Wide Receiver has been a tricky position to preview for Texas A&M under Jimbo Fisher because it seems like no matter how talented the roster is (or isn't), the overly complex offensive scheme basically means no one is going to have a breakout year.
But with Bobby Petrino coming in, and touting the mantra of “feed the studs”, maybe there’s room for optimism on the coaching side...because this roster of WRs is incredibly talented and is capable of being a top-tier SEC group by the end of the year.
WHO DID WE LOSE
Former 5-star Chris Marshall was the most notable transfer loss (went to Ole Miss, no longer on the Rebel roster). Beyond that A&M lost a good amount of experience in Chase Lane (Georgia Tech), Yulkieth Brown (Tulane), and Jalen Preston (not on the roster).
WHO DO WE BRING BACK
Moose Muhammad: Moose had a breakout season last year, racking up 38 catches for 610 yards, including a number of one-handed grabs that left us all giddy for more. A PFF 2nd team All-SEC player, Moose is poised for a good year.
Evan Stewart: 5-star player. 5-star personality. 2022 freshman all-American from every single writer/outlet. 53 receptions for 649 yards (these numbers might seem paltry but consider the offense they were playing in and who was throwing them the ball for a large portion of the season). When we talk feed the studs, we’re talking about Evan.
Ainias Smith: What needs to be said about this guy? After going down with a season-ending injury in a win against Arkansas, Ainias has rehabbed and is back. We’ll see him both in the backfield and out at WR. A leader both on and off the field, Ainias being back means that this young roster has someone to emulate.
Noah Thomas: The single most intriguing guy on this roster Played in 11 games, and made 4 starts...but has had a tremendous offseason earning him the top offensive newcomer, and rave reviews from coaches and pundits alike. A former 4-star player out of League City, Thomas gives us length on the outside that we haven't had in a while.
OTHER NAMES TO KNOW
A&M added a few key players this offseason, which was tough given the returning starters and Smith coming back. But transfer guys like Jahdae Walker, Jordan Anthony (who is a burner), Micah Tease, and Raymond Cottrell add some much-needed depth to the roster.
Overall Grade: A
Again, this is hard to grade given that, in the past, Jimbo’s offense has had the tendency to make talented WRs disappear...but if we are to believe that this is Petrino’s offense, and Petrino is inclined to feed the studs...then I think we have an excellent shot at making this roster meet its full potential. Plus yall saw what Evan and Moose did last year, and you remember what Ainias did the year before and the year before that (and the year before that)...toss in a guy like Noah Thomas, and I feel good about giving this group an A.