1. West Virginia- The Mountaineers have arguably the best duo of wide receivers in the country with junior Stedman Bailey and senior Tavon Austin. Stedman led the team with 1279 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Austin was right behind him with 1186 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. These two explosive offensive playmakers will make the Mountaineers very hard to cover for deep threat plays downfield in 2012. In addition to Bailey and Austin, West Virginia will have the teams third leading receiver Ivan McCartney who went for 585 yards and three touchdowns last year and will add a third threat to the Mountaineers aerial arsenal in 2012.
2. Oklahoma- The Sooners lose big time wide receiver Ryan Broyles who had 1157 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last year, but they still return a very talented cast of receivers for 2012. Junior wide receiver Kenny Stills had 849 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last year and could very well be the leading receiver in 2012. Talented junior wide receiver Jaz Reynolds had 715 receiving yards and five touchdowns last year and will be looking to improve his numbers and possibly be a 1000-yard receiver next year. Other notable receivers are junior wide receiver Trey Franks and sophomore wide receiver Kameel Jackson who had limited receptions last year, but will get more playing time in 2012.
3. Baylor- The departure of both Robert Griffin III and talented wide receiver Kendall Wright will hurt the Bears offense next year, but they have quite a few other playmakers that will make up for the loss of those two. Senior wide receiver Terrance Williams had 59 receptions for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. Williams has a real shot at reaching 1000 plus yards in 2012 and should be the leading receiver for the team. Junior wide receiver Tevin Reese also should be a big factor for the Baylor offense next year. Reese had 51 receptions with 877 yards receiving and seven touchdowns last year. Other contributors will be senior Lanear Sampson who had 572 receiving yards and three touchdowns and highly touted incoming freshman wide receiver Corey Coleman who could see playing time next year.
4. Texas Tech- The Red Raiders return all of their major contributors from 2011 next year. Junior wide receiver Eric Ward had a breakout season last year with 84 receptions for 800 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Ward will have a shot at getting near the 1000 yards mark next year if he gets enough passes thrown his way. Along with Ward, Darrin Moore will have a shot at building on his successful, but short season last year after a nagging injury derailed what could have been a breakout year. Moore had 571 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Other playmakers at the receiver position will be senior Alex Torres, sophomore Bradley Marquez and senior Marcus Kennard. Senior quarterback Seth Doege will have more experience and a great collection of wide receiver talent and Texas Tech should have no problem throwing the ball all over the field next year.
5. TCU- The Horned Frogs stand out junior wide receiver Josh Boyce could be one of the best receivers in the Big 12 next year with his good hands and speed. Boyce had 61 receptions for 998 yards and nine touchdowns. I don't expect his number to go up as the Horned Frogs will face much more talented defenses, but Boyce should still have a great year in 2012. TCU has two other playmakers in Skye Dawson and Brandon Carter who had 500 and 352 yards respectively. Quarterback Casey Pachall is going to have a stable of wide receivers that will help the Horned Frogs offense click in 2012.
6. Oklahoma State- It goes without saying that the loss of Justin Blackmon will really hurt Oklahoma State in 2012. The two-time Biletnikoff award winner was a huge part of the Cowboys success in the last two years. Blackmon scored 18 of the Cowboys 40 receiving touchdowns; no other receiver had more than four. The Cowboys also lose their second leading receiver Josh Cooper who had 715 yards and three touchdowns in 2011. Senior wide receiver Tracy Moore had 672 receiving yards and four touchdowns last year and will have to step up and be a leader on the offensive side of the ball in 2012. Along with Moore, sophomore wide receiver Josh Stewart will have to be a leader and replace Blackmon on the outside. Stewart had 291 yards and two touchdowns last year in his freshman season. Oklahoma State will have to rebuild and rely on less experienced receivers in 2012, but will still have a solid stable of young talent.
7. Texas- The Longhorns have a stable of highly touted wide receivers, but none had breakout years in 2011 in a year where they struggled in their passing game. Junior wide receiver Mike Davis had 45 catches for 609 yards and one touchdown last year. Along with Davis, Jaxon Shipley had 44 catches for 607 yards and three touchdowns. These two should be the standout receivers in 2012 and if quarterback play can improve, they should have much better numbers. Junior wide receiver Darius White transferred out of Texas and will play for Missouri but will have to sit out the 2012 season. Other contributors for 2012 are likely speedy receiver senior Marquise Goodwin and talented incoming freshman Cayleb Jones could see some playing time next year.
8. Kansas- The 2011 season should see a spike in offensive production from the Jayhawks receiving corps in both returning talent and because of new head coach Charlie Weis' offensive scheme that uses a lot of passing plays. Leading wide receiver D.J. Beshears caught 40 passes for 437 yards and three touchdowns last year. Beshears is a versatile playmaker that fields kick returns and I expect him to be the Jayhawks biggest variable to offensive success in 2012. Along with Beshears, the Jayhawks return a freshman talent in JaCorey Shepherd who caught 15 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns last year. Shepherd will improve on those numbers and I see him as an important component in the Jayhawks offense next year.
9. Iowa State- The Cyclones lose their top receiver from 2011 in Darius Reynolds. Reynolds caught 43 passes for 695 yards and seven touchdowns last year and will be hard to replace. Senior wide receiver Josh Lenz caught 39 passes for 510 yards and two touchdowns and will need to be the standout receiver for the Cyclones 2012 squad. If senior Aaron Horne, who had 431 yards receiving in 2011 can get solid production in 2012, the Cyclones passing game could improve but it won't be easy without a set starter at the quarterback position.
10. Kansas State- The Wildcats didn't do much damage through the air in 2011. Quarterback Collin Klein threw for 1918 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. Kansas State's leading receiver last year was senior Chris Harper who caught 40 passes for 547 yards and five touchdowns. Harper should be the go to guy on the few plays the Wildcats throw the ball next year. There is a big drop-off in production after Harper, junior wide receiver Tramaine Thompson who caught 21 passes for 338 yards and one touchdown. If the Wildcats can even out their offense by passing the ball more, they could have another good season in 2012.