Jarrett Hicks is the other returning receiver who is a probable starter right now. Last season as a freshman, Hicks caught 32 passes for 498 yards and 5 touchdowns. Hicks' biggest asset is his height, which allows him to out-jump smaller defensive backs. Hicks has already demonstrated his natural athletic gifts, the only question is how well he can learn the intricacies of route running in the Texas Tech offense. Hicks will most likely start at one of the outside receiver positions in 2004.
No other returning players saw significant action in 2003. Cody Fuller caught 10 passes in 2003 for 186 yards and a touchdown. Fuller will have to step up his game in order to be a legitimate threat for a starting position. Fuller is a capable receiver, but he isn't the most gifted athlete of a talented group of receivers. Fuller will probably play a similar role in 2004. Trey Haverty was one of the most impressive players in fall workouts, catching almost everything thrown his way. Haverty will have an outside chance at becoming a big part of the Red Raiders' passing attack. Joel Filani had a lackluster freshman season, but his size is very attractive to the Red Raiders. He will definitely be vying for an inside receiver spot, but only time will tell how successful he will be in his quest for playing time. There were also a number of receivers redshirted in 2003 who will be looking for playing time in 2004. The only problem for this group is size. Given the big receivers that Leach brought in with the 2004 recruiting class, it is hard to see any of these guys in a starting role in 2004. the good news is they will have opportunities to play thanks to the sheer number of players who catch passes in the Red Raiders offense.
Head Coach Mike Leach has shown that he is willing to start newcomers at the receiver position, and he will have a number of potential starters to choose from. Marquis Johnson is the most probable starter of this group. Johnson was highly touted out of high school and originally signed with Texas. Now he is at Texas Tech after a year of junior college football. Johnson is the first receiver to play for Coach Leach at Texas Tech to fit the NFL's idea of the prototypical receiver. At 6-3 and 210 pounds, Johnson will be looking to make a huge impact in the Big Twelve. L.A. Reed is another big receiver who could be a great addition to the Texas Tech receiving corps. Despite the success that Mike Leach has had with undersized receivers, the idea of big receivers in his spread offense should have defensive coordinators losing sleep.