“Potential” and “could” are some of the worst and best words that can be used to describe a position group and I think that applies to the receiver group this year for Texas Tech.
There are unknowns, but based on the offseason work done by the receivers, I think this is the deepest and most explosive group, as a whole, that we’ve seen at Texas Tech. Even the coaches think that they might be the deepest group, labeling each one of the receiver positions as an “or” between them. It’s Devin Lauderdale or Derrick Willies. It’s Cameron Batson or Keke Coutee. It’s Ian Sadler or Jonathan Giles. It’s Reginald Davis or Dylan Cantrell.
- With Dylan Cantrell out all of last year, there really was not anyone that was ready that was able to push Reginald Davis the way that he needed to be pushed. Last year, an offseason possession arrest somewhat tarnished what’s been a solid career at Texas Tech, but his only motivation was keeping freshman Tony Brown at bay and given that Brown was incredibly raw and still figuring things out, it wasn’t that difficult. But with a fully healthy Cantrell and Brown being a year older and figuring out how things work, there’s no rest for anyone at the Z-receiver spot.
- Pretty much the entire spring semester, we were told that Devin Lauderdale would most likely end up inside due to the strength of the receivers on the outside. Then, when Lauderdale gets back, he’s at his old position, X-receiver. I think some of the reason that Lauderdale was thought to go inside was the fact that the outside receiver spots were thought to be incredibly deep and with Lauderdale “taking a break” for the spring semester, it seemed like he would have an opportunity at the inside receiver spots.
- But then something happened, namely, that Cameron Batson, I think, became not just a guy that they thought could contribute some, but a guy that would be a big-time performer for Texas Tech. For me, I think the strength of what Batson did in the offseason, along with the continuing development of Keke Coutee, Ian Sadler and Jonathan Giles all essentially pushed Lauderdale out of the inside receiver positions as well. And not mentioned in the two-deep, but a guy that I figure to be a part of the solution is De’Quan Bowman, the JUCO transfer who could make an impact as well. In fact, I think the inside receivers are, as a collective group, better than the outside receivers.
- With Lauderdale sitting out the spring, I think the coaches realized that they had a real opportunity to see what Derrick Willies could do and maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that no one really gets to see what Willies can do other than some highlights from the impromptu spring game. Still though, Willies is a physical specimen and I get the feeling that Willies is incredibly self-motivated and wants to be knocked off that perch of the first team. Meanwhile, I think that Lauderdale doesn’t like being told he will play second fiddle to anyone. They’re both highly motivated and that may prove to be one of the keys to both guys performing at a high level.
- The freshman class from last year are the guys that we tend to not talk about as much, but I love what Keke Coutee and Jonathan Giles did as true freshmen last year. And I can’t wait for guys like Quan Shorts, who physically is as talented as there is on campus, and Tony Brown to put it together. And we haven’t even had time to talk about Donta Thompson, who has already gained 25 pounds from when he was at Ennis HS. Now add two additional threats in Antoine Wesley and T.J. Vasher and you’ve got a solid core of players that can mature through the program.
- Patrick Mahomes. I shouldn’t really explain anything here and just leave this as is, but the mere addition of a more seasoned and more ready Mahomes could make this group shine like they’ve never shined before.