Probably the second most pressing issue for Texas Tech’s offense, following closely behind and related to the QB situation, is the lack of proven production at wide receiver.
T.J. Vasher had a breakout season a year ago as he caught 29 passes for 545 yards and 6 touchdowns. While those numbers might seem a little pedestrian, remember he emerged among a talented group of receivers that included Keke Coutee, Dylan Cantrell and Cameron Batson.
Now Vasher is the sole returning member of that foursome and he’s the only current Red Raider receiver who had more than 10 receptions in 2017 (running back Tre King had 17).
It’s the double-edged sword of Texas Tech’s spread offense. Fantastic pass-catchers emerge, shine for too short a time and then go on, more often than not to the NFL. In the past few seasons, players like Coutee fill the hole left by Jakeem Grant, who filled the hole left by Jace Amaro and Eric Ward, who filled the hole left by Detron Lewis and Lyle Leong, all the way back to the likes of Michael Crabtree and Wes Welker.
So here are the top 5 candidates to join Vasher as favorite targets for QB (insert name of preferred Red Raider QB candidate here):
- Ja’Deion High has shown flashes of being an excellent WR throughout his career, along with being a special teams star and one of the program’s best all-around football players. But he has just 21 catches in 25 career games. It seems like the whole Texas Tech program is rooting for him to be a 50-catch type of guy.
- Erik Ezukanma is probably the most likely of the Red Raiders’ 2018 recruiting class to make an immediate impact. It’s been a while since a true freshman stepped on the field and made plays, but the opportunity is right for the Keller Timber Creek product. The Texas Tech Football Twitter feed posted a clip of Ezukanma making a catch in practice earlier this week and it looks really good.
- Myller Royals just has one of those names that makes it easy to imagine him becoming a star wideout. He’s another freshman, but he enrolled at Tech in January and went through spring drills, when he made some plays. At 6-foot-5, he’s got a promising frame to go along with his promising name.
- Seth Collins transferred to Texas Tech from Oregon State and will be immediately eligible to play. He caught 36 passes for 418 yards and a TD for the Beavers in 2016, then missed most of last season with an off-the-field issue. Collins could be the ideal candidate to be the possession receiver picking up the slack left by Cantrell and Batson.
- De’Quan Bowman appears to have the best skill set to step into the role defined by Grant and Coutee the last several years. The last time he had a steady role, he caught 50 balls for 770 yards and 5 TDs at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, earning JUCO All-American honorable mention.