Ranking the Big 12’s space force units: The 2020 receiving corps

Ian Boyd

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The proper way to consider wide receivers in today’s game is how people used to view running backs in previous eras. So long as the surrounding cast hits a certain baseline of competence, a great skill player at wide receiver is the most important player on an offense.

Except you really need two of them, and not so you can platoon like at running back but because a wide receiver doesn’t typically touch the ball 20x a game like a bell cow running back would. Additionally, the defense can double team one wide receiver and still have an extra player to use to outnumber the run game. If you have two receivers that need to be doubled? Now you’re cooking with fire and your other receivers and running back are all going to benefit from facing 1-on-1s (or a light box for the running back).

As I noted yesterday, there are two main uses for wide receivers in today’s game. There’s the guys that hit homeruns for you on RPOs and play-action as deep threats or blowing by people in the screen game, and then there are the guys that can consistently get open against man coverage on third down. The best receiving corps have both. You can bash bad defenses with big play weapons and give yourself a chance in a shootout, but without the chain-moving weapon it's hard to separate from other top offenses.

An important distinction here is that this ranking isn’t about which teams have the best infrastructure and systems for attacking with their receiving corps. It’s about which teams have the best receivers.

No. 1 Oklahoma State

Big play weapons: Play-action shots to Tylan Wallace, Braydon Johnson
Chain movers: Matchup hunting with Wallace, Stoner crossers


The fear for non-OSU teams in 2020 is Tylan Wallace makes the leap into becoming a guy who can torch you from different positions on the field in multiple scenarios. He’s at his most dangerous on play-action using space to throw double moves and break open, but you can do that in the dropback game as well if the protection is there. Braydon Johnson could be the next “guy” for the Cowboys after Wallace and is similarly dangerous in the RPO and play-action game.

Dillon Stoner has been a good slot receiver for two years who also revealed the ability to play outside in 2019 after Wallace went down. He has a little more expertise in finding open spaces in the middle of the field than the other two. The greatest danger for opponents is Oklahoma State playing the three of them together with a tight end. Wallace and Stoner have been around long enough to have learned multiple positions, which means in 2020 they can move Wallace around to hunt matchups. That should be a truly terrifying fear as it's hard to carry enough coverage checks in a gameplan to always maintain bracket coverage on a receiver that can line up at every position.

And even if you could, do any of those checks leave you exposed against Johnson or Stoner? Or the run game?

Tylan Wallace: 6-0, 185. Senior. 4-star from DFW. 53 catches, 903 yards, 8 TDs in 2019.
Braydon Johnson: 6-1, 200. RS junior. 3-star from DFW. 23 catches, 491 yards, 4 TDs in 2019.
Dillon Stoner: 6-0, 200. RS senior. 3-star from OK. 52 catches, 599 yards, 5 TDs in 2019.

No. 2 Oklahoma

Big play weapons: Play-action shots to Charleston Rambo, Theo Wease
Chain movers: Matchup hunting with Austin Stogner in the slot


The Sooners were primarily about two particular guys in 2019, Jalen Hurts and CeeDee Lamb, both of whom were selected fairly high in the following NFL draft. Between that and some depth depleting events such as the injury to sophomore wide receiver Jadon Haselwood and the suspension (five games) of sophomore wide receiver Trejan Bridges, the Sooners don’t have as many known commodities heading into 2020. Here’s the thing though, Oklahoma has been reloading under Riley with consistent success every year.

In 2019 Charleston Rambo turned 62 targets into 43 catches for 743 yards and five touchdowns. He was also open on other occasions but Hurts didn’t look his way. As the likely primary beneficiary of Riley’s power run/play-action system for getting receivers open, Rambo is quietly an imposing figure for the 2020 season. Otherwise, the Sooners have up and coming “Y receiver” Austin Stogner, a 6-6/250 pound flex tight end with some nifty route-running skill, and then former 5-star Theo Wease who caught two touchdown passes as a freshman last year. My expectation is that Stogner will be primarily used to move the chains while Rambo and Wease will serve as the big play weapons.

Riley will also scheme open wide open POP passes for the fullbacks and took in a half dozen transfers to ensure they have some degree of depth at receiver. It's not a good bet to go against Riley's capacity for finding, developing, and deploying skill talent.

Charleston Rambo: 6-1, 175. RS junior. 4-star from DFW. 43 catches, 743 yards, 5 TDs in 2019
Theo Wease: 6-3, 192. Sophomore. 5-star from DFW. 8 catches, 136 yards, 2 TDs in 2019
Austin Stogner: 6-6, 262. Sophomore. 4-star from DFW. 7 catches, 66 yards, 2 TDs in 2019

No. 3 Iowa State


Big play weapons: Play-action and RPO shots to Xavier Hutchinson
Chain moves: Crossing patterns with Charlie Kolar and Tarique Milton


The Cyclones are quietly in very good shape here. Last year’s team was defined by Charlie Kolar and Deshaunte Jones dominating in the middle of the field on crossing routes while receivers like La'Michael Pettway and Tarique Milton struggled to make the most of the ensuing opportunities outside against 1-on-1 matchups.

This year they return Kolar, slide Milton inside where his small but speedy frame is better suited, and then add star JUCO transfer Xavier Hutchinson and big young targets Sean Shaw (6-6, 212) and Joseph Scates (6-2, 200) outside. If either Shaw, Scates, or Hutchinson proves to be a handful for B12 cornerbacks 1-on-1 running adjustable routes outside the hash marks, which is highly likely, then Iowa State will be set.

