Wright led the Bears in receiving as a freshman, again as a sophomore, and with quarterback Robert Griffin III back and more mature, Wright should do it again with even bigger numbers. He improved (66 rec., 740 yards) by 16 receptions and 91 yards from his freshman to sophomore years and a big year for Griffin should mean a big year for Wright. There's no reason to think he won't duplicate his production from 2009, but if the Bears get rolling and are in bowl contention late in the season, 1,000 yards could be in play for the sticky-handed 5-foot-11, 185-pounder.
One of the conference's most underrated receivers, McKnight's numbers didn't suffer even with the Buffaloes' unrest under center. He ranked sixth in the Big 12 in receiving yards and receptions, catching 76 balls for 893 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers are second-best among returning Big 12 receivers, behind Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles. He'll get some help at receiver in Michigan transfer Toney Clemons, but we'll have to wait and see how that affects his production. Clemons' presence on the outside could free up some space and allow McKnight to be more productive, or Clemons might mooch on McKnight's total targets. Either way, it'll be good for the Buffaloes.
Nwachukwu made the game look "EZ" as a freshman, racking up 40 catches for 708 yards and six touchdowns. His numbers led all Big 12 freshmen, and with the conference's best quarterback, Jerrod Johnson, tossing him the ball, those numbers could grow in Year 2. A shifty, 6-foot, 179-pound slot receiver, defensive backs should be much more adept at spelling his last name after chasing him around the field for 60 minutes. He showed plenty of potential to be a consistent target for an entire game, topping 100 receiving yards in three games, including two in conference play, but his production slowed slightly over the second half of the season.
I ordered these final three in how they'll finish in the yardage category, but all three are on the list based on potential and all three will be stepping into roles as likely No. 1 targets. None are guarantees with capable talent alongside them on the field, but Anyiam and Jackson should both be in for big years in offenses whose strength is best shown through the air. Williams may not produce the numbers of the other two, but he'll be instrumental in helping first-year starter Garrett Gilbert get acclimated to the college game. Without a solid, consistent receiver, that's going to be difficult. He also has the deepest well of talent to draw from, but at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, he'll give Gilbert at the very least a big target. He's also the Longhorns' leading returning receiver and should see his 550 yards on 39 catches grow significantly. Players like Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper at Oklahoma State, Wes Kemp and T.J. Moe at Missouri and James Kirkendoll, Marquise Goodwin, DeSean Hales, John Chiles and incoming freshmen Mike Davis and Darius White could change these three receivers' status as the season progresses.