Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Big 12's 1,000-yard receivers in 2013
By David Ubben
The Big 12's receiver tradition has been unbelievable over the course of the past few years. The NFL draft drained much of it last season, and the result is one of the least heralded corps we've seen conference-wide in a while.
Still, this is the Big 12, and just like the quarterbacks, receivers will emerge. Six players in the Big 12 topped 1,000 yards last season, including two teams (West Virginia, Texas Tech) who had two each. Back in 2011, just four players did it.
Here's who I'm picking to do it in 2013:
1. Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State: Stewart is the Big 12's leading returning receiver with 1,210 yards last season, and he did that with three different quarterbacks throwing him the ball. Barring injury, it's likely to just be Clint Chelf this season. Stewart still has a ways to prove himself as a truly elite receiver on par with some of the greats we've seen in the Big 12, but he's got a great shot to lead the Big 12 in 2013.
2. Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech: Ward joined Stewart as the only other returning 1,000-yard receiver, and in a fast-paced offense under Kliff Kingsbury and a promising young quarterback in Michael Brewer, he's in position to to do it again. Ward's been really consistent throughout his career, and uses his body well with decent speed and good hands.
3. Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor: Reese has a case as the Big 12's fastest player, and has a lot of experience as a complementary piece of a high-powered offense. He's going to need to be a more integral piece of the Bears' offense this year, which should again be racking up points and yards by the bunches. His experience pushes him over the 1,000-yard mark.
4. Brandon Carter, WR, TCU: TCU didn't have a 1,000-yard receiver last year, but much of that was because of Trevone Boykin's struggles with accuracy. Casey Pachall is back, and he's likely to regain his status as the Frogs' starter. He makes prudent decisions, has a big arm and puts the ball where it needs to go. With no Josh Boyce or Skye Dawson on the roster, Carter's ready to be the featured receiver in the offense.
5. Mike Davis, WR, Texas: I went back and forth here. It seems like Jaxon Shipley was at his most productive when Case McCoy was under center, and David Ash's confidence and competence throwing the ball downfield was huge for Davis' numbers. Both players should be even better this year. Davis should lead the Horns in receiving as a senior with a big finish to a somewhat up-and-down career.
6. Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma: Saunders is reliable and is a dark horse to lead the Big 12 in receiving. After becoming eligible in the middle of 2012, he was uncoverable at times for the Sooners. The Fresno State transfer had five games with at least seven catches last season, including 15 for 181 yards in a loss to Notre Dame. He finished the regular season with three consecutive 100-yard games.
Just missed: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech; Jay Lee, WR, Baylor; Jaxon Shipley, WR, Texas