Tevin Reese is gone to the NFL, the latest wide receiver to be developed by Art Briles and his staff and to find a calling at the professional level. Gone with him are more than 180 career receptions and over 3100 yards. That is a ton of production to be losing, but the Bears will return three players who caught more than 30 balls last year and totaled 13 touchdowns.
CURRENT STARTERS – 9
|35 receptions, 527 yards and 2 TDs last year||47 receptions last year, 93 for career, 1307 yard and 9 TDs||32 receptions, 512 yards, and 3 TDs last year||Special teams player in 2013|
With 2-year starter Levi Norwood back for another go, Clay Fuller who started last year quite a bit and played a larger role, and Corey Coleman who stepped in for the injured Tevin Reese all coming back, the Bears will have excellent options at the inside receiver position. Corey Coleman is one of the most electric players the Bears will feature next year, and if he can build off of his solid Fiesta Bowl (7 catches for 88 yards), you could be looking at the next Baylor star receiver.
However, the steady hand of Levi Norwood will be right there as well, who has the most touchdowns and receiving yards from a returning Baylor receiver on the roster. The senior has played a larger role on offense the past two years, and broke out in a big way in 2013 with 8 touchdown receptions. The other senior on the depth chart is Clay Fuller, who started several games last year and brings great straight line speed and tremendous hands to the position. All three players will get plenty of time on the field and can be looked at as co-starters right now.
POSITIONAL DEPTH - 9
With the "loser" of the starting battle dropping down to a depth spot, one of the three of Norwood, Coleman or Fuller will be used as a tremendous bench weapon for the rotation. Currently, the two-deep lists walk-on Cal Spangler and little used sophomore Lynx Hawthorne as the primary backups behind the "Big-3".
However, the guy to watch here is true freshman KD Cannon, a 4-star stud who was one of the highest rated receivers in the country last year. Cannon is a very good route runner, has strong hands, and is excellent after the catch. While he could bulk up quite a bit, he is expected to contribute right away for the Bears.
CLASS BALANCE – 7
The Bears have young guys and old guys on the roster, but no juniors to speak of. They are loaded with Seniors and Sophomores, with two freshman coming in to help. While this isn't exactly the best situation, it does give some general balance to the position. The Bears do not have a commitment slotted to play inside receiver quite yet, though JaMycal Hasty could possibly slide to this position if the Bears get some other running backs committed.
NEXT YEAR – 8
Baylor Freshman KD Cannon.
With the loss of Norwood and Fuller, the Bears depth will have to be put to use. Coleman should be coming back for another year, and KD Cannon could be expected to take on a larger role in 2015. Depth options Hawthorne and Moore will be juniors as well, and the Bears will probably also have Chris Platt coming off of a redshirt season. With Coleman and Cannon though, the Bears could have an exceptional duo, but with some big questions about the depth behind them.
FUTURE YEARS – 5
With KD Cannon here for the next four (or maybe 5 seasons if he somehow redshirts), the Bears should have a star at the inside position for quite a while. Corey Coleman also has a chance to be a 3-year starter as well. This grade is given based primarily on those two studs. However, Chris Platt profiles quite a bit like another undersized speedster who came to Waco without much fanfare; Tevin Reese.
Art Briles will always be able to find quick, fast and agile pass catchers to attack defenses with their short routes, as well as pop one over the top off of play-action. This is a spot on the roster that does quite a bit for the Bears, though one that can be minimized if the talent, production or depth is not there. Baylor can put another tight end on the field, or even put a 2nd running back out there (something that could happen with JaMycal Hasty in a few years).
TOTAL – 41
The Bears are absolutely loaded at the inside receiver position for 2014, and even though they will lose two of their three top guys next year, the presence of a possible star like KD Cannon has expectations quite high for this position.