Iowa State is also set up to bring back the glance route, which Brock “pump fake” Purdy throws very well attached to a variety of different run schemes. Tarique Milton wasn’t able to consistently win inside on that route like Hakeem Butler would, but one of the replacements targets outside is likely to upgrade their potency here. Smart money there is on Hutchinson but Shaw and Scates could also emerge.

Charlie Kolar: 6-6, 260. RS junior. 3-star from OK. 51 catches for 697 yards, 7 TDs in 2019
Tarique Milton: 5-10, 188. Senior. 3-star from IMG. 35 catches for 722 yards, 3 TDs in 2019
Xavier Hutchinson: 6-3, 207. Junior. 3-star from North FL/TX JUCO. 47 catches for 652 yards, 5 TDs in 2019 (Blinn)

No. 4 Texas

Big play weapons: Play-action to the slots or Brennan Eagles
Chain movers: Crossing routes and option routes for Smith or Black, isolations to Brennan Eagles


Texas doesn’t have a proven, go-to guy returning but they arguably have more overall talent here than any other team in the league. After 32 catches for 522 yards and six touchdowns in 2019, the 6-4/230 pound Eagles is the heir apparent at outside receiver. He’s as imposing an athlete as you’ll find around the league, the question is how far his skill has come after an offseason of attention from new WR coach Andre Coleman (formerly of K-State) and getting work in with Sam Ehlinger. Tarik Black is another bigger target at 6-4, 215 who was expected to dominate at Michigan but was derailed by foot injuries. Two years removed from his last injury he has an interesting upside as a now experienced vet who knows how to run a wide route tree from multiple alignments.

Texas has a lot of speed beyond that with Josh Moore, Jordan Whittington, and Marcus Washington but the most important player may be Jake Smith. The sophomore had six touchdowns a year ago as a freshman and has had a very strong offseason and shown perhaps the greatest command of how to get open in Texas’ new system. He may be Sam Ehlinger’s new favorite weapon in the slot (LJ Humphrey in 2018, Devin Duvernay in 2019) and then additional growth for Texas will hinge on how well they utilize their other speedy young targets in the play-action and RPO game.

Yurcich is also likely to maintain and potentially diversify Texas’ methods for isolating the backside outside receiver on passing downs with trips formations. If the defense shades the safeties to the three receivers, he’s 1-on-1, if not then the three receivers should have a great deal of space to work in. Collin Johnson was the only particularly effective receiver there in 2019 and he missed multiple big games with injuries. Brennan Eagles is getting first crack at those targets but Tarik Black and Marcus Washington are competing there as well.

Brennan Eagles: 6-4, 230. Junior. 4-star from HOU. 32 catches, 522 yards, 6 TDs in 2019.
Jake Smith: 6-0, 200. Sophomore. 4-star from AZ. 25 catches, 274 yards, 6 TDs in 2019.
Tarik Black: 6-3, 217. Senior. 4-star from CN/Michigan. 25 catches, 323 yards, 1 TD in 2019 (Michigan).

No. 5 West Virginia

Big play weapons: Shots to Sam James
Chain movers: Isolations for Sean Ryan, TJ Simmons over the middle


A commonly issued concern for 2019 West Virginia was that Dana Holgorsen had abandoned them after a boom and heading into a bust cycle in regards to talent. The 2019 NFL draft took the team’s quarterback, left tackle, tight end, and one of their top receivers. Graduation took the other two starting receivers.

Of course Holgorsen had replacement talent around, it was just young and undeveloped and didn’t enjoy particularly good quarterback play in 2019. For 2020 redshirt sophomore Sam James comes back after getting 111 targets in 2019 and will be joined by senior TJ Simmons and a large host of up and coming second year contributors like Bryce Wheaton, Sean Ryan, and Ali Jennings.

Ryan and Simmons are the big targets at 6-3, 194 and 6-2, 200 that can do work on slants and digs, while James has the burst to win over the top. West Virginia got more of all of it when Jarrett Doege replaced Austin Kendall late in the year in 2019. Their favorite scheme was the same mesh play everyone else loves right now but they were also effective at getting James different ways to release down the field on vertical shots. In 2020 they’ll probably add more play-action to the equation with a more experienced interior line.

Sam James: 6-0, 184. RS sophomore. 3-star from GA. 69 catches, 677 yards, 2 TDs in 2019.
Sean Ryan: 6-3, 194. Junior. 3-star from NY. 19 catches, 219 yards, 0 TDs in 2019.
TJ Simmons: 6-2, 200. RS senior. 4-star from AL/Alabama transfer. 35 catches, 455 yards, 4 TDs in 2019.

No. 6 Texas Tech

Big play weapons: Play-action shots to TJ Vasher and Erik Ezukanna
Chain movers: Isolations to TJ Vasher and Erik Ezukanna


The Red Raiders are quietly loaded at receiver, like much of the league really, and welcome back Ezukanna and Vasher after reasonably strong 2019 seasons. The name of the game for them in 2019 was 4-verticals off power-read play-action.

It was truly a nasty concept.

Tech power-read play-action.jpg

They’d often have the receivers run switch verticals to one side but the goal was essentially to have a vertical route for the four deep quadrants and pull a guard to suck in the linebackers before tossing it over the top. They didn’t even hardly ever run power-read, they didn’t need to, once they pulled one of their (very good) guards teams were crashing downhill. Whether this works as well with Alan Bowman remains to be seen, but probably it will and back-up Maverick McIvor has the moxie to run between the tackles in the power run game.

