The wide receivers are unproven
The good news for the Texas Tech football program is that there is a star wide receiver on the roster. This past fall, Erik Ezukanma was second in the Big 12 in receiving yards with 748 to go along with six TDs. The 6-foot-3 sophomore will enter this fall as one of the most dangerous weapons in the conference.
The bad news is that, around Ezukanma, Tech has some serious questions to answer. That’s thanks to a pair of offseason defections.
By seeing Kesean Carter and Ja’Lynn Polk enter the transfer portal, Tech has lost two of its top four receivers from this past season. Carter was second on the team in receiving yards per game and posted 290 yards in addition to four TDs while appearing in six games as an inside receiver. Meanwhile, Polk, a true freshman, was able to snag 264 yards-worth of passes while finding the endzone twice.
So Tech now needs to find new playmakers at WR. Fortunately, last year one started to emerge. As just a true freshman in 2020, Myles Price caught 28 passes for 300 yards and one score. He’s going to step into Carter’s vacated slot receiver position to be a sure-fire starter but the pressure on him to perform will be magnified.
However, Tech still has to find another slot receiver given that Cumbie likes to play two slot receivers at a time far more often than his predecessor David Yost did. Could that be an opportunity for senior McLane Mannix to re-establish himself as a contributor after appearing in only three games and catching no passes in 2020? Maybe a return to his 2019 form could be in store. That year, he caught 26 passes for 248 yards and three TDs in 12 games played.
The Red Raiders also need to find another outside receiver to replace Polk and T.J. Vasher, the latter of whom has chosen to test the NFL waters. That’s where Midland’s Loic Fouonji, a sophomore who caught only five passes for 69 yards last year as a true freshman could be a factor. Or perhaps 4-star signee Jerand Bradley could take over that position right away in his first year on campus.
But whatever happens, Tech will have to face 2021 with a ton of green receivers on the field. Thus, the development of these young players during spring practice is going to be of critical importance.