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July 25, 2012
Tech returns three starters in Darrin Moore, Alex Torres and Eric Ward who registered over 500 receiving yards a year ago.
"We're solid with our receivers," quarterback Seth Doege said. "We have some of the best receivers in the country. Eric Ward is coming back and is very explosive, but we also have Darrin Moore, Marcus Kennard and Javon Bell on the outside. They're all really talented and could be the No. 1 guy almost anywhere else. We have a bunch of guys on the outside that can really make plays.
"We also have two midgets that can really scat around. The list goes on forever and I can go on and on. As a quarterback, there's unlimited guys we can get the ball to."
Ward led the Red Raiders in all major receiving categories last season, including receptions (84), yards (800) and caught 11 of Doege's 28 touchdown passes.
The 6-foot, 203-pound receiver is respected for his physicality in the run game as well as his hands.
"I'm physical and the defense doesn't like that because they're used to pushing the offense around," Ward said. "The defense isn't used to getting hit the same way they hit you. On top of that, I have a great surge off the line and can catch the long ball.
"I feel like the best receivers have to do it all, including blocking. It's important to help your teammates out by sacrificing your body to end a defender's pursuit on the play. I want them to block for me and I'll always block for them."
[ More RRS: Depth is the biggest story at WR ]
Ward says he wants to break 1,000 receiving yards this season, but Moore might give him a run for his money.
Moore was on pace for a monster season -- he caught 21 passes for 339 yards and four scores in Tech's first two games -- but sustained a serious leg injury in the third game of the season and was never quite the same. Still, Moore finished 2011 with 571 receiving yards, which was third-best on the team behind Ward and Torres (616 yards).
Torres is coming off of a torn ACL injury but should be healthy and at full speed by Sept. 1.
Wideout Derek Edwards joins the mix on the outside after redshirting last season. With Ward missing most of the spring due to bruised ribs, Edwards received a lot of quality reps and took full advantage of the opportunity.
Amaro, who had a limited role last season, should give the Red Raiders a good big play threat down the middle. He seemed much more polished this spring and should be much more effective this fall.
Jakeem Grant and Javares McRoy, neither taller than 5-foot-7, are the players Doege referred to as midgets. While small in stature, Grant and McRoy both have plus speed and a lot of wiggle.
NEW FACES: U.S. Army All-American Dominique Wheeler and Texas 1A State Champion athlete Reginald Davis joined the Red Raiders this summer and are all expected to redshirt this fall.
[ More RRS: How Bob Stoops snubbed Eric Ward in Dallas ]
Look for Wheeler and Davis to contribute as redshirt freshmen in 2013 and continue a tradition of very strong receiver units into the future.
PRESSURE IS ON: Tyson Williams. Because of the depth that the Red Raiders enjoy at receiver, there really isn't any single player that's facing an 'under the gun' situation. Williams may be feeling more pressure than his peers because of the fact that, by transferring from West Texas A&M to Tech after the 2009 season, he effectively forfeited his second-to-last season of collegiate eligibility in order to prove himself on a bigger stage. Williams got the opportunity and now, after a year of waiting, he has to prove that the gamble was worth it.
BIGGEST QUESTION: Will Tech's depth make up for a lack of a dominant, No. 1 receiver? Will that kind of all-conference type player -- perhaps Darrin Moore -- emerge this season?