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2016 Texas Tech Football Position Preview: Wide Receivers

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing this week and going through the next several weeks, I will be previewing different position groups for the upcoming 2016 Tech football team. This week, we will be previewing the wide receiver core.

For the last several years now, Tech has never had a shortage of wide receivers. Yes, some groups were injured at times. Yes, some years had better groups of wide receivers than others. However, the consistency that the wide receiver groups have provided over the course of the "Air Raid" years should not go unnoticed.

I really do like this group of wide receivers. Do I think they will be as good as last year? That of course remains to be seen. Let’s check out some stats from last year to get a better understanding of this year’s group:

(These stats courtesy of

Multiple items stuck out to me when I first glanced upon this list. Devin Lauderdale had a much higher number of targets than I was expecting. Going deeper into Lauderdale’s stats last year also shows that he had 18 combined catches between the Sam Houston and Kansas State games, and had 25 catches the other eight games he played in.Alex, I’ll take inconsistent for $300.

Jakeem. Jaaaaakeeeeeeem. Like I said in the quarterback’s preview a few weeks back, we are really, really going to miss him. It was so awesome to see him get drafted, but it reminded me once again that he would no longer be dazzling around defenders in a red and black uniform anymore. It’s like a parent watching their kid go off to college. You know your child is off to bigger and better things, but you still want them to be at home.

So, about 30% of Tech’s targets went to Lauderdale and Jakeem last year. Lauderdale was not listed on the spring depth chart and Jakeem just signed a $2.48 million deal with the Dolphins. Where in the world can we make up for that production? Let’s check out that spring depth chart:

X: Derrick Willies, Ja’Deion High

H: Cameron Batson, Keke Coutee

Y: Ian Sadler, Jonathan Giles

Z: Dylan Cantrell, Reginald Davis

Boy do I love seeing Willies starting (plugging my Willies article here). Willies and Cantrell are two large wide receivers on the outside that did not play for Tech last year that will add a significant boost to the outside vertical passing game that was the only lacking part of Tech’s offense last year. Both are very physical wide receivers that have a 

fantastic ability to catch the football.

Given that the outside wide receivers will open up the field more so than last year, this in turn will give the inside receivers more room to operate. The loss of major production from Jakeem in the slot obviously hurts and is almost irreplaceable. However, Cameron Batson and Ian Sadler are both a year older, both have a year under their belt, so naturally their production will increase this year, no?

There is one major plead I have for this wide receiver core this year: please please please cut down on the drops. Lots and lots of drops really plagued this offense a year ago.

This group of wide receivers features zero seniors, so this is the group we have for the next couple of years. I’m really excited to watch these guys gel together and win us some football games.