College Station — Six different quarterbacks have started a game for the Aggies since the 2013 season, kickstarting conversation over reasoning behind the consistent rotation.
The player launching the pigskin may have changed, but one thing remaining the same is the talent catching the pass. The Aggies have a wide receiver corps that can compete against any unit in the nation, loaded with both talent and depth for the upcoming season.
Christian Kirk affects the game not only on offense, but as a returner on special teams, as well. A&M also claims two towering receivers in 6-foot-5 Ricky Seals-Jones and 6-foot-4 senior Josh Reynolds. And after a sophomore campaign that forced him to deal with injury and adversity, Speedy Noil will look to turn it around after serving his suspension against UCLA in the 2016 season opener on Sept. 3. All four players are considered to be NFL-caliber talents.
It doesn’t stop there. The Aggies landed two four-star signees this February in Quartney Davis and Clyde Chriss. Additionally, A&M returns backups Jeremy Tabuyo and Boone Niederhofer, who should help fill out the depth chart for coach Kevin Sumlin‘s high-octane offense.
Here’s how the Maroon and White’s receiving threats stack up against the rest of the NCAA.
Around the SEC
From a depth standpoint, it’s hard to argue that the Aggies have anything less than the top wide receiving group in the SEC.
The biggest competition in their division comes from Alabama. Phenom Calvin Ridley caught 89 passes for 1,045 yards during his freshman campaign and found the end zone on seven different occasions. He crossed the 100-yard mark four times during the season, including a nine-catch, 140 yard performance against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Oct. 10.
Alabama has plenty of talent to surround Ridley on the outside. ArDarius Stewart and Robert Foster will draw some of the other attention, as will Bowling Green grad transfer Gehrig Dieter.
Staying in the West, the LSU Tigers should have plenty of talented wide receivers running free in 2016 thanks to the attention running back Leonard Fournette requires. The presence of No. 7 opens up the field for players like Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural to do what they do best.
In the SEC East, Kentucky will be strong at receiver thanks to talents like Dorian Baker and Garrett Johnson. Johnson compiled 694 yards across 2015 on 46 catches, while Baker took 55 receptions for 608 yards and three scores.
Against the nation
The USC Trojans loaded up over the offseason, recruiting four of the nation’s top-30 ranked receiver prospects and then throwing in country’s No. 10 tight end for good measure (Cary Angeline).
Back for his junior year is potential All-American JuJu Smith-Schuster. One of the top receivers in the country, Smith finished fourth in the nation with 1,454 receiving yards, catching 10 of his 89 receptions for touchdowns.
Clemson will have junior Artavis Scott leading the way at receiver, and he could have some help now that Mike Williams returns after taking a medical redshirt (broken bone in neck) last season.
Baylor will be a wild card this season, given the firing of coach Art Briles, but the talent is certainly there. The Bears do return KD Cannon, who compiled 868 receiving yards on just 50 receptions in 2015. Regardless of how efficient the offense is in Waco this season, Cannon is a top-tier talent that could earn a first-round NFL Draft selection with a strong junior campaign in 2016.
While some programs boast high-end talent toward the top of the depth chart, Southern Cal may be the only school that can compete with the Aggies at wide receiver. Smith-Schuster is an incredible player, but the Trojans do not possess the same level of depth that Sumlin’s squad can claim.
It’s easy to see, then, why Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight chose College Station as the destination for his final season of college ball. Top to bottom, the Aggies have the best wide receiver corps in all of college football.