The Red Raiders like to operate in the dropback game like 2018 Texas, moving the ancillary (tight end) wide to hunt matchups for the top receivers. They have a number of talented and experienced slot receivers, or they may slide one of Ezukanna or Vasher inside on third downs.

Erik Ezukanma: 6-3, 210. RS sophomore. 4-star from DFW. 42 catches, 664 yards, 4 TDs in 2019.
TJ Vasher: 6-6, 220. RS senior. 4-star from WTX. 42 catches, 515 yards, 6 TDs in 2019.
Dalton Rigdon: 5-11, 170. RS junior. Walk-on from WTX. 34 catches, 486 yards, 5 TDs in 2019.

No. 7 Kansas

Big play weapons: Play-action and RPO shots to Stephan Robinson and Andrew Parchment
Chain movers: Isolations to Parchment


Kansas jumped aboard the RPO/play-action spread train last year with new offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon and it paid off in a big way. Between fullback Ben Miles, a veteran interior offensive line, and running back Pooka Williams it should be easy enough to keep up their approach of creating openings for the passing game on RPOs.

Kansas P21 two-back zone base.jpg

Robinson and Parchment both were effective on these and also running switch verticals outside. They need to find someone to run dig routes and crossers at the chains like big Daylon Charlot did for them last season, they also need to figure out who’s throwing these passes. I’m expecting true freshman Jalon Daniels to take over before long, maybe out of the gate, but otherwise Miles Kendrick may be the guy.

He’s a nifty option runner who can throw on the move and should be able to throw some slants and outs out of their two-back zone-read/RPO system. Their highest upside will come though from having someone that can consistently push the ball down the field to Parchment and Robinson.

Stephan Robinson: 5-10, 180. Senior. 3-star from CA/Cali JUCO. 45 catches, 727 yards, 8 TDs in 2019.
Andrew Parchment: 6-2, 180. Senior. 3-star from KS JUCO. 65 catches, 831 yards, 7 TDs in 2019.

No. 8 Baylor

Big play weapons: RPOs and play-action to Tyquan Thornton and Josh Fleeks
Chain movers: Tyquan Thornton isolations, trips side route combinations


Baylor was driven by their defense last season but the reason they were able to eek out a lot of close games and draw the rematch with Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game was Denzel Mims. In particular, however beat up he became down the stretch Charlie Brewer never lost the ability to throw well timed fades off tight zone runs to Mims as the boundary receiver.

Mims is gone now, the Bears will need to find someone else to dominate there running glance routes. Tyquan Thornton and Josh Fleeks are both potentially deadly in the slot and running vertical combinations inside, Baylor was effective there last year as well. But is anyone ready to step up in the boundary and dominate a top corner well enough to command safety attention on first-and-10? That’s a big question that could determine whether Baylor treads water or improves in 2020.

Moving the chains is a similar question. They seem likely to move Thornton (6-3, 180) to the boundary to serve in that role so a good thing to watch will be whether his lanky, light frame can allow him to get to his spots against press coverage, or whether he’s up for crossing in front of safeties on digs and slants. If that side of things works out then Josh Fleeks, RJ Sneed, and Jared Atkinson should offer Baylor some versatility elsewhere for executing combinations and getting open. Their chain-moving will hinge instead on quarterback health and left tackle play that we’ll get to later in this series.

Tyquan Thornton: 6-3, 170. Junior. 4-star from South FL. 45 catches, 782 yards, 5 TDs in 2019.
Josh Fleeks: 5-11, 188. Junior. 4-star from DFW. 25 catches, 262 yards, 1 TD in 2019.
RJ Sneed: 6-1, 185. Senior. 3-star from HOU. 42 catches, 437 yards, 3 TDs in 2019.

No. 9 Kansas State

Big play weapons: Play-action to Joshua Youngblood or Briley Moore-McKinney
Chain movers: Isolations to Malik Knowles


Joshua Youngblood created a bit of a stir when he said that his goals for the season included reaching 1,000 yards receiving (which would be significant), 1,000 yards rushing (which would be unbelievable), and then 1,000 yards returning (similarly challenging). He’s definitely one of the big play weapons for the Wildcats but, as he’s alluded to, they have a few different ways to get him the ball in space in their hybrid, 12/21 personnel power offense. In 2019 he had 73 yards receiving, 55 yards rushing, and 502 yards in the return game...so there’s a ways to go.

Briley Moore-McKinney is a really solid tight end from the FCS ranks that can block and catch, think Trevon Wesco. His receiving work is going to be set up by his blocking and they’ll move him around along with “fullback” Nick Lenners (6-5, 250) and loose either at times on play-action.

Malik Knowles is the true receiver of this group. He’s the guy they’ll look to isolate outside on RPOs and that they’ll try to find at the chains on third and long. They’re well set up overall to attack teams with their version of RPO/play-action tactics, which are a tad more traditional, but how far along Knowles is running adjustable routes outside and how well they can set him up with 1-on-1s on passing downs are more uncertain.

Malik Knowles: 6-2, 200. RS sophomore. 3-star from DFW. 27 catches, 397 yards, 3 TDs in 2019.
Joshua Youngblood: 5-10, 180. Sophomore. 3-star from Central FL. 9 catches, 73 yards, 0 TDs in 2019.
Briley Moore-McKinney: 6-5, 250. RS senior. 3-star from MO/Northern Iowa transfer. 39 catches, 536 yards, 4 TDs (Northern Iowa, 2018)

No. 10 TCU

Big play weapons: RPOs to Taye Barber and JD Spielman in space
Chain movers: Isolations to Tevailance Hunt, Pro Wells in the seams


TCU tried to feed Taye Barber the ball in space with 52 targets in 2019 and only got 29 receptions for 372 yards and zero touchdowns. He can be an explosive weapon for them but they’ll need to improve what was often a poorly executed and designed passing game and develop Barber.

