This week we are taking a look at Dylan Cantrell, a redshirt junior wide receiver for the Red Raiders. Since Cantrell's arrival in Lubbock he has dazzled fans and opponents with his big leaps and gutsy catches. He has made a strong offensive impact as a receiver since taking the field his freshman year and could definitely be a player to keep an eye on this year. Let's take a look at what Cantrell has accomplished and what he may have in store this coming Fall.
Cantrell came to Lubbock from Whitehouse, Texas, where he played football for Whitehouse High School. That should sound familiar because that is the same school quarterback Patrick Mahomes derived from as well. Cantrell helped lead Whitehouse to a 10-2 record his senior year compiling almost 1,400 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns. He was a four-star prospect and ranked as the No. 36 wide receiver in class of 2013. He chose Texas Tech over the likes of Arkansas, West Virginia, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State.
In 2013, Cantrell's freshman year, he caught nine passes for 70 yards and one touchdown. Nothing spectacular, but then again Cantrell was a true freshman on a team that had many options at wide receiver including, Eric Ward, Jordan Davis, Bradley Marquez, Jakeem Grant, and Reginald Davis.
2014 was the year Dylan Cantrell took flight. He compiled 20 receptions for 312 yards and two touchdowns. This is a prime example of how statistics don't even come close to telling the true story of a player's season. It wasn't necessarily THAT he caught passes and touchdowns, but rather HOW he caught them. He made his first start at wide receiver at No. 24 Oklahoma State on a Thursday night, live on ESPN. Cantrell only made two receptions, but once again the numbers do not tell the whole story on this occasion because one catch in particular earned him a #2 spot in the SC Top 10. SEE HERE That catch set the tone for what can expected from the Whitehouse product. Later that year against West Virginia he would do it again with another amazing catch. SEE HERE Once again the true sophomore came up big when needed. Making big plays rather than a lot of plays was the story of Cantrell's sophomore season.
The summer before the 2015 season, Dylan Cantrell once again dazzled the football world with a series of back-flip catches he and some teammates posted on Vine. SEE HERE
In 2015, Cantrell sat out the season after he received a medical redshirt because of an aggravated back injury.
That leads to this coming season! Highlights from the previous seasons show what Cantrell is capable of as a receiver. This coming season he will be competing for a starting role as a wide receiver. He would make an outstanding outside threat at 6'3 and 212 lbs. His size creates many mismatches especially with Tech transfer Derrick Willies, who is also 6'3 and 215 lbs., expected to also compete for a starting role as wide receiver. Cantrell and Willies would be nearly impossible to stop near the end-zone with their size and unique athleticism. He reminds me of a smaller, more athletic version of Jace Amaro, who was an impact player for Tech. Also, Cantrell and Mahomes have a special connection considering they were once teammates at Whitehouse.
This could potentially be a huge year for the redshirt Junior. Last year he had to watch games from the sidelines and I expect for him to be ready to come out strong this year. The pieces are in place for him to be successful with his abnormal size, big-play making abilities, and his connection with star quarterback Mahomes, who is also known for his big plays. It all makes sense for Cantrell to be a strong impact player this coming season. This is a player to watch because as long as he is healthy I'm sure he will quickly remind us of what he can do!