Kansas has been in a position of strength at receiver for the better part of three seasons. Now with the last remnants of any of the 2007 receiving corps gone, Kansas prepares to rebuild. The good news, they appear well positions to reload.
Kansas has host of opportunities at the wideout position and while none may be in the superstar mold just yet, the group provides a variety of weapons and a variety of ways they can hurt you. Furthermore, the lack of any perceived superstar also means that the person who is open, should get the ball. Like it or not, 2009 was about two players, two very good ones, but two that opponents could prepare for.
Entering 2010. Who do you prepare for?
Projected Depth Chart
WR1: Johnathan Wilson, Christian Matthews, Erick McGriff
WR2: Bradley McDougald, Chris Omigie, Rod Harris
WR3: Daymond Patterson, DJ Beshears
Wilson enters his final year of eligibility and for the first time he has the opportunity to step out from behind the rather large shadows of Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier and into his own as a major contributor.
Wilson showed a good amount of potential in his first two seasons with the Jayhawks, but took a perceived step back last year even seeing a brief move to the bench after a bad case of the drops. All reports out of camp are very positive surrounding Wilson so hopefully 2010 can see him step up into a leadership role and lead the receiving corps.
McDougald is a player that was probably under utilized in 2009. A true freshman starter, but struggled to see very many balls thrown his way due to a crowded lineup. He's a smooth runner, a player that can make a big play and with more opportunities he has a chance to develop nicely with the new staff.
We've all seen what Patterson can do, unfortunately he was moved from offense to defense for a season and a half. Turner Gill's love of speed and Patterson providing it, have made for a very solid camp. Patterson will likely see plenty of balls thrown his way, and the offense will make every effort to get the ball into his hands and the hands of players like him who can make a play in space.
A quarterback turned receiver, we've seen this movie before and it ended well. Matthews has been drawing praise from the new staff since spring, over the summer and into the fall. It may still be a season before we see what all the excitement is about, but Matthews certainly has the early signs of a major contributor for Kansas before it's all said and done.
As a true freshman, Omigie was constantly flirting with playing time. There were several weeks where the Kansas staff all but said Omigie's redshirt would be pulled. The good news is, they never did. He's long, athletic, decent speed and will provide solid depth in 2010.
Beshears is the backup that has the chance to make the biggest impact. He's basically another Daymond Patterson. Look for Beshears to get the ball in the backfield, on a bubble screen or anywhere that he can use his speed to make a play. Whether it's Beshears or Patterson, these are two players that Kansas fans are going to like seeing back on the offensive side of the ball.
The Crime Dog Jr. is another redshirt freshman with very good size, he's solidly built and he's flown largely under the radar because of the positions depth. If needed, he can certainly play and he's another that makes this position one of the deepest for the Jayhawks.
Rod Harris Jr.
Harris was a very well thought of recruit coming to Kansas from junior college with three years to play. A variety of injuries have kept him from seeing the field and at this point he might be known more for his rapping abilities on "The Gridiron" than his playmaking skills on the field.
A healthy Harris in 2010 provides added depth, and an opportunity for a player to benefit from a fresh start.
Reece Petty/Willie O'Quinn and Patrick Schilling
The walk on trio actually represents some fairly capable players. Petty was awarded a scholarship in his senior year and while none of the three are likely to make major impact, they do provide quality special teams players and if needed, they could do the job.
Ricki Herod/Brian Maura/Andrew Turzilli
Not surprising that we aren't seeing any of the three on the depth chart and it's not a bad thing either. A redshirt year could be in the cards for all three, unless injury or special teams duty brings one of them into play.
Looking Beyond 2010
This is a position that is fairly secure for awhile. Kansas loses only Wilson and Petty after this season. They bring in another slot type player in JaCorey Shepard, but for the most part the candidates will remain virtually the same.
Competition should be stiff for 2011 and that's a good thing for everyone involved.