For a conference being touted this season for its explosive offenses and quarterbacking, doesn't it seem like the Big XII is lacking quality receivers?
There's Michael Crabtree at Texas Tech. I guess Maclin counts as a receiver, although he seems to fit that Percy Harvin mold of being an athletic "all-purpose" guy.
Who's next? After that, I'd say you'd have to put Juaquin Iglesias in the third slot, but it's a pretty uninspiring choice. Like most of the other options out there, Iglesias strikes me as a solid receiver who's not elite, but he's not bad either. I guess this would make him "good."
Then again, to his credit, Iglesias has shown marked improvement in every season since 2005. He ended up outshining celebrated teammate Malcom Kelly last year, leading the team with 68 catches and 900 yards. Throw in five TDs and 13 yards per catch, and it's a pretty nice little season.
However, Iglesias' 2007 campaign still seemed so unspectacular. Why? He rolled up 400 yards in early games against North Texas, Utah State and Tulsa--not exactly world-beaters. Following a 99-yard performance in the Red River Shootout, Iglesias put up relatively pedestrian numbers for the remainder of the season, which constituted the meat of the Big XII slate. So it's a bit of a stretch to say that Iglesias is headed for true stardom this year.
Iglesias will be joined on the outside by Tulsa's own Quentin Chaney. At 6'5", the senior Chaney has shown tantalizing potential and one major flash of brilliance in last season's Fiesta Bowl. The former Booker T. Washington Hornet was brilliant filling in for Kelly, catching four balls for 130 yards and a TD. It's ironic that Chaney was pretty much the only Sooner to show up for a BCS game after an allegedly disinterested career up to that point. Hopefully whatever it was that got Chaney going in Glendale will continue this season. Assuming it's legal.
Veteran Manuel Johnson will line up inside at the slot receiver spot. Much like Iglesias, Johnson has proven to be a dependable presence at receiver. Although he hasn't shown a knack for the spectacular, he makes the catches he should make. That's a compliment.
The most exciting new talent among the WR corps has to be redshirt freshman Ryan Broyles. Broyles probaby would have been in the mix last year had it not have been for a gas-stealing fiasco right before the season started. Since the spring, coaches and players have raved about Broyles' catch-and-run potential out of the slot. Getting Broyles out on the field should give OU some electricity that his other compatriots lack.
For Homerism's money, the best tight end in the country can be found in Norman. Junior Jermaine Gresham was a flat-out beast in the red zone last year, snagging 11 touchdowns. Gresham's combination of size and speed enable offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson to line him up tight or split him out wide. It will be interesting to see if Gresham will called upon more when OU's not inside the opponent's 20. Sooner fans should enjoy what I think will be Gresham's last year in school. Wilson should take advantage of it, too.