my spot. This is the kind of offense you dream of playing in as a receiver, so it’s exciting to have this opportunity... It’s kind of a similar (offense) to what I ran in high school, my high school liked to do it a lot. This is even more so, like I said it’s just really exciting being able to be in this offense and watch us grow everyday.
Everything seems to be coming together at the perfect time for Corrales in 2019. The depth chart at receiver is lining up to have a lot of options, but Corrales could easily be the go-to guy on the outside by the time the seasons over. The only thing to really look for is if one quarterback can separate and be the consistent starter.
There’s a lot of change right now in North Carolina football. There hasn’t been this much buzz around the program in a really long time. Even with everything going on, don’t be surprised if Beau Corrales becoming a household name in Chapel Hill is one of the biggest stories by the end of the 2019 season.