The Frogs got a nice boost when they were also able to add JD Spielman (5-9, 180) from Nebraska to this equation. He’s yet another water bug and a three-year starter in Scott Frost’s spread-option system at Lincoln. Both Barber and Spielman are RPO type targets, neither have shown much in the way of being great receivers that can win isolated matchups in man coverage or consistently find space in zones, but if you feed them the ball in space created by a run game they can both run wild.

The lynchpin is probably junior Te'Vailance Hunt, a 6-3, 200 pounder who was their third most productive receiver behind Barber and Jalen Reagor in 2019. Hunt needs to grow into a reliable target they can feature in the boundary to keep teams from shading the safeties to the slot receivers. Behind Hunt the Frogs had a terrific 2020 class that included Quentin Johnson and Savion Williams, another pair of big targets.

Finally there’s tight end Pro Wells, who’s a promising receiver but only their second best blocker at the position and his presence precludes them from fielding multiple slots. Last year TCU ran multiple formations and weren’t really good at anything, it’ll be tricky for them to get any of their talented skill players the reps and focus they need to maximize their ability.

Taye Barber: 5-9, 185. Junior. 3-star from HOU. 29 catches, 372 yards, 0 TDs in 2019.
JD Spielman: 5-9, 170. Senior. 4-star from MN/Nebraska transfer. 49 catches, 898 yards, 5 TDs in 2019.
Te'Vailance Hunt: 6-2, 200. Junior. 4-star from ETX. 30 catches, 308 yards, 1 TD in 2019.
Pro Wells: 6-4, 249. RS junior. 3-star from FL/MS JUCO. 17 catches, 196 yards, 5 TDs in 2019.


Most everyone has some weapons, the teams at the top though have the ability both to hurt you with big plays and then also over stress a coverage with multiple effective targets. The Oklahoma schools, Iowa State, Texas, and Texas Tech are best poised to do so and then separation between those programs will hinge on infrastructure and how they shape up at our other offensive space force position. Left tackle.
 

sherf1

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Im curious to see if Iowa State can really get the explosive side down, they're obviously set at the chain moving part, but they have a pretty 2018 Texas vibe to the offense (with the TE in the LJH role). Obviously that crew was quite good at everything besides explosive plays.

Texas really needs Eagles to punish teams that leave him one-on-one. If he becomes a must double type of guy this offense should have an answer for basically everything the defense can throw at them, but I'm not super optimistic that will be the case. We'll see when we play Iowa State, TCU and OU, because against the rest it shouldn't really matter.

OU seems to be trying to replicate their 2017 offense, which was very good of course, but to me they are either worse or just young at every key position compared to that group. I think this will be a very interesting year for Riley.
 

genericbufan

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Not surprised by the BU ranking, but my very biased opinion is that you'll look back on it in 12 weeks and realize that it was just a bit off...

I think you've undersold Thorton's qualities. Completely underrated Sneed as a chain mover. More or less ignored Fleeks. And are understandably unaware of the qualities that Terry brings and Holmes' (hopeful) return to health. Further, I don't know that it's accurate to leave Ebner out of this conversation, as he could easily eclipse 500 yards receiving this year.
 
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Ian Boyd

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Not surprised by the BU ranking, but my very biased opinion is that you'll look back on it in 12 weeks and realize that it was just a bit off...

I think you've undersold Thorton's qualities. Completely underrated Sneed as a chain mover. More or less ignored Fleeks. And are understandably unaware of the qualities that Terry brings and Holmes' (hopeful) return to health. Further, I don't know that it's accurate to leave Ebner out of this conversation, as he could easily eclipse 500 yards receiving this year.
I think Thornton is great, just like Andrew Parchment, Stephan Robinson, Braydon Johnson, Charleston Rambo, Sam James, Erik Ezukanma, Malik Knowles, and Xavier Hutchinson.

I do need to double back on how they used Sneed on 3rd downs. If it was running outs on an isolated weak side linebacker while the safety bracketed Mims though...not sure that's duplicable unless they replace Mims effectively. Which was my greater point.
 
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Ian Boyd

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Im curious to see if Iowa State can really get the explosive side down, they're obviously set at the chain moving part, but they have a pretty 2018 Texas vibe to the offense (with the TE in the LJH role). Obviously that crew was quite good at everything besides explosive plays.
They had a lull there replacing Butler and Lazard, I think they're ready to bounce back though with Hutchinson, Shaw, and Scates.

If I'm wrong then they'll still be solid because their inside receivers and run game will command so much attention. I may look right even if I'm not for that very reason.
 
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genericbufan

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I think Thornton is great, just like Andrew Parchment, Stephan Robinson, Braydon Johnson, Charleston Rambo, Sam James, Erik Ezukanma, Malik Knowles, and Xavier Hutchinson.

I do need to double back on how they used Sneed on 3rd downs. If it was running outs on an isolated weak side linebacker while the safety bracketed Mims though...not sure that's duplicable unless they replace Mims effectively. Which was my greater point.
Obviously, we're all going to be higher on our own guys (at least for the most part), but I pray that others in the Big XII aren't sold on Thornton and try to cover him without S help.

