When a player gets hurt, typically his production is spread around to multiple targets. But when Cowboys ace Tracy Moore went out, Stewart pretty much sucked up a huge portion of his production. The talented slot receiver had 365 receiving yards (73 yards per game) and through the first five games, going over the 100-yard mark just once (104 yards against Louisiana). From that point, he tore through conference play, putting up 789 yards (112.7 yards per game) and 100-plus-yard efforts against TCU (120), West Virginia (172), Oklahoma (150) and Baylor (150) in the final seven league games. He had at least 11 catches in four games as well, and finished the year with 101 catches for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns. The Big 12 has been a league where slot receivers can really make their mark, and Stewart is the most recent example of that trend.
As a high school senior, Ward was committed to Oklahoma, before eventually reversing and picking Texas Tech. And in Ward's senior season, he stands to reap the rewards of his decision. The 6-foot, 204-pounder had a nice year last year with 82 catches for 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns. Don't be surprised to see that yardage jump up by half. Ward is a solid route-runner who knows how to get open.
3) Mike Davis, Texas
A guy that former offensive coordinator Greg Davis aptly described as "he reminds me of a really fast guy," Davis made a lot of game-changing fast-guy plays, including huge catches against Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Texas Tech. At 6-2, with speed and a sneaky ability to get deep, Davis finished 2012 with 57 catches for 939 ears and seven touchdowns. With the Longhorns going more up-tempo in 2013, his numbers could see a bump.
* 4) Nick Harwell, Kansas
What's the best way to improve your receiving corps? Go out and land one of college football's best receivers. That's no stretch — Harwell, the second-leading receiver in Miami (Ohio) history, has been more productive than any other wideout in the league. Harwell averaged 129.6 receiving yards per game (second-best nationally) as a sophomore, catching 97 passes for 1,425 yards and nine touchdowns. And despite missing three games with injuries last year, he had 68 catches for 870 yards and eight more scores. The question here is: will he be eligible to play this year? After legal troubles, there were reports of Miami (Ohio) blocking his graduation so he couldn't transfer elsewhere to play immediately. But most feel this will be resolved for this season.
4) Tevin Reese, Baylor
I've included a second No. 4, just in case Harwell can't go. Like Davis, Reese has shown an ability to get open down the field. But the two do it in different ways. A high-level hurdler in track, Reese (5-10 170) does it with blinding speed — he's one of the league's fastest guys — and acceleration. Reese also has the ability to take a short throw and turn it into a huge gain. The slippery wideout had 53 catches for 957 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 18.1 yards per catch as Baylor's No. 2 option to an All-American in Terrance Williams. Eight of his nine touchdowns were 40 yards or longer, and he caught 12 passes of 38 yards or longer. He's big-time.
5) Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma
Saunders had to sit out the first four games after transferring to Oklahoma from Fresno State, where he had 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore. But it didn't take long for the diminutive Saunders (5-9 160) to make an impact. He had two catches for 54 yards in his first game, a Red River rout over Texas. And the former first-team All-WAC selection continued to step up in big games, grabbing 15 catches for 181 yards against Notre Dame and 10 catches for 162 yards against Oklahoma State. Saunders averaged 21.3 yards per catch as a sophomore and 13.4 yards per catch as a junior, showing his ability to create big plays. He finished with 62 catches for 829 ears and three touchdowns in nine games.