In-Depth: A Look at the WR

The Bears hired a new offensive coordinator and a new QB coach this off-season. Certainly the players the Bears recruit at the wide receiver position will be a big factor in the offense. THEE DEN takes a closer look.


Ernest Smith (WR) 6-4/200 Tyler, TX

Offers: Michigan State, UAB, Colorado, Mississippi

Honors:2nd team all district

The skinny: Ernest Smith hasn't exactly been able to coast through high school. In his second game of his junior year in high school, with scholarship letters already pouring in, Smith suffered a season-ending injury. After sitting out the year, Smith couldn't wait to take the field in the fall of his senior year – to hopefully showcase his talent and earn a college scholarship. Just as the season was to begin, Hurricane Katrina came along and displaced the young man from his home town.

He landed at Tyler John Tyler, and after settling in and getting some playing time with his new team, Smith quickly caught the eyes of college coaches across the nation. Baylor was the fortunate team to land the services of the speedy receiver, who was clocked at 4.41 at the Nike Camp and anchored his 4x400 relay team his junior year.

Anthony Norice (WR) 6-0/170 Dallas, TX

Offers: UTEP

Honors: 2nd team all district

The skinny: Skyline has been nice to the Bears in the last few years (Mikael Baker, Josh Bell, Corey Ford) – and this athlete who played QB this year is no exception. Norice amassed 1300 yards passing and 241 yards rushing – while combining to put the ball in the endzone 17 times. Much like future teammate and likely future position teammate Ernest Smith, Norice missed most of his junior year with injury and therefore didn't give colleges as good of a chance to evaluate him. Nonetheless, Norice did have interest from several schools, and an offer on the table from UTEP before choosing Baylor as his school. Although Norice played QB in high school and the coaches would like to look at him there, most expect him to end up at the wide receiver position.

James "Garfield" Hicks (WR) 6-2/172 Waco, TX

Offers: Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State

Honors: Texas Sportswriters Association 4A 2nd team all-state, AP honorable mention 4A all-state, district co-offensive MVP

The Skinny: There's nothing that soothes the hearts quite as much as bringing in local talent. As James "Garfield" Hicks continued to pile up the stats in football, Baylor fans quickly had their target set on him. Lucky for those fans, the coaches were able to haul in this gifted prospect. Hicks, a standout talent on the soccer field who was the Super Centex Player of the Year, had a monster year his senior year in football, compiling 77 catches for 1307 yards and 14 TD's. It seemed like every time he touched the ball it was a possibility that he would take it to the house. The Bears will need all the talent they can get in their new offense – and Hicks should compete for playing time in the near future.

Ben Randle (WR/TE) 6-5/200 Plano, TX

Offers: Iowa State, Utah

Honors: 2nd team all district

The Skinny: Ben Randle went into the off-season between his junior and senior year knowing he had to improve his receiving skills – and after a lot of hard work he did just that. Randle has a solid senior season at Plano West, finishing 2nd team all district, and drawing interest from several college programs. Randle has a frame that projects nicely to the tight-end position, where most expect him to land at Baylor. Randle is a name long-time Baylor fans will recognize, as Ben's father Ervin played defense at Baylor and was selected to all conference twice before going on to the NFL to play for Tampa Bay and Kansas City.

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