The main issue with Thornton and Fleeks last year was CB. Those guys were running hog wild half the time, but Brewer couldn't throw a ball more than 15 yards downfield after week 6 or so. First 5 Big XII games, they averaged 128 yards per game. Second 5 Big XII games (including championship), they averaged 44.6 yards per game. These 4 star WRs (and we know you Horn fans love recruiting stars) with sub 4.5 speed are being seriously undervalued. If they don't crush it this year, it'll be because of injuries (either to them or Brewer).
 

Ian Boyd

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Obviously, we're all going to be higher on our own guys (at least for the most part), but I pray that others in the Big XII aren't sold on Thornton and try to cover him without S help.

The main issue with Thornton and Fleeks last year was CB. Those guys were running hog wild half the time, but Brewer couldn't throw a ball more than 15 yards downfield after week 6 or so. First 5 Big XII games, they averaged 128 yards per game. Second 5 Big XII games (including championship), they averaged 44.6 yards per game. These 4 star WRs (and we know you Horn fans love recruiting stars) with sub 4.5 speed are being seriously undervalued. If they don't crush it this year, it'll be because of injuries (either to them or Brewer).
They were great early at running slot verticals on teams worried about Mims in the boundary. But they have to replace Mims to make that work, it’s the same issue TCU is facing.
 
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sherf1

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They were great early at running slot verticals on teams worried about Mims in the boundary. But they have to replace Mims to make that work, it’s the same issue TCU is facing.
Kind of funny how perfectly this conversation circled back to the distinction between the star WR and the system guy. It's not always clear which is which until a piece is removed, although my general though is if you're making your money against LBs and safeties, you're a system guy.
 

genericbufan

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They were great early at running slot verticals on teams worried about Mims in the boundary. But they have to replace Mims to make that work, it’s the same issue TCU is facing.
I'm honestly surprised. You actually didn't watch much BU/Thornton last year at all. He certainly has that capability, but that is not an accurate description of his play. At all. And it's probably worth noting that a pretty common formation last year was trips field with Mims on the field field side and with Thornton as the isolated WR on the boundary.
 

genericbufan

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Kind of funny how perfectly this conversation circled back to the distinction between the star WR and the system guy. It's not always clear which is which until a piece is removed, although my general though is if you're making your money against LBs and safeties, you're a system guy.
Kind of funny to watch groupthink play out on a message board. Happens on the BU message boards, too. So don't worry, you guys don't have a monopoly on it.
 

sherf1

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Kind of funny to watch groupthink play out on a message board. Happens on the BU message boards, too. So don't worry, you guys don't have a monopoly on it.
Guys who can win vs man tend to go outside, because that's where that skill is most valuable.

Knowing how to get open vs zone or against guys you're a better athlete than is also valuable, but the defense can take that away. I haven't studied the film on all Baylor receivers, so I'm speaking mostly from deployment, but that deployment is determined by the coaches who know these guys best.

And I'll apply that same logic to our guys. Duve last year was more of a "system" guy, although he did have the ability to win vertically because of his speed. But good defenses took that away, which is exactly the point I'm making. These guys will put up some numbers, but the premise here is who is going to win against a good defense on 3rd and 7.
 

travisroeder

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Guys who can win vs man tend to go outside, because that's where that skill is most valuable.

Knowing how to get open vs zone or against guys you're a better athlete than is also valuable, but the defense can take that away. I haven't studied the film on all Baylor receivers, so I'm speaking mostly from deployment, but that deployment is determined by the coaches who know these guys best.

And I'll apply that same logic to our guys. Duve last year was more of a "system" guy, although he did have the ability to win vertically because of his speed. But good defenses took that away, which is exactly the point I'm making. These guys will put up some numbers, but the premise here is who is going to win against a good defense on 3rd and 7.
 
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genericbufan

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Guys who can win vs man tend to go outside, because that's where that skill is most valuable.

Knowing how to get open vs zone or against guys you're a better athlete than is also valuable, but the defense can take that away. I haven't studied the film on all Baylor receivers, so I'm speaking mostly from deployment, but that deployment is determined by the coaches who know these guys best.

And I'll apply that same logic to our guys. Duve last year was more of a "system" guy, although he did have the ability to win vertically because of his speed. But good defenses took that away, which is exactly the point I'm making. These guys will put up some numbers, but the premise here is who is going to win against a good defense on 3rd and 7.
I think we're saying the same thing. Thornton played outside and beat man coverage. Fleeks? Yea, he's more of a Duve type of ATH. Slot guy with 4.4ish speed. (Duvernay is faster and likely just plain better. We'll know more about Fleeks after this season, though.) Ian's description fit for Fleeks, but it didn't fit Thornton.
 
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sherf1

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I think we're saying the same thing. Thornton played outside and beat man coverage. Fleeks? Yea, he's more of a Duve type of ATH. Slot guy with 4.4ish speed. (Duvernay is faster and likely just plain better. We'll know more about Fleeks after this season, though.) Ian's description fit for Fleeks, but it didn't fit Thornton.
I would say he presented it as a question while you're presenting it as a given, and neither is really known, so picking a bit of a nit, but I would probably be doing the same if I was reading a BU page questioning our ability to replace Duve in the slot with Smith and Whittington, so fair enough.
 

genericbufan

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I would say he presented it as a question while you're presenting it as a given, and neither is really known, so picking a bit of a nit, but I would probably be doing the same if I was reading a BU page questioning our ability to replace Duve in the slot with Smith and Whittington, so fair enough.
No, my issue was with him saying that Thornton was "great at running slot verticals." That's just not an accurate description of what TT did for Baylor last year.
 

genericbufan

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I would say he presented it as a question while you're presenting it as a given, and neither is really known, so picking a bit of a nit, but I would probably be doing the same if I was reading a BU page questioning our ability to replace Duve in the slot with Smith and Whittington, so fair enough.
Maybe re: Duve, but I think most fans would assume that if Smith and Whittington are healthy, they'll be a b!tch to deal with. Especially Whittington. He's going to be nasty if he's ever healthy.
 
