Wide receiver is far from a positional need for the Class of 2010, however it is a position where the Jayhawks can continue to make strides to upgrade their talent.
Ed Warriner's spread offense has allowed Kansas quarterbacks to compile video game-esque stats the last two years. In that time, KU has thrown for over 7,700 yards and 69 touchdowns and three different receivers have posted 1,000 yard seasons.
Recruits that want to get a lot of touches are starting to seriously consider playing football in Lawrence. There are currently five 4-Star wide receivers that are highly interested in KU.
Mark Mangino has never been afraid of playing underclassmen and there is plenty of potential for younger players to get on the field early and often in 2010.
The depth at wide receiver appears to be solid, but relatively untested for the most part.
Jonathan Wilson and Dez Briscoe will be seniors, but the rest of the depth at wide receiver is unknown. Aside from Briscoe and Wilson, there are only two other receivers on the 2010 roster that even caught a pass in 2008.
The Jayhawks were able to put add talent and size to the depth chart in the Class of 2009.
Receivers Chris Omigie and Erick McGriff both stand over 6'4" and Bradley McDougald is a very fast, shifty receiver that will likely spend his time at the slot receiver position.
With a plethora of 3-, 4-, and 5- receiver sets, Mark Mangino likes to have 15 to 16 receivers on the roster. Going into 2010, Kansas will have only 12 receivers on the roster, leaving space for 3-4 new recruits.
With nine upperclassmen on the depth chart, it is highly unlikely that KU will sign a junior college receiver. At this point it isn't a question of age for KU's targets, but rather a question of what type of receiver the Jayhawks will sign and how many of each style.
After researching all of KU’s current targets (offered, committed elsewhere, and not offered) there are a few trends that emerge.
The coaching staff is looking for three different types of backs: Giants, Speed Demons, and Utility Men. Each type has a differrent feature that makes it an asset to the KU offense.
Speed is an important aspect of each type of receiver. It is highly unlikely that KU will sign a recruit that can't run at least a 4.6 forty. While that is far from barn-burner speed, it is the minimum speed for the KU offense to move efficiently
Prospects categorized as ‘Giants’ are all tall, long receiver automatically create match-up problems for opposing defenses.
They are too tall to be covered properly by most defensive backs, and too fast to be covered well by most linebackers. These are the types of players that teams covet for jump ball situations.
They have the ability to be difference makers in the offense and can line up on the edge, in the slot, or as a tight end if the situation calls for it.
Ideal Ht: 6’4”-6’6”
Ideal Wt: 195 lbs.-220 lbs.
Ideal Forty: 4.50 sec.-4.57 sec.
Marcus Lucas (Liberty, MO)—6’5”, 195 lbs.
Matt Milton (Mascoutah, IL)—6’6” 192 lbs., 4.57 forty
Kyle Prater (Hillside, IL)—6’5”, 192 lbs., 4.56 forty
Dexter Ranson (Brenham, TX)—6’4”, 217 lbs., 4.55 forty JuCo
Nate Askew (San Antonio, TX)—6’4”, 213 lbs., 4.56 forty
Darius Tubbs (Humble, TX)--6'4", 205 lbs., 4.55 forty
The Speed Demon
Prospects of this type are catagorized based on their speed. These are the types of receivers that are home run threats on every play. They can line up on the edge or in the slot.
They are dangerous in open space and can turn a 2 yard pass into a 10 yard gain quickly. They are hard to guard in man coverage and have plenty of space to work in a zone defense.
While being tall isn't a requirement of a speed demon, it certainly helps. Any time a speed mismatch is combined with a size mismatch, good things are bound to happen in the passing game. The speed also improves down field blocking for the running game.
Ideal HT: 5'11"-6'3"
Ideal WT: 180 lbs.-200 lbs.
Ideal Forty: Less than 4.5 sec.
