Power Ranking Top Big 12 WRs Pre-2014 Spring Practice
The pre-spring power rankings roll on. This time, it's all about the best pass-catchers in the Big 12.
Despite the general inexperience at quarterback last season, three receivers topped 1,200 yards. Even though that was the lowest number of 1,000-yard receivers in the Big 12 since 2006, two of them are coming back in 2014.
No matter the turnover, finding a good wide receiver in the Big 12 is rarely an issue—unless you're Kansas.
Who are the top five wide receivers in the Big 12 heading into spring practice? The answers, as always, are in the following slides.
Levi Norwood, Baylor
Another one of the Bears' potent receivers, the former Penn State signee plays with great toughness. He finished third on the team with 47 receptions and tied for second with eight touchdowns.
Jaxon Shipley, Texas
Shipley only had one receiving touchdown, but he finished second on the team with 56 receptions for 589 yards. He was quarterback Case McCoy's favorite target on third and fourth downs.
Kevin White, West Virginia
The Mountaineers didn't have a vertical passing game so much as a series of Hail Mary passes. Still, White came down with his fair share of floaters. The JUCO transfer hauled in 35 catches for 507 yards and five touchdowns.
5. Sterling Shepard
Oklahoma's best receiver last season was senior Jalen Saunders, but Sterling Shepard showed the future is still bright at that position.
The sophomore finished second on the team with 51 receptions for 603 yards and seven touchdowns. He eclipsed 100 yards twice and tied for first on the team in receptions (seven) in the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
Next year, he'll be the veteran as a new group of young wideouts take the field.
If Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight continues to develop as a passer, Shepard has the potential to be one of the breakout stars in the Big 12.
4. Jakeem Grant
School: Texas Tech
Like Shepard, Jakeem Grant wasn't the No. 1 receiver on his team. Rather, he was overshadowed by tight end Jace Amaro and receiver Eric Ward.
That should change dramatically next season.
He tied for second on the team with seven touchdowns to go along with 65 receptions and 796 receiving yards. He also dabbled in running the ball.
At 5'6" and 160 pounds, he isn't a traditional go-to wideout, but he's electrifying in the open field. Thankfully, head coach Kliff Kingsbury is creative enough to figure out ways to get Grant the ball.
That versatility gives Grant a slight edge over Shepard and up to No. 4 on the power rankings list.
3. Quenton Bundrage
School: Iowa State
The Cyclones lacked a consistent passing game, but sophomore receiver Quenton Bundrage emerged as one of the conference's best wideouts nonetheless.
He finished third in the Big 12 in touchdown catches (nine) and led his team in receptions (48) and receiving yards (676). Listed at 6'2", he has the size to be a top big-play wideout. He has excellent hands and can make some ridiculous catches.
Now that Iowa State appears to have found a consistent quarterback with Grant Rohach, Bundrage could be in for an even bigger season in 2014.
Though Bundrage's numbers weren't the most eye-popping in 2013, his potential to be one of the best No. 1 receivers in the conference puts him at No. 3.
2. Antwan Goodley
Baylor's Antwan Goodley simply torched Big 12 defenses in 2013.
As a junior, he finished first in the conference among wideouts (excluding Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro) with 1,339 receiving yards. He finished first on the team with 71 receptions and 13 touchdowns as well.
In all, the first-team All-Big 12 selection topped the 100-yard receiving mark eight times last year.
The most exciting part about his game is his ability to hit that extra gear. At 5'10" and 220 pounds, Goodley is built more like a bruising running back, but there were several instances where he'd catch a ball in traffic and turn on the jets.
The question is whether he can be the Bears' deep threat. He assumed that role when Tevin Reese was sidelined with a wrist injury, but the vertical passing game wasn't quite the same. For that, Goodley doesn't quite make the No. 1 spot on the power rankings list.
But it was close. So, so close.
1. Tyler Lockett
School: Kansas State
There was no better wide receiver in the Big 12 last year than Kansas State's Tyler Lockett. The senior-to-be has a chance to be the best pass-catcher in the conference again this season.
On a run-first team, he led the Big 12 in yards per game (105) and was second in touchdown catches (11). He led the Wildcats with 81 receptions and 1,262 yards. Not once, but twice did he eclipse the 200-yard receiving mark.
Almost literally, there were contests where Lockett was Kansas State's passing game.
He's an excellent route-runner who always competes for the ball. In short, he's the most complete receiver in the conference. That's why he's No. 1.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All stats courtesy of CFBSstats.com.
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