- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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The last two weeks, we’ve been examining the strongest and weakest positions for each team in the Big 12 heading into the fall.
On Thursday, we continue the series with Texas Tech.
Strongest position: Wide Receiver
It’s unusual for any team to lose a pair of pass catchers who combined for 189 receptions and 2,299 yards and still return a cast that could be considered a strength of the team.
Yet that’s exactly what is happening at Texas Tech.
Leading returning receiver Jakeem Grant (65 receptions, 796 yards) is one of the Big 12’s most explosive players, with speed to burn and cat-like quickness. Coach Kliff Kingsbury will spend plenty of time trying to figure out ways to get the ball in the hands of the 5-foot-6 dynamo.
Bradley Marquez, a two-sport star who decided to focus on football as a senior, is another strong receiving threat, joining Jordan Davis as other returnees from a year ago. And Texas Tech has several up-and-coming youngsters on the roster, including Reginald Davis and D.J. Polite-Bray.
Texas Tech has a strong group of receivers, yet plenty of room to grow at the position.
Weakest position: Quarterback
Considering Texas Tech’s post-spring depth chart featured Davis Webb and no other names at the position, it’s safe to say quarterback is the weakest position on the roster. The defensive line and secondary could use some help as well, but the Red Raiders have a major hole behind Webb.
Webb had a terrific spring and should be one of the top signal-callers in the Big 12. Behind him, true freshman Patrick Mahomes is expected to be the No. 2 quarterback if he spurns the opportunity to play professional baseball full time. Mahomes is a three-star quarterback signee from Whitehouse, Texas.
The biggest issue at the position is the overall lack of competition for Webb and Mahomes. Both players, as scholarship quarterbacks, are essentially being slotted into their spots as starter and backup barring an exceptional walk-on freshman emerging like Baker Mayfield did last season.
One reason Webb grew and improved as a true freshman was his daily competition with Mayfield and Michael Brewer, both of whom transferred after the 2013 season. Webb did a great job pushing himself to get better during the spring, evidenced by his strong outings in spring scrimmages, but nothing pushes players to improve more than the thought of losing their spot.
The last two weeks, we’ve been examining the strongest and weakest positions for each team in the Big 12 heading into the fall.On Thursday, we continue the series with Texas Tech.