The Air Raid offensive system is one that incorporates four and five wide receiver sets for the majority of the game. The wide receivers will be asked to stretch the field, run quick and accurate routes, and be on the same page with the quarterback at all times. These traits are perhaps the most important in such a quick offense that relies on fast reads and throws.
H Wide Receiver: #20 Deante’ Gray, #15 Cameron Echols-Luper
Junior Deante’ Gray has split time between receiver, cornerback and punt returner in the past. He is still looking to make an impact on the offensive side of the ball, but his shiftiness, quickness and vision will be great in the screen and short passing game.
Sophomore Echols-Luper gave everyone a scare when he exited the Samford game and was seen with crutches on the sideline. The injury wasn’t as serious as originally feared and he has returned to practice. Another young player with exceptional speed, he was ranked the 10th fastest player in college football by NFL.com. Echols-Luper, alongside Gray, will look to turn short catches into big gains.
Y Wide Receiver: #13 Ty Slanina, #14 David Porter
Sophomore receiver Slanina played as a true freshman last year and tallied 19 receptions. He’s looking to build on his experience and become a reliable target on the inside. Slanina showed his big play ability against Samford with a 24-yard reception that would’ve been a touchdown had he not dropped the ball. He’s getting more targets, and those culminated in a career-high six receptions in just the first game of 2014.
Porter, a senior, was primed to take the starting spot heading into 2014. He was gaining momentum at the end of 2013 and had a team-high of five touchdowns. After entering fall camp as the No. 1 Y, he lost his starting job to Slanina. Porter started off the year well with a touchdown catch, and with the up-tempo offense he should get plenty of reps.
X Position: #7 Kolby Listenbee, #81 Ja’Juan Story
The biggest receiver for the Horned Frogs is the junior Ja’Juan Story. His size will definitely help in the red zone and on fade routes. Story was in a really tight competition with Listenbee for the starting spot, but speed beat size for 2014.
Z Position: #9 Josh Doctson, #4 Jordan Moore
Another big-bodied receiver, Josh Doctson, was one of the few bright spots at the position for the Frogs in 2013. Doctson tied for the team lead in receptions in 2013 with 36, had a team-high 440 yards, and four touchdowns. The Wyoming transfer brought maturity and stability to a receiving corps that had its fair share of issues last year.
Moore, a junior, is a converted tailback. He’ll be looking to make an impact at a new position this year and he’s facing an uphill climb.
The Breakout Star
Outside X Position: #7 Kolby Listenbee
The junior was ranked as the second fastest player in college football by NFL.com. Listenbee is slated to be one of the best big play threats in the Big 12 this year. His well-documented speed was on display in Week 1 against Samford, and his hands seem reliable. Matt Joeckel even looked to Listenbee in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Look for a big year from the speedster as he stretches the field for the Frogs.
This unit will be getting more balls thrown their way this year than in years past. The Air Raid will revolutionize the type of production from the various receiver positions and they will put on a show. The Frogs have a good mix of size, speed and run after the catch ability, so this offense should be able to hang with the best of the Big 12. I expect the catches to be evenly distributed among the receivers this year. The unit will be strong, but we will have to see if one star emerges from the pack in 2014.