The Big 12 has a veritable plethora of outstanding receivers. The only question is will anybody be able to get the ball to them? Because of potential deficiencies at quarterback around the conference, there could be a bevy of frustrated and disgruntled receivers as the season wears on. And the Big 12 could actually become a ground-oriented conference for a year.
10: West Virginia—The days of Geno Smith scorching the skies with Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin are definitively over. In 2013, Clint Trickett—no slouch himself—will try to make hay with a cast of unknowns. Likely starters are K. J. Myers, Connor Arlia and Kevin White. Myers and Arlia caught a combined nine passes last season. White is a rangy JUCO transfer.
9: Kansas—If Jake Heaps wasn't crazy about the situation in BYU, he's danged sure not going to be too thrilled with matters in Lawrence. Only one starter (the tight end) returns in a receiving corps that was mediocre in 2012. Likely starters are Andrew Turzilli, Tre' Parmalee and the aforementioned tight end Jim May Mundine. This group had a combined 38 receptions in 2012.
8: Texas—David Ash (or Case McCoy) will have exactly one prime receiver to throw to in the person of Jaxon Shipley. The younger brother of Jordan Shipley is one of the Big 12's best having hauled in 59 aerials for 737 yards and six touchdowns last season, but he will see many a double-team in 2013. Fellow starters will be Kendall Sanders, whose only claim to fame in Austin is a DWI, and converted defensive end Greg Daniels.
7: Iowa State—With the Cyclones, the quality of the receiving corps improves noticeably. ISU boasts big Ernst Brun, a future professional who could be the Big 12's best tight end, and diminutive Jarvis West, who caught 31 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns last season. The other two starters will be Tad Ecby and Quenton Bundrage who snagged 20 balls for 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2012. The Cyclones like Bundrage a lot.
6: Kansas State—With Daniel Sams running Bill Snyder's option attack, the Wildcats won't need a stellar receiving corps. Nevertheless, KSU does boast a pair of quality wideouts in Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson. Lockett, the latest issue of the seemingly interminable Lockett line, caught 44 passes for 687 yards and four TDs last season. He's a very dangerous receiver who will challenge for All Big 12 honors. Thompson is just about as good as Lockett. The tight end figures to be Zach Trujillo.
5: TCU—TCU has never been known as Wide Receiver U, and that won't change in 2013. The Horned Frogs, do, however, have a very solid unit this season. There are no real stars in this group, but everybody is competent and experienced. Three starters return in Cam White, LaDarius Brown and Brandon Carter. Last season they combined for 84 grabs and 1,259 yards. Carter, who snared six touchdown passes, is the best and most explosive of the bunch.
4: Oklahoma—This group has more volatility than any other batch of receivers in the conference. Much depends upon the celebrated Trey Metoyer living up to his colossal billing, and Jaz Reynolds returning to form after missing 2012. If Metoyer and Reynolds hit, the Sooners will have three lethal receivers because Jalen Saunders is one of the very best in the Big 12. But of course, if Blake Bell cannot get them the ball, it's all academic anyway.
3: Baylor—Art Briles has one of the deadliest receivers in the Big 12 in Tevin Reese, who caught 53 passes for 957 yards and nine big touchdowns last season. Reese will be ably complemented by possession receiver Levi Norwood, recipient of 40 balls in 2012. Returning starter Jordan Najvar is a very solid tight end. And rounding out the starting group will be Antwan Goodley. New quarterback Bryce Petty won't lack for weapons.
2: Texas Tech—If Eric Ward isn't the best returning receiver in the Big 12, he's certainly a big part of the conversation. His 82 receptions and 12 touchdown grabs from a year ago attest to that. Tight end Jace Amaro could put it all together in 2013 and become an All American. He has that sort of ability. Lightning bug Jakeem Grant and steady Bradley Marquez round out the starting quartet.
1: Oklahoma State—The Cowboys have the conference's best quarterback in J. W. Walsh. It's only fitting that they should pair him with the Big 12's finest group of receivers. Four starters return in Austin Hays, who had an excellent freshman season, Charlie Moore, Blake Jackson, and Josh Stewart who may be the premiere receiver in the conference. Tracy Moore is a 20-catch/four-touchdown guy from a year ago.