Not since the days of Kendall Wright have the Baylor Bears had a question mark when it came to their top receiver. Kendall Wright became Terrence Williams, who turned into Antwan Goodley, then Corey Coleman and finally KD Cannon. Always one of the standouts in the conference, the Bears featured a premier go-to receiver and a young stud behind them being groomed for his place atop to the targets chart.
KD Cannon filled that role under Coleman, and then became the top guy last year. His early departure to the NFL was suspected by many ever since he step foot on campus. What was unexpected was the departure of the "young" understudy Ishmael Zamora, who at times was the best receiver for the Bears in 2016.
With the two top receivers on the depth chart leaving, the alpha dog is now either Chris Platt (35 catches, 567, and 4 TDs) or Blake Lynch (34, 404, 3). Behind them is just one player with good experience in Pooh Stricklin (13,226, 2) and a group of players with minimal experience or production in Quan Jones, Jared Atkinson, Denzel Mims and Tony Nicholson. As a whole, all returning receivers caught 95 catches in 2016, or just 8 more than KD Cannon caught last year.
This is an untested, and mostly unproven group, which will be ranked near the bottom of the Big 12 position group rankings for the first time in 9 years.
2017 Baylor Wide Receiver Roster
This spring however, the reinforcements start arriving, as R.J. Sneed is an early enrollee and will be participating in spring ball. Sneed, along with Gavin Holmes and Trestan Ebner, will give the Bears depth at a critical position for the new offense.
The starters are likely Platt on the inside, along with Lynch and probably Jared Atkinson on the outside. However, with a brand new staff, and a brand new system in place, all are up for grabs. Platt and Nicholson are both speed-type players, able to stretch the field. Lynch, Jones, and Mims are bigger targets that can play outside mostly, but were used inside as well by the previous staff for blocking and quick hitting routes. Lynch excelled in this role at times during his freshman year.
2017 Baylor Wide Receiver Recruiting Class
|Trestan Ebner||3||47 (ATH)||6-0||188|
Joining Sneed in the fall will be Gavin Holmes and Trestan Ebner. Holmes was the Bears only 4-star signee and is a polished receiver with big play ability. Lacking ideal height, Holmes has a laser-timed 4.43 speed 40, and has great foot quickness and lateral mobility, according to Scout's Gabe Brooks. Holmes is a player that profiles to make an impact on the depth chart day 1. Ebner has better height with the same caliber of speed, though his polish at the position is in question after playing both ways in high school.
In the end, this year will be a rebuilding year for the wide receivers, as new names force their way to the top and try to continue the strong legacy paved before them. Could Quan Jones put it all together and give the Bears dominant size on the outside to replace Zamora? Could Lynch continue to develop into an all-around receiver after an up-and-down freshman campaign? Will Chris Platt's electric speed translate to more catches in 2017? Or will one of the sophomores or freshman push his way up the depth chart and take over?
The Baylor Bears start to look for these answers this spring, and hopefully they find the right ones for the 2017 season.