Spring Outlook: Wide Receivers

Heading into Spring Football, one area of strength for the 2005-2006 Wildcats could be the Wide Receiver Position.

The position that could be the strongest for the Kansas State offense is at wide receiver. There's plenty of talent not only from the returning players, but the newcomers bring a lot of potential and raw talent. Only time will tell if they will make a challenge to the veterans or if the learning curve will have them watching and learning more than playing in 2005.

Last years offense was plagued by the little mistakes the entire year, and that could be the difference between sitting at home during bowl season starting a new post-season streak.

One of the good things about these receivers is youth is on their side as there is only one senior in the core group. This might be one of the fastest receiving groups K-State has seen is some time. Multiple speedsters at this position will spread the defenses out

Jermaine Moreira was the Cats leading receiver in 2004 with 39 catches. Moreira will start the season as the No. 1 receiver combining tremendous athleticism and a continuing development in his overall game. That continued improvement makes Moreira a possibility for Big 12 post-season honors at some point before his college career is over. The junior from Florida split time in 2004 as the kick-off return man and should be No. 1 in this position in 2005 as well.

Moreira will be counted on heavily in the up coming season. He has all the skills and big game experience needed to have a huge year and his success will play a big part in the success of K-State.

When you talk about speedy receivers in the Big 12 you have to mention Yamon Figurs. The junior out of Garden City Community College was the third leading receiver for the Wildcats last season with 31 catches for 483 yards.

Figurs, a dangerous punt returner having a team best 54-yard run in the Missouri victory. This should be the breakout year for Figurs with the Wildcats. Figurs must continue to demonstrate his ability to consistently make the big play down field, but catch the short passes, make the key blocks and do all of the little things required. This hopefully will be an exciting year for this talented player who could cause jubilation for Cat fans and great headaches for defensive coordinators around the Big 12.

Senior Davin Dennis is yet another talented returning wide receiver who had his break out game in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State with 7 catches for 113 yards. The elder statesman of this receiving group, Dennis is a multi-talented, steady player who pulled in 22 catches last season and more should be expected during his final season at K-State.

The Newcomers:
Val Taylor caused quite a lot of nervous moments for several different schools. He first committed to UTEP and after a visit to Kansas he announced he was going to be a Jayhawk. Then everything changed again and despite warnings from K.U. coaches their offer would be taken off the table, Taylor headed to Manhattan to visit with Coach Snyder and his staff. That was all it took and Taylor was hooked and convinced that he needed to be a Wildcat.

The 6-1, 180 lb receiver out of Dallas, Texas runs a 4.5 forty and combined Yamon Figurs gives Kansas State a dangerous combination of speedsters at the receiver position. Taylor also has the size and strength to adapt to the physical play of the Big 12. It would not be a surprise to see Taylor get some snaps in practice at the kick return position to possibly take advantage of his athleticism and speed.

Any fans worried about Taylor and his commitment to the Wildcats after changing his mind on what school he would attend should let those worries go. Taylor said K-State was always in the back of his mind and look for this talented player to have a great career in a Wildcat uniform.

Staying in the Lone Star state, K-State grabbed another wide receiver in Andrew Richards a tall, skilled pass catcher. Richards is a smart, well-coached, hard working player who has speed that pleases and impresses the Wildcat coaches. Richards also has the big play ability to use his size to go up and get the ball much like James Terry did for K-State a couple of years ago. Richards will get stronger with work in the weight room and should put on another 20 lbs as his career moves along at Kansas State potentially making him a very dangerous receiver that in the future could be a load for any defense.

Richards was scheduled to visit a number of other schools but after he and his family came up to visit Kansas State that was all it took and the other trips were cancelled and this talented player decided to be a Wildcat.

Potentially there is a lot of talent with the group of wide receivers. A good mixture of experience and youth could make this group one of the most talented receiver cores Wildcat fans have seen in sometime.

The upside for Taylor and Richards is they don't have to produce right away with Figurs, Dennis and Moreira ahead of them. These two freshman especially Taylor will get some snaps, but watching and learning will be vital because they'll form the future at the receiver position.

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