This series of articles will break down the Red Raiders roster approaching the 2017 season. Staff members selected their top-15 players currently on the roster and for each one of them, there will be a profile with basic information, videos, and expectations.
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 180 pounds
Hometown: Lufkin, Texas
Finally, we come to the end of this list that led us through the Texas Tech roster. The staff members had various top-15 rankings but everyone picked the same leader, wide receiver Keke Coutee, who officially becomes the first consensus Viva the Matadors top player.
Coutee earned this honor after a season in which he emerged as a legitimate top receiver for the Red Raiders, and he is the player on which the offense will rely the most in 2017.
The Red Raiders will play in 2017 without Jonathan Giles, who decided to transfer to LSU after a season in which he caught 69 passes for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns. Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury must find alternative solutions and Coutee seems to be the best answer to a lot of questions.
The native of Lufkin, Texas, shares many common traits with his former teammate, as both are 5-foot-11 and both had good sophomore seasons after laborious freshman years.
Keke didn’t start well in 2016, with only three receptions for 29 yards in the first three games. He recorded his first two touchdowns of the year (and of his college career) in Week 5 against Kansas and had his first 100-yards game one week later against Kansas State, in which he caught five passes for 130 yards, and one touchdown.
After a huge game against Oklahoma with 10 receptions for 172 yards and one touchdown, Coutee slowed down his pace but erupted again in the last two games of the season, when he had 115 yards and one touchdown in the blowout loss against Iowa State. His best game was the last of the season, in the victory over Baylor where Coutee finished with 221 yards and 2 touchdowns.
In 2017, Coutee is expected to take another step forward and turn into Tech’s next 1,000-yard receiver. Despite his small stature and weight (he is only 180 pounds), Coutee can create separation from the defender with his speed and create space to receive the ball even if it’s far from his body.
His best can be seen when he is on the run, because Coutee is very hard to stop in the open field, both for his speed and extensive arsenal of fakes and spin moves. He’s also very hard to tackle and fights for every extra yard that he can conquer, showing a lot of dedication to the cause.
Now, there’s a question that the Red Raiders fans have in their mind: how effective can Coutee be in 2017 with a new quarterback who is less experienced and talented than Patrick Mahomes III?
Two things must be considered in order to have a complete answer. From one side, there is a connection between quarterback and wide receiver that must be created because Nic Shimonek, or whoever will earn the starting spot at quarterback, will need some time to build a link with Coutee. It’s One thing to do well in practice and another one to do so in real games against quality opponents.
On the other side, the departure of Giles and other wide receivers like Devin Lauderdale, Ian Sadler, and Reginald Davis III means that there are at least 150 passes that need to be caught and Coutee is one of the players who will fill this space.