Offered Speed Demons
Julian Wilson (Moore, OK)—6’3”, 180 lbs., 4.48 forty
Kevin Johnson (Houston, TX)—6’2”, 190 lbs., 4.4 forty
Jimmy Hunt (Cahokia, IL)—6’1”, 195 lbs., 4.45 forty
Jazz King (Duncan, SC)—5’11”, 180 lbs., 4.45 forty
Kenny Shaw (Orlando, FL)—6’0”, 160 lbs. 4.5 forty
Andrew White (Galena Park, TX)—6’0”, 170 lbs., 4.4 forty
Kyle Guinyard (Ennis, TX)—6’1”, 180 lbs., 4.5 forty
The Utility Man
Utility men are often referred to as possession receivers or role players. This definition isn't quite right because these are the types of receivers that really make or break a team. They have good hands, run crisp routes, and block well. They are the do-anything receivers. Seldom do they create physical mismatches, but they provide the quality depth on the field that forces opposing defenses to cover every receiver. While they may only get 10 yards on a 9 yard pass, the important thing to remember is that they are able to consistently make that catch. Utility men oil that keeps the offense going in tough situations.
Ideal HT: 5'11"-6'3"
Ideal WT: 170 lbs.-200 lbs.
Ideal Forty: 4.50 sec.-4.60 sec.
Committed Utility Men
Ricki Herod Jr. (Mesquite, TX)—6’2.5”, 175 lbs.
Offered Utility Men
Joshua Ford (Washington DC)—6'3", 195 lbs., 4.6 forty
Chris Hawkins (Channelview, TX)—6’2” 175 lbs.
Bud Sasser (Denton, TX)—6’2” 185 lbs.
Jimmy Hall (Sylvania, OH)—6’1” 185 lbs.
Jordan Jolly (Missouri City, TX)—6’1”, 170 lbs., 4.6 forty
Torian Richardson (Duncan, SC)—5’10”, 170 lbs., 4.6 forty
Kadron Boone (Oscala, FL)—6'1", 190 lbs., 4.6 forty
Martize Barr (Washington DC)—5'11", 182 lbs., 4.59 forty
The amount of upperclassmen on the roster in 2010 puts the coaching staff into a position of luxury for the Class of 2010. KU doesn't need to fill a specific role on the field immediately. This gives the Jayhawks the ability to be selective with their prospects.
The one variable that can throw a wrench into KU's luxury is Dez Briscoe. The talented wide receiver's decision on the NFL following his junior year may force KU to adjust their recruiting strategy. If Briscoe bolts for the NFL, Kansas may try to pick up a taller JuCo receiver to fill his shoes in the short term.
Much like lineman, KU tries to pick up 3-4 receivers annually. Even if Briscoe bolts for the NFL, it shouldn't have a massive impact on Kansas' recruiting strategy in the future.
While there is no immediate need, per se, expect to see KU make a push for taller and/or faster wide receivers. That is the trend in college football currently, and recruiting decisions made today will have an impact on on field performance tomorrow.
Right now, it looks as if KU will make a push to sign at least one Giant, two Speed Demons, and one Utility Man. The position change of A.J. Seward from tight end to wide receiver, combined with incoming freshman Erick McGriff and Chris Omigie may allow KU to sign another Speed Demon instead of an additional Giant. The success of any of those three players in 2009 may have an impact on that decision for 2010.
Expected 2010 Wide Receiver Roster
Chris Omigie (rFr./So.) (Giant)
Bradley McDougald (rFr./So.) (Speed Demon)
Erick McGriff (rFr./So.) (Giant)
Isaiah Barfield (Jr.) (Utility Man)
Willie O'Quinn (Jr.) (Utility Man)
A.J. Seward (Jr.) (Giant)
Dez Briscoe (Sr.) (Utility Man)
Matt Bouwie (Sr.) (Utility Man)
Rod Harris Jr. (Sr.) (Utility Man)
Tertavian Ingram (Sr.) (Speed Demon)
Jonathan Wilson (Sr.) (Utility Man)