Evaluating the Texas A&M Aggies’ Wide Receivers
Obviously, quarterback Johnny Manziel had a lot to do with the Aggies’ offensive prowess, but there were other key contributors as well. Manziel had to throw to someone, and the guys catching his passes were quite talented.
Two of those talented pass-catchers have departed for the NFL draft: Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu. The two combined for 98 catches and 1,398 yards in 2012; roughly a third of A&M’s passing offense.
These two players will be missed for their play, and more importantly their leadership. Swope and Nwachukwu were seniors on a very young receiving corps that will be without a senior leader in 2013.
This youthful bunch of receivers includes two sophomores with tons of potential. One of these sophomores, Mike Evans, led the team in receptions and receiving yards as a freshman last season, catching 82 balls for 1,105 yards. The other, Thomas Johnson, hauled in 30 passes for 339 yards.
These kids have great upside and one of the best quarterbacks in the country throwing the ball to them, making me believe that the Aggies’ receiving corps will be just fine in 2013.
A&M must put a special emphasis on the red zone. At 6-foot-5, 218 pounds, Evans will surely be the Aggies’ number one target in the end zone. But when he gets doubled, who will Manziel turn to? Johnson isn’t a bad option, but at 5-foot-11, he’s significantly smaller and only had one TD catch last season. I think that 6-foot-1, 200 pound Malcome Kennedy will step into the role of secondary red zone target and thrive. The junior found pay dirt twice last year, and should easily double that total this season.
From here, the chemistry and timing between these receivers and Manziel can only get better, making for a potentially dangerous offense once again in 2013.
Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny