Here are the Big 12's best groups of receivers and tight ends.
The Sooners have one of the nation's top receiving groups in terms of overall talent and depth. It all starts with returning All-American Ryan Broyles, who caught 131 passes for 1,622 yards and 14 touchdowns. The only reason Broyles' year wasn't more talked about was that Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon happened to have an even better one. Regardless, Broyles is a matchup nightmare because of his quickness and route-running ability. Kenny Stills had a great true freshman year, catching 61 passes for 786 yards and five touchdowns. Big target DeJuan Miller (6-4 216) will likely fill in for the departed Cameron Kenney, who made some big catches a year ago. Justin McCay (6-2 209) and Trey Franks (5-10 184) will also battle for time. A great group could get even better if the nation's No. 1 high school wideout — Trey Metoyer — qualifies. Metoyer is already a big-time route runner and jump-ball winner.
2) Oklahoma State
Justin Blackmon had one of the top two receiving seasons in Big 12 history last year, snagging 111 passes for 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first full year as a starter. Blackmon (6-1 211) reminded many coaches of the player whose stats he challenged: former Texas Tech standout Michael Crabtree. He set an NCAA record by reaching 100 yards and a touchdown receiving in each of the 12 games he played. Josh Cooper is as steady as they come, catching 68 passes for 736 yards and five touchdowns out of the slot last year. Isaiah Anderson could start opposite Blackmon, though he'll be pushed by rising sophomore Michael Harrison. Tracy Moore (6-1 233), a tight-end type with sticky hands, will take over in the slot opposite Cooper. Redshirt freshman Kevin Johnson is another one to keep an eye on.
Perhaps no receiving group boasts the pure speed assembled in Waco. Kendall Wright has the misfortune of playing in a league stacked with quality receivers, so he can get forgotten at times. But he shouldn't be — the talented slot receiver caught 78 passes for 952 yards and seven touchdowns last year. Outside receivers Josh Gordon , Terrance Williams and Lanear Sampson can all run like the wind, while Tevin Reese, the slot guy opposite Wright, caught 45 passes a year ago. Gordon, the big-play specialist, averaged 17 yards per catch and had seven touchdowns. The Bears also have a pair of good-looking tight ends in Jerod Monk and Jordan Najvar.
4) Texas A&M
Jeff Fuller (6-4 215) is one of the biggest matchup problems in the league, thanks to his ability to win jump balls over smaller defensive backs. He caught 72 passes for 1,066 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. Ryan Swope also caught 72 passes, though his went for 825 yards and four touchdowns. The coaches are high on Uzoma Nwachukwu after a big spring. He had 407 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore, down a bit from his freshman year production. Brandal Jackson and Kenrick McNeal could have big years as well, while Nate Askew, another big target (6-4 223) apprentices behind Fuller. Sophomore Nehemiah Hicks is a young tight end with a lot of potential.
The Tigers can actually start their group off with their tight end. Michael Egnew is a returning All-American who snagged 90 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns last year. At 6-6, Egnew is a tough matchup for most teams, especially on third down. Egnew is especially tough when paired with T.J. Moe, another consistent threat. Moe caught 92 passes for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns last year. Jerrell Jackson, if he's healthy, could be the most explosive of the bunch. He caught 50 passes for 656 yards a year ago. Wes Kemp (6-4 220) provides another possession-type player who can make life rough on third-and-medium. The only need here is to find more downfield threats.
Best of the Rest
6) Texas — The redshirt of Marquise Goodwin adds even more youth to a group that was already young. Emerging sophomores Mike Davis and Darius White might start opposite each other on the outside. Davis set the UT freshman mark for receptions last year despite missing time with an injury. Senior Malcolm Williams adds some experience, while redshirt freshman John Harris brings another big body to the table. True freshman Jaxon Shipley could plug right into the slot. He's already way ahead of his class when it comes to running routes and getting open. D.J. Grant leads a bevy of tight ends fighting for time.
7) Texas Tech — Tech lost its top two receivers from a year ago, but the cupboard is far from bare. Alex Torres and Tramain Swindall are the most experienced guys, but watch out for less experienced talents like Eric Ward, Darrin Moore and JUCO transfer Marcus Kennard. Austin Zouzalik and Cornelius Douglas will also factor in.
8) Kansas — Daymond Patterson and Kale Pick have the potential to be a strong slot duo, while tight end Tim Biere could be among the league's best. The outside receivers are a question mark, though the Jayhawks do have some big athletes out there in Chris Omigie and Christian Matthews. D.J. Beshears is a do-it-all type who could line up in multiple spots.
9) Kansas State — The Wildcats don't return a single player who caught more than 25 passes a year ago, though they do have some talent. Chris Harper and Brodrick Smith are prototypical outside receivers with great size and athleticism. Tramaine Thompson is slippery in the slot and Travis Tannahill returns at tight end. Beyond that, there's a bit of a guessing game, so depth is a concern.
10) Iowa State — The Cyclones lost their top two receivers, making Darius Darks their top returning threat. Darks caught 29 passes for 355 yards and a touchdown last year. Darius Reynolds is another senior who needs to step up. Josh Lenz showed ability at times. Watch out for Donnie Jennert, a tall athlete who can run.