We last discussed the defenders that could hopefully be the guys that make plays and create match-up problems for opposing offenses, now we get to the defenders
1. Keke Coutee: It’s not even close, right? With Jonathan Giles transferring it’s pretty clear that Coutee is the guy that will be depended upon to make plays in the open field and open up the outside guys by causing an extra defender to commit to Coutee. Coutee started out slow last year, grabbing 3 passes for 27 yards in the first three games but then he exploded for 130 yards against Kansas state and 172 yards against Oklahoma as well as 222 yards against Baylor. Coutee was also one of the few guys that showed up against Iowa State.
2. Nic Shimonek: I’m hoping that Shimonek is going to be a guy that absolutely spreads the field and I’m pretty sure he will. Shimonek is a perfectionist and my hope is that he will find the open guy and push the ball down the field as much as possible without losing that offensive flow. Shimonek has a good arm and makes quick decisions, at least what we saw from the spring. I’m all but certain that Shimonek will shine as a senior and just like every year, as goes the quarterback, so goes the offense. #DontFlinch
3. Dylan Cantrell: I don’t even remember what Cantrell showed up weighing as a freshman, but he has truly transformed his body and I’d guess that Cantrell weighs 230 and is maybe more of an ass-kicking receiver that is simply going to physically dominate small defensive backs and he’ll be incredibly effective in pass-blocking situations as well. The best thing about Cantrell last year was that he was really consistent considering everything. At the end of the year, Cantrell finished with 8 catches for 89 yards against Texas, 8 catches for 65 against Oklahoma State, a down game against Iowa State and then 9 catches for 11 yards against Baylor.
4. Derrick Willies: This one is the big “if”. If Willies can get healthy he can be a difference maker. Willies missed games last year and had 2 games where he only had 1 catch. If anything, Willies should learn from Cantrell in that not everything needs to be a home run, take the small stuff and learn how to thrive. Willies had 16 yards a catch, but the problem is that he only had 18 catches. I think Willies can be a match-up problem because of his size and he’s good better than average athleticism against normally smaller cornerbacks. Willies needs to take advantage of that.
5. Cameron Batson: In my mind, Batson is the toughest player, pound-for-pound on the team. Batson takes more big hits than anyone else and in splitting time last year, he still caught 61 passes for 650 yards and 8 touchdowns. If you’re looking for guys to replace Giles’ production, I think Batson is going to be the recipient. The only game that Batson really exploded on was against Arizona State where he had 9 catches for 148 yards. A lot like Cantrell, Batson was just really consistent. Most games he averaged 5 or 6 catches a game. Consistency is good.
Also Considered: Justin Stockton, Terence Steele, T.J. Vasher, Demarcus Felton