1. TCU: Gary Patterson’s Frogs return their entire complement of starting receivers, and at least two of those returnees have All Big 12 potential. The headliner is probably Josh Doctson, who led the squad in receiving yards with 1,018, and touchdown receptions with 11. But then there is Kolby Listenbee who averaged 18.4 yards per grab. Ty Slanina and Deante’ Gray are no slouches either.
2. Baylor: If nothing else, the Bears boast probably the single most talented receiver in the Big 12 in sophomore K.D. Cannon. The Freshman All American, who looks like a young Andre Rison, caught 58 passes for 1,030 yards and eight touchdowns last season, while averaging 17.8 yards per catch. But as good as Cannon was, fellow returnee Corey Coleman put up even better stats with 64 receptions for 1,119 yards and 11 touchdowns and a 17.5 yards-per-catch average. Jay Lee is another quality receiver who will stress opposing defenses in 2015.
3. Iowa State: It will doubtless come as a surprise to some to see the Cyclone receivers ranked this high, but the reality is that Paul Rhoads has some serious talent in this area. D’Vario Montgomery, who led ISU in receiving yards with 605, and shed 20 pounds in the offseason, is back in the fold. So is extremely talented 6-foot-5 sophomore Allen Lazard who caught 45 passes for 593 yards and averaged 13.2 per grab as a freshman. But the best of the bunch could be Quenton Bundrage, who was an excellent player in 2013 but missed all of last year with an injury. This trio will give defenses fits.
4. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys don’t have a superstar in the receiving corps, but do return four starters, all of whom are very solid performers. David Glidden led the quartet in receptions with 42, Brandon Sheperd in yardage and yards per catch at 737 and 18.9 respectively, and James Washington in touchdowns with six. Marcell Ateman, a good player in his own right, rounds out a very good group.
5. Texas Tech: The merit of Texas Tech’s receiving corps will depend largely upon three things—the continued development of Devin Lauderdale, Ian Sadler improving on a very solid freshman season, and Jakeem Grant returning to his old form. Lauderdale finished the season averaging a gaudy 19 yards per catch. Sadler came on late to finish with 336 receiving yards. Grant, despite far too many drops, still led the team in receptions with 67 and receiving yards with 938. This group could be very good or it could be average.
6. Oklahoma: Because of the presence of Sterling Shepard, one of the better receivers in the Big 12, Oklahoma will field a respectable receiving corps in 2015. If Missouri transfer Dorial Green-Beckham hadn’t declared early for the NFL draft, having never played a down in Norman, the Sooner receivers would be ranked considerably higher than sixth. Still, with Shepard who averaged 19 yards per catch, Durron Neal who caught 42 passes a year ago and junior college transfer Dede Westbrook, nobody’s shedding tears for the Sooners.
7. Kansas State: Like Oklahoma, Kansas State returns a couple of starters among their receivers. But Deante Burton and Kody Cook are not quite the caliber of Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal. However, if Kyle Klein turns out to be as good a receiver as his brother Colin was a quarterback, KSU will be in excellent shape at this position. But that’s an enormous “if”.
8. West Virginia: The Mountaineers lost two premium talents in Kevin White and Mario Alford, and it doesn’t look like the returning players will come close to making up for the losses. Returning starter Jordan Thompson caught 49 passes for 598 yards and he’s WVU’s best hope. Daikiel Shorts saw plenty of action and averaged 14.4 yards per catch.
9. Texas: The Longhorns return no receivers who worry anybody, and that is why Charlie Strong will count on a bevy of talented incoming freshmen—Gilbert Johnson may be the best—to boost the skill. Of the returnees, Marcus Johnson, who caught 27 balls for 313 yards may be the best of the bunch.
10. Kansas: As many questions as Kansas has at quarterback with the injury to starter Michael Cummings, and the inadequacy of backup Montell Cozart, the worries may be even greater at receiver where the talent just isn’t there. New coach David Beaty will roll out guys like Rodriguez Coleman, Ben Johnson, and Tre’ Parmalee, but in all honesty, those are warm bodies and little more. What’s more, Coleman is under suspension and may not even play in 2015. Suffice to say that newcomers will play huge roles for the KU receiving corps.