Texas Tech's 2013 receiving corps will certainly be a study
in contrasts. On the one hand, the Red Raiders will trot out a behemoth in Jace Amaro, while on the other, mighty mite Jakeem Grant will take the field with
him. Tech will have a veteran presence in long-timer Eric Ward, but will also
have scads of youth in the form of several true freshmen who
could play immediately. There is crazy speed in the form of Grant, but there
are also route-running possession types in Jordan Davis and Bradley Marquez.
It is up to Kliff Kingsbury and his offensive staff to make
something formidable out of this jumbled lot.
The starters appear to be reasonably well set with Ward,
Amaro, Grant and Marquez expected to form a fearsome foursome. Depth, however,
is anybody's guess. There's not much experience behind the starters, but there
are plenty of bodies, most of them green and raw.
"We have some young guys we're bringing in that we're
excited about," says Kingsbury.
"A bunch of the guys we signed in this class we're expecting
to play and play right away. Another guy who stood out was Reggie Davis this
spring. We think he has a chance to earn some reps. But that'll be one of our
deepest groups as far as bodies go. We've got scholarship bodies at wide
receiver. And we've got some really good ones, and we'll get them on the field
as much as we can so we can feel good about who's coming in for them [the
One of the rookies is Whitehouse, Texas freshman Dylan Cantrell. He was one of the plums of last year's recruiting class, and the
thought was that he could play immediately. Kingsbury confirms that that is the
"He's doing really well according to the strength coaches. He's
a workout warrior, always has been. He's about 215 pounds, looks great, runs
well, has great hands. We expect him to make an
impact, to play, play early."
Among the more known quantities is titanic tight end Amaro.
Barring another injury such as the one that felled him last season, Amaro could
be a devastating weapon in 2013. And Kingsbury may get a bit creative with that
"We watched a lot of New England stuff this off season to
see what they did with their tight end packages and just to see different
things," Kingsbury reveals.
"But he is a unique tight end to be that big and can run
like that, so we're gonna try to take advantage as
much as we can in that matchup."
At the other end of the size spectrum is Jakeem Grant, along
with veteran Jordan Davis and true freshman Carlos Thompson. According to
Kingsbury, his offensive system is the perfect environment for miniature
receivers to flourish.
"I think so," says Kingsbury when asked whether smaller
players tend to succeed in the spread.
"We've got one, Jakeem Grant. Yeah, those
guys that can run all day. At the University of Houston we had guys that
could run all day and it does play to their advantage because of a smaller type
body. The defense may be a little bit tired so you can block ‘em easier and run by them easier. So I think this type of
system definitely helps a smaller player."
And then there is the ever-reliable Eric Ward. His Tech
career started slowly, but he has quietly put himself in position to leave
Lubbock as Tech's most prolific receiver ever. He has also made himself into a
solid NFL prospect.
"Yes he does [have an NFL
future]," Kingsbury states.
"He could end up the all-time
leading receiver at Texas Tech, which is incredible considering the players
we've had come through there at that position. So he's very physical, is a
great route-runner and I'm excited to see the year ahead."
Aye. It should be an interesting
season for Tech's receivers, to say the least. The group is equal parts
possible superstars and question marks. But for this unit to reach its
potential, depth will have to emerge. That is the key.
Joseph Yeager spoke to Kliff Kingsbury at Big 12 Media Days and one of the topics was the wide receiving corps that he has on the team going into the season.