With spring ball a month away, we'll be ranking the position groups in the Big 12 over the next two weeks. These evaluations will be based on past performance, future potential and quality depth of the entire group. Our outlooks will probably be different after the spring. But this is how we see them at the moment.
We continue this series with the wide receivers, and we're including tight ends here:
1. Baylor: Biletnikoff winner Corey Coleman might be gone, but when it comes to wide receiver, Baylor doesn't rebuild. It reloads. KD Cannon will take over as the No. 1 wideout after compiling almost 2,000 receiving yards over his first two seasons. It's unclear who his primary wingman will be, but there are a bevy of options. Lynx Hawthorne is a veteran, and Ishmael Zamora and Chris Platt are enticing underclassmen. But keep an eye on this year's receiving class, most notably Devin Duvernay, who was the No. 42 overall recruit in the country.
2. Oklahoma State: As a sophomore, James Washington was one of the most dangerous deep threats in the country. He'll enter next season as the top receiver coming back in the conference. Marcell Ateman is a terrific second option for the Pokes, and a difficult matchup in jump-ball situations. The Cowboys will need to find a starting replacement for David Glidden out of the slot. But this is a corps with star power flanked with a ton of quality depth.
3. TCU: The Horned Frogs graduated All-American Josh Doctson, but Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year KaVontae Turpin is a budding star. 2014 starter Deante Gray will be back after missing all of last year with an injury. After that, the Horned Frogs are still brimming over with depth in Shaun Nixon (if he stays in the slot), Ty Slanina, Emanuel Porter, Desmon White, Jaelan Austin, Jarrison Stewart, LSU transfer John Diarse, ESPN JC50 transfers Ryan Parker and Taj Williams and ESPN 300 signee Isaiah Graham.
4. West Virginia: This is a promising group that just needs a little more consistency, most glaringly with drops. Shelton Gibson had a terrific sophomore campaign with 887 yards and nine touchdowns. Daikiel Shorts and Ka'Raun White delivered monster bowl performances. Jovon Durante was one of the top true freshmen in the league. It's unclear whether David Sills and William Crest Jr. will move back to quarterback full time. However, ESPN 300 signee Steven Smothers could be electric for West Virginia out of the slot.
5. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders lose record-breaking playmaker Jakeem Grant, but virtually the entire rotation returns intact. Devin Lauderdale was suspended in December, but could have the opportunity to work his way back onto the team before the fall. Ian Sadler, Dylan Cantrell and Reginald Davis are veteran commodities, but watch out for Derrick Willies, who was the No. 1 juco receiver in the country.
6. Oklahoma: It's going to be interesting to see how this group responds without Sterling Shepard, who basically carried the unit for two straight years. Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year Dede Westbrook figures to take over as the go-to target, but at 6-foot, 168 pounds, he doesn't have the size of a traditional No. 1 wideout. Tight end Mark Andrews gives the Sooners a unique weapon they'll need to utilize more often. But Oklahoma really needs Penn State transfer Geno Lewis to become a reliable option, then at least one of A.D. Miller, Jeffery Mead, Michiah Quick, Dahu Green, Dallis Todd or John Humphrey to take a big step forward.
7. Iowa State: Allen Lazard is the second-leading receiver returning in the league, with his 73 receiving yards per game trailing only Oklahoma State's James Washington. D'Vario Montgomery would've been a three-year starter, except earlier Wednesday, he was dismissed from the team. Lazard will need help from elsewhere, and incoming freshman tight end Chase Allen, the son of former Kansas coach Terry Allen, who picked Iowa State over Michigan and Nebraska, could give the offense an immediate boost.
8. Texas: The Longhorns are going to a version of the Baylor offense, which means they're going to need a whole lot more out of their receiving corps. John Burt showed potential as a true freshman, even as the Texas passing attack was among the most futile in Big 12 history. Burt, however, will need help. Former ESPN 300 signees Ryan Newsome, Lorenzo Joe and Armanti Foreman need to begin to live up to their recruiting hype.
9. Kansas: Tyler Patrick and Steven Sims Jr. had solid freshman seasons, and the tight end combo of Kent Taylor and Ben Johnson was better than solid. That's not a bad foundation for young quarterback Ryan Willis to develop with. Speedy Texas A&M transfer LaQuvionte Gonzalez could give the offense a major jolt, as well, after sitting out last year.
10. Kansas State: This was not a strong position for K-State in 2015, but it does have the chance to be improved next season. Deante Burton finally turned the corner last year while becoming a solid Big 12 receiver. Dominique Heath has big-play ability out of the slot. The Wildcats are high on their 2015 receiving class in Isaiah Zuber, Denzel Goolsby and Zach Reuter, but K-State really needs ESPN JC50 transfer Byron Pringle to pan out.