His receiving crops will be improved
Considering that the 2015 Texas Tech football team featured the team’s all-time leading receiver in Jakeem Grant, it seems odd to say that the 2016 team will have much better receivers. Yet that is likely to be the case.
Aside from Grant, Texas Tech lacked a consistent receiving threat. As a result, Mahomes often struggled if Grant was covered or not on his game. For proof, look at the West Virginia game where Mahomes passed for only 196 yards (Grant had just five catches for eight yards) and the LSU game where Mahomes’ passer rating was his second lowest of the year at 125.5 as Texas Tech was unable to find playmakers other than Grant.
Last season, Texas Tech started Reginald Davis and Devin Lauderdale at wide receiver, neither of which are over six-feet-tall and both of which were inconsistent from game to game. This year, expect to see JUCO transfer Derrick Willies and junior Dylan Cantrell (who missed all of 2015 with a back injury), both of whom are over 6-foot-3 at wide receiver.
Davis will still be on the team but he will not be counted on as a go-to option like last season. Lauderdale currently is not on the team for unspecified reasons (he was suspended from the team prior to the Texas Bowl) but he is likely to return.
Also, the inside receivers could be more lethal as a group than last year despite the loss of Grant. That is due to balance
2015 sophomore inside receiver Ian Sadler was expected to have a breakout season last year but he missed three games with an injury. A healthy Ian Sadler gives Pat Mahomes an amazing security blanket across the middle that is a mismatch for most defenders.
Then, there is the possibility that the explosive Lauderdale will be moved to inside receiver to replace Grant. The coaching staff has hinted at this move but nothing official has been announced due to his absence from the team this spring.
Finally, there will be waves of young talent for Mahomes to throw to next year. He will have the benefit of having underclassmen like Donta Thompson, Tony Brown, Keke Coutee, T.J. Vasher and Cameron Batson as players expected to be in the running for playing time next year.
Mahomes will have a much more diverse group of players to throw to next season making his job easier and his statistics even better. Should an injury occur to a receiver, the team will be in a much better place when it comes to replacing that player.
Next: Texas Tech's suspect defense