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Position Group Breakdown: Wide Receiver

Wideout is the one Wildcat unit loaded with new faces. What can we expect?

Kansas State v Baylor Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images



Keagan Johnson - #1- R-So. - 6’0”, 195

Last season Malik Knowles did his best #1 receiver impression, but always felt a bit miscast. Don’t get me wrong, he was a solid receiver with clear physical ability, but he never felt like “the man”. Enter Keagan Johnson, an Iowa refugee in search of a Brian Ferentz free existence. The former 4* receiver in the 2021 class has the potential to be “the man” for Kansas State. He’s not the most physically intimidating receiver but is a smooth athlete capable of getting open. He reminds me of former Purdue (and now Browns) receiver David Bell. His testing numbers won’t blow you away, but his production might. The ‘Cats need him to be good for the offense to live up to its potential, and if you’ve listened to any of the coach interviews this off-season, it sounds like he’s been real good in camp.


RJ Garcia II - #3 - R-So. 6’0”

Garcia has bided his time, worked on his craft, and is ready to show the college football world the fruits of his labor. He wasn’t on the field much last season despite appearing in every game. Sometimes its quality over quantity though. Despite his meager catch total, his 2 catches for 27 yards and a touchdown was crucial in the ‘Cats Big 12 Championship game win. Now he moves from an ancillary piece to a key contributor. Look for Coach Klein to utilize the explosive receiver out of Tampa in the same way he used Malik last year. He’s not as physical, but could be a little faster and more elusive.


Phillip Brooks - #8 - 6th Year Senior - 5’8”, 170

Getting Brooks back for a 6th year was one of the biggest recruiting wins for the coaching staff. He’s Will Howard’s security blanket. Brooks is adept at finding holes in zone coverage, and is a killer on option routes against man coverage over the middle. It would not shock me if he led the team in receptions, because somehow, he’s always open. He’s the old hand in an otherwise young and untested receiver group.

Oh, and he’s one of the best return men in the nation as well... can’t forget about that.

The Field

Normally I provide a predicted 2 deep, but I’m going to be honest, your guess is as good as mine. With a few exceptions this is a young, untested group. Ideally someone separates and becomes the clear 4th option, but from everything I’ve seen, that hasn’t happened yet. It may come down to what type of receiver is needed on the field.

Erwin Nash - #88 - R-Fr. - 6’3, 215

Nash is a big, physical target on the outside. It looks like the ‘Cats have something in the walk-on from Olathe South. He’s in the mix at the boundary spot and could be a nice redzone or jump ball target.

Xavier Loyd - #13 - R-So. - 6’2”, 191

Another walk-on looking like a steal for K-State, this time out of Blue Springs (Missouri). Loyd can play either outside receiver spot and even showed up on the depth chart last season (although he only played in 2 games). Don’t be surprised to see him in the mix with the second unit.

Jadon Jackson - #0 - Sr. - 6’1”, 190

For my money, he’s the wild card. The Ole Miss transfer is reported as one of the fastest players on the team. He’s also been on the field more than everyone else in this group, despite limited playing time last season. He finished strong, pulling down his only 2 receptions of the season against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. If you’re looking for a potential big play receiver out of this group, Jackson might be your man.

Sterling Lockett - #6 - R-Fr. - 5’10”, 165

I know the name is intriguing, but the diminutive slot receiver may need another year of seasoning before he’s ready for the field. He need look no further for inspiration than Phillip Brooks, who thrives despite or perhaps because of his small frame. If I know the Lockett clan, Sterling will end up being a technician by the end of his career, but patience will be a virtue.

Ty Bowman - #80 - R-Jr. - 6’5”, 225

Special teams is where Bowman makes his mark, but the former high school quarterback is another intriguing option on the outside at 6’5”. He’s not a burner, but he’s a tough, physical guy on the outside who is the best blocker out of this group. That could earn him some playing time when he’s not helping cover, block, or return kicks.

Tyson Struber - #14 - R-Fr. - 6’2”, 210

Like Lockett, if he sticks with the program, he’ll eventually find playing time, but maybe not this sesaon. The 8 man football legend out of Galva, Kansas is a plus athlete with the perfect physique for an outside receiver. He feels like a player that will make his mark on special teams first before showing what he can do at receiver.

Seth Porter - #16 - Sr. - 5’8”, 170

Porter is going to play this season. He played in all 14 games last season as a reserve. Like Bowman, the former walk-on makes his bones on special teams, but could be looking for more in his final stanza in Manhattan. He’s the logical choice to back-up Brooks in the slot.

The Freshmen

Andre Davis - #23 - Fr. - 6’4”, 205

It’s clear Coach Klieman, Klein, and Middleton wanted to get bigger on the outside. Davis has all the makings of an impact boundary receiver. I don’t anticipate him playing this season, but if the Stillwell, Kansas native develops his receiving skills and overall knowledge of the game this season, he has all the physical traits necessary to eventually excel in Manhattan.

Tre Spivey - #12 - Fr. - 6’4”, 203

Speaking of getting bigger, Spivey, like Davis, step onto campus looking like NFL receivers. For my money (and based on what I’ve heard in interviews) if any freshman receiver makes a move in the depth chart, it’s going to be Spivey. The former 3 sport athlete out of Chandler, Arizona certainly looks the part. He’s still raw, but it’s going to be mighty tempting to put him on the field, tell him to run as fast as he can in a straight line, and see if he can out jump a corner on a deep ball. He has the highest pro-upside of any receiver recruited in the Klieman era, and it’s not particularly close.

Jayce Brown - #1 - Fr. 5’11”, 175

Brooks will be gone next season, and Brown will be in the mix to grab playing time in the slot. He’s quick with nice acceleration. His film reminds me of good Josh Youngblood, but more refined as a receiver. He’ll get a year to further hone his craft, but could be a player that flashes later on in the season.

Wesley Watson - #85 - Fr. - 6’1”, 195

Young Mr. Watson is intimately familiar with college football. Hailing from College Station, Texas, he grew up in the shadow of Kyle Field. In fact, his father still works at A&M as the Director of Equipment and Apparel. He’s another guy you should file in the back of your brain for later. He’s not fully cooked yet, but give him a year of eating, lifting and learning and check back next season.


When Coach Klieman took over, wide receiver was one of the more neglected positions on the roster. It’s taken a few seasons, but the talent is improving and the depth is exponentially better. Last season, the big 3 of Knowles, Brooks, and Warner ate up the vast majority of snaps, and subsequently, receptions. I expect the wealth to be spread more, both in terms of snaps and receptions, this season. I see a big 2 of Johnson and Brooks followed by an entire pack of talented, hungry guys that each bring something different to the table.

This position still isn’t where it needs to be, but it has come a long way from where it was, and has the potential to be a strength in the near future.