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sherf1

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No, my issue was with him saying that Thornton was "great at running slot verticals." That's just not an accurate description of what TT did for Baylor last year.
Fair enough, he's got some nice plays isolated to the boundary, agreed.

Not seeing a lot of bracket coverage there (as would be expected with Mims and the trips formation to the other side), so we'll see how much attention teams throw his way from the jump.
 

DuvalHorn

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Baylor fans, where is Craig "Squirl" Williams? People on the members side of this board were quite disappointed when we slow-played and eventually failed to flip him in the 2018 cycle.
 
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sherf1

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And in terms of teams I don't have a bias towards, I would say that I'm probably higher on TTU than the mods.
Yeah I'm surprised Vasher didn't do more damage last year. One of their guys torches us every year (Coutee 2017, Vasher 2018, Carter and Ezukanma last year).
 

genericbufan

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Baylor fans, where is Craig "Squirl" Williams? People on the members side of this board were quite disappointed when we slow-played and eventually failed to flip him in the 2018 cycle.
He'll still be a freshman...next year. Seriously. He's been injured most of his BU career, but apparently he's looked good this fall. I assume Fedora will use him (and Ebner) on jet sweeps on a somewhat consistent basis this fall. Assuming he's healthy, of course. (Personally, I'm not a big fan of jet sweeps, but they serve a purpose and Fedora seems to love those outside sweeps.)
 

travisroeder

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He'll still be a freshman...next year. Seriously. He's been injured most of his BU career, but apparently he's looked good this fall. I assume Fedora will use him (and Ebner) on jet sweeps on a somewhat consistent basis this fall. Assuming he's healthy, of course. (Personally, I'm not a big fan of jet sweeps, but they serve a purpose and Fedora seems to love those outside sweeps.)
Yeah. He did the 4 game redshirt a few years ago, and then had a medium knee injury (an MCL or something) last year so they just held him out for the medical redshirt. Starting next year it'll be the Qualan Jones and Sqwirl Williams show.
 
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Ian Boyd

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The GIF by Thornton against Georgia is a good counter. Just one play but he obviously got a solid release and then started to pull away.
Also, I'm curious to get your thoughts on Ebner as a "Space Force" player. @Ian Boyd Too much of an injury history to be worthy of discussion?
I just need to see it happen first.

Rhule messed with that approach some but ultimately leaned more into RPO/play-action. Fedora is the latter as well. I’ll adjust when I see some of these teams using the RB more in the passing game.
 
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genericbufan

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The GIF by Thornton against Georgia is a good counter. Just one play but he obviously got a solid release and then started to pull away.

I just need to see it happen first.

Rhule messed with that approach some but ultimately leaned more into RPO/play-action. Fedora is the latter as well. I’ll adjust when I see some of these teams using the RB more in the passing game.
I promise, I'm not trying to be petty, but honestly, can you expound on what you need to see first? Even though he's been injured a ton, he has over 900 yards receiving. That's more than Brennan Eagles, Jake Smith, Sam James, etc. I would bet that it's more than half the guys listed in this thread. You need to see how he's used in the new offense? If that's the case, I understand. If you need to see his receiving skills evidenced, I have an issue with that. Ebner, when healthy, has proven to be a game changing receiver out of the backfield. (Just ask any TTU fans lurking on the board if you doubt that...)
 

Ian Boyd

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I promise, I'm not trying to be petty, but honestly, can you expound on what you need to see first? Even though he's been injured a ton, he has over 900 yards receiving. That's more than Brennan Eagles, Jake Smith, Sam James, etc. I would bet that it's more than half the guys listed in this thread. You need to see how he's used in the new offense? If that's the case, I understand. If you need to see his receiving skills evidenced, I have an issue with that. Ebner, when healthy, has proven to be a game changing receiver out of the backfield. (Just ask any TTU fans lurking on the board if you doubt that...)
900 yards over 3 seasons isn’t the same as 500 or whatever in one year as a 3rd or 4th option.

But I’m not referring to his ability but how he’ll be used. I dunno if Fedora is going to do a lot with the dropback game throwing to the RBs. If he does then I’ll have to work that into these considerations.
 

travisroeder

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Okay, after barraging the comments with Baylor stuff yesterday I'll provide some (mostly) non-Baylor thoughts:

- OSU is the clear #1, but I think OU jumps them (at least in overall production) by the end of the year. Theo Howard isn't mentioned, but he seems poised to become their perennial waterbug slot that averages like 18 YPC. The top three of Rambo, Howard, and Stogner with all their other young guys will be great. Them and OSU are the clear top two.

- It's fair to list Iowa State as third pre-season, but I doubt they end up there at the end. Milton is just OK, there are a lot of guys I'd take over him in that smaller, quicker, possession receiver role. Kolar is a nightmare, and Hutchinson has upside, but I'd bet a lot that teams with higher upside below them end up better than them (namely Baylor, Texas, and maybe West Virginia).

