While there have been some bright spots, TCU’s wide receiver play has been up-and-down throughout the 2019 season.
Leading the team with 15 catches, junior Jalen Reagor’s 186 receiving yards are second to only sophomore Te’Vailance Hunt, and his three touchdowns through the air are tied with redshirt sophomore tight end Pro Wells for the team lead.
Ranking 25th in America, the Horned Frogs are scoring 37.2 points per game. Still, there are many who would like to see the offense pick up the pace and tempo even more.
Outside of Reagor, head coach Gary Patterson doesn’t believe his team has the horsepower to run an offense like they did in 2014 right now.
“We’re not even close to where we were in 2014 or ‘15,” Patterson said during the Big 12 coaches’ teleconference on Monday.
“It doesn’t have to do with just Max (Duggan). We have a bunch of redshirt freshmen wide receivers. The bottom line is, we’re going to keep getting better every week.”
As Patterson stated, TCU is relying on a lot of young pass catchers to make contributions this season. The results aren’t necessarily great, but this is a look at how the 2018-19 wide receivers commits have developed so far.
Just one of the Horned Frogs’ commits from two years ago has made an impact in the receiving game, the aforementioned Te’Vailance Hunt.
Recording just four receptions as a freshman, Hunt has already caught 11 passes this season and is averaging 19.1 yards per catch, fifth in the Big 12.
Yet to find the end zone at the collegiate level, Hunt’s most recent performance - a four-catch, 78-yard showing in the loss to Iowa State on October 5 - was the best of his brief career.
Showing plenty of upside at 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, Hunt could be one of TCU’s best in recent memory out wide.
The other two wideouts the Horned Frogs signed in the 2018 class, Bryson Jackson and Chase Van Wagoner, have since transferred.
A two-sport star, Jackson originally also planned to play for the school’s baseball team. After not appearing in a game for either sport during his freshman year, Jackson transferred to Houston.
Sitting out the 2019 season in accordance with NCAA transfer regulations, Jackson is not currently on the Cougars’ baseball roster.
Van Wagoner is playing this season for Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. One of the country’s premier football junior colleges, the former Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas) standout will look to return to the Power Five scene in 2020.
We are now beginning to see our 2019 signees in action, too. Making his debut in the victory over Kansas on September 28, Blair Conwright caught three footballs for 25 yards (8.3 AVG). With redshirt junior Dylan Thomas out for the season following leg surgery, he could be a candidate for an extended audition.
Scoring 25 touchdowns and catching 105 passes in his senior year at Coronado High School (Lubbock, Texas), Conwright figures to profile as a shifty threat out of the slot moving forward.
Expected to make his first TCU appearance on Saturday vs. Kansas State, fans will finally get a look at Mikel Barkley.
A JUCO product, Barkley played for the Palomar College Comets in San Marcos, California in 2018. Possessing 4.4 forty-yard dash speed, the hope is he will be able to add another field-stretching element to this pass offense.
The Horned Frogs also hold verbal commitments from a trio of three-star receivers in the 2020 class. Hailing from the well-known Blinn College (Brenham, Texas), Danny Gray is the highest-rated of the group.
Henderson’s Caleb Medford and Blake Nowell, an Oklahoma recruit, are the other two commits in this year’s cycle.
Nowell, especially, is a player to be excited about. At 6-foot-4, 180-pounds, he has nice size and a good catch radius. An Oklahoma high school state champion in the 400-meter, he owns deceptive speed, too.
Reeling from their 25-point shellacking at the hands of the Cyclones (4-2), TCU is looking to get back in the win column on Saturday vs. Kansas State (3-2) at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan (1:30PM CT, FSN).