- Texas has crazy talent, and I bet they end up around #4 but it's not a sure-bet. Eagles has a lot of upside but it's still mostly upside (as far as a dominant boundary guy who will demand bracket coverage -- he as already shown himself to be a good WR). Jake Smith has demonstrated he'll be great. If they can get a third guy to really step up, which seems likely, this slot seems fine.

- I think it's useful to compare Baylor and Texas, here.
  • Boundary X: Tyquan Thornton vs Brennan Eagles. Thornton is more proven and I think the better player both currently and upside. He's really unheralded but I don't know why. In the 8 games before Brewer's arm went kaput he averaged 79 YPG. Before Brewer's arm was shot he primarily played as the X and Mims played to the field, afterward they started primarily playing Mims to the boundary since Brewer could only really throw there. Thornton will still only be a true Junior, lot of untapped potential.
  • Waterbug: Gavin Holmes / Josh Fleeks vs. Jake Smith. Smith is awesome here and probably more proven at this point, but they're all pretty similar players 5'11, 4.4 speed, some shiftiness in the open field. What separates Smith is his great hands.
  • Field WR: RJ Sneed vs. Tariq Black. Black obviously has a lot of upside if he isn't injured and brings something special to the table. Sneed is more of a sure thing, has the best hands I've seen from a Baylor WR in the past decade. Sneed isn't a burner but he's extremely reliable and can make contested catches. He'll probably be used on a lot of double slants to the field. Black has the higher upside of potentially being able to demand double teams, which probably won't be the case with Sneed because he doesn't have enough speed to consistently threaten deep.
 

CartesianDemon

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Okay, after barraging the comments with Baylor stuff yesterday I'll provide some (mostly) non-Baylor thoughts:

- OSU is the clear #1, but I think OU jumps them (at least in overall production) by the end of the year. Theo Howard isn't mentioned, but he seems poised to become their perennial waterbug slot that averages like 18 YPC. The top three of Rambo, Howard, and Stogner with all their other young guys will be great. Them and OSU are the clear top two.

- It's fair to list Iowa State as third pre-season, but I doubt they end up there at the end. Milton is just OK, there are a lot of guys I'd take over him in that smaller, quicker, possession receiver role. Kolar is a nightmare, and Hutchinson has upside, but I'd bet a lot that teams with higher upside below them end up better than them (namely Baylor, Texas, and maybe West Virginia).

- Texas has crazy talent, and I bet they end up around #4 but it's not a sure-bet. Eagles has a lot of upside but it's still mostly upside (as far as a dominant boundary guy who will demand bracket coverage -- he as already shown himself to be a good WR). Jake Smith has demonstrated he'll be great. If they can get a third guy to really step up, which seems likely, this slot seems fine.

- I think it's useful to compare Baylor and Texas, here.
  • Boundary X: Tyquan Thornton vs Brennan Eagles. Thornton is more proven and I think the better player both currently and upside. He's really unheralded but I don't know why. In the 8 games before Brewer's arm went kaput he averaged 79 YPG. Before Brewer's arm was shot he primarily played as the X and Mims played to the field, afterward they started primarily playing Mims to the boundary since Brewer could only really throw there. Thornton will still only be a true Junior, lot of untapped potential.
  • Waterbug: Gavin Holmes / Josh Fleeks vs. Jake Smith. Smith is awesome here and probably more proven at this point, but they're all pretty similar players 5'11, 4.4 speed, some shiftiness in the open field. What separates Smith is his great hands.
  • Field WR: RJ Sneed vs. Tariq Black. Black obviously has a lot of upside if he isn't injured and brings something special to the table. Sneed is more of a sure thing, has the best hands I've seen from a Baylor WR in the past decade. Sneed isn't a burner but he's extremely reliable and can make contested catches. He'll probably be used on a lot of double slants to the field. Black has the higher upside of potentially being able to demand double teams, which probably won't be the case with Sneed because he doesn't have enough speed to consistently threaten deep.
I have a feeling comparing Jake to any other slot in the league might sounds silly by the end of the year. We also have all season for Josh Moore, Jordan Whittington, and/or Marcus Washington to break out. These guys were all top recruits, I'm really hoping we see their upside this season
 

Ian Boyd

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- OSU is the clear #1, but I think OU jumps them (at least in overall production) by the end of the year. Theo Howard isn't mentioned, but he seems poised to become their perennial waterbug slot that averages like 18 YPC. The top three of Rambo, Howard, and Stogner with all their other young guys will be great. Them and OSU are the clear top two.
My assumption is that Oklahoma is going to spend a lot of time in 21 spread personnel. With a fullback and then Stogner flexed. So that just doesn’t leave a big role for Howard. Seems like a Nick Basquine replacement, which is a valuable player but not a guy we HAVE to mention.
- It's fair to list Iowa State as third pre-season, but I doubt they end up there at the end. Milton is just OK, there are a lot of guys I'd take over him in that smaller, quicker, possession receiver role. Kolar is a nightmare, and Hutchinson has upside, but I'd bet a lot that teams with higher upside below them end up better than them (namely Baylor, Texas, and maybe West Virginia).
Iowa State is high on this list because they have Charlie Kolar and a lot of big guys outside.

Kolar is the one for sure space force dreadnought in the league. He’s going to have a ton of gravity that sucks in defenses wherever he lines up. So he’s worth a ton, the tylan Wallace equivalent for chain-moving.

Then it’s a question of whether Scates, Hutchinson, or Shaw can be a big play weapon outside. Seems very likely that at least one of them will.

Milton is a common sort of player in this league but it still matters that they have him and he’ll likely do a ton of damage. A guy with his speed running at safeties off Kolar is a nightmare.
 

Inanehorn

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I think any confidence I have in the Texas receivers comes more from Ehlinger and Yurcich. I’ve seen little evidence any of these guys can consistently beat coverage. It’s also a bit concerning that a freshman arrived and was the best receiver on the team immediately.
 
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genericbufan

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Okay, after barraging the comments with Baylor stuff yesterday I'll provide some (mostly) non-Baylor thoughts:

- OSU is the clear #1, but I think OU jumps them (at least in overall production) by the end of the year. Theo Howard isn't mentioned, but he seems poised to become their perennial waterbug slot that averages like 18 YPC. The top three of Rambo, Howard, and Stogner with all their other young guys will be great. Them and OSU are the clear top two.
Personally, I think OSU's ranking at the end of the year is somewhat dependent upon Anderson. I'm lower on Braydon Johnson and Stoner than others (apparently), and I think they'll need Anderson to reach his potential to end up as the #1 WR corps in the league. But if Anderson is able to bounce-back from his injury...
 

genericbufan

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- I think it's useful to compare Baylor and Texas, here.
  • Boundary X: Tyquan Thornton vs Brennan Eagles. Thornton is more proven and I think the better player both currently and upside. He's really unheralded but I don't know why. In the 8 games before Brewer's arm went kaput he averaged 79 YPG. Before Brewer's arm was shot he primarily played as the X and Mims played to the field, afterward they started primarily playing Mims to the boundary since Brewer could only really throw there. Thornton will still only be a true Junior, lot of untapped potential.
  • Waterbug: Gavin Holmes / Josh Fleeks vs. Jake Smith. Smith is awesome here and probably more proven at this point, but they're all pretty similar players 5'11, 4.4 speed, some shiftiness in the open field. What separates Smith is his great hands.
  • Field WR: RJ Sneed vs. Tariq Black. Black obviously has a lot of upside if he isn't injured and brings something special to the table. Sneed is more of a sure thing, has the best hands I've seen from a Baylor WR in the past decade. Sneed isn't a burner but he's extremely reliable and can make contested catches. He'll probably be used on a lot of double slants to the field. Black has the higher upside of potentially being able to demand double teams, which probably won't be the case with Sneed because he doesn't have enough speed to consistently threaten deep.
I think Texas and Baylor are comparable in a lot of ways at WR, which you've outlined here. I would argue that Jared Atkinson is the comp to Black, though. Both have had disappointing careers despite having physical talents that indicate that they're capable of much, much more. Both are total wildcards, IMO.

I think you could also include a note comparing Whittington to Ebner. Both somewhat APB/slot hybrids, with Ebner being more proven and clearly the faster of the two. But Whittington has top notch agility and profiles really well in the slot. Both have also had injuries limit their snaps.
 

Ian Boyd

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Personally, I think OSU's ranking at the end of the year is somewhat dependent upon Anderson. I'm lower on Braydon Johnson and Stoner than others (apparently), and I think they'll need Anderson to reach his potential to end up as the #1 WR corps in the league. But if Anderson is able to bounce-back from his injury...
What makes OSU extra deadly is that stoner and Johnson can both line up in multiple spots.

That means that Wallace can potentially line up in multiple spots, which makes him much, much harder to remove with a gameplan.

Sometimes it’s not about the star player but how well the supporting cast can boost the star player.
 
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genericbufan

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What makes OSU extra deadly is that stoner and Johnson can both line up in multiple spots.

That means that Wallace can potentially line up in multiple spots, which makes him much, much harder to remove with a gameplan.

Sometimes it’s not about the star player but how well the supporting cast can boost the star player.
Meh. It's pretty much always about the star players. Stoner as a league average (or slightly above) wide out doesn't scare anyone. Pretty much anyone can roll out an average WR. Having a solid supporting cast helps, but you need them command attention to matter. And I'm not sure that that's an accurate description of Stoner. He's solid, but you're not going to scheme around him. Personally, and it sounds like you disagree, what's more important is Johnson or Anderson becoming borderline elite.
 

cavesl

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What makes OSU extra deadly is that stoner and Johnson can both line up in multiple spots.

That means that Wallace can potentially line up in multiple spots, which makes him much, much harder to remove with a gameplan.

Sometimes it’s not about the star player but how well the supporting cast can boost the star player.
okstate also picked up a grad transfer wWR from wazzu
 

Ian Boyd

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Meh. It's pretty much always about the star players. Stoner as a league average (or slightly above) wide out doesn't scare anyone. Pretty much anyone can roll out an average WR. Having a solid supporting cast helps, but you need them command attention to matter. And I'm not sure that that's an accurate description of Stoner. He's solid, but you're not going to scheme around him. Personally, and it sounds like you disagree, what's more important is Johnson or Anderson becoming borderline elite.
I don’t think I made my point clearly.

Star players can’t dominate without the right supporting cast. A pair of receivers next to Wallace that can line up in multiple spots to accommodate Gundy hunting matchups for Wallace is a very big deal.

It’s very, very difficult to gameplan an offense in which the star receiver lines up in multiple places. You have to have so many checks to keep tabs on him and you have to do it all without being in a spot where you can’t fit the run against Chuba or you have a guy who can’t run on Stoner or Johnson.