By Daniel Wallace
In the high-octane Baylor offense, there is one receiver who uses his speed as his primary weapon when battling the opposing defense.
That man is the 5-foot-10-inch, 160-pound sophomore wide receiver Tevin Reese. In eight games this season, Reese has used his speed to rack up 580 receiving yards and has found the end zone four times.
In Saturday’s 42-39 homecoming win against the Missouri Tigers, Reese had 163 of those yards and a touchdown.
The highlight of the game for Reese came on a career-long 68-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Robert Griffin III in the fourth quarter. Reese displayed his quickness on that play, scorching a defender catching Griffin’s pass to extend Baylor’s lead to 34-17 in the fourth quarter.
He also displayed his focus on that play, as he bobbled the ball four times before bringing it into his chest and running into the end zone.
“When the ball is in the air like that, it seems like it slowed down,” he said. “The fans are yelling, so it’s kind of nerve-wracking but you just have to focus and catch the bobble.”
Senior wide receiver Kendall Wright said he was a little nervous about whether Reese would bring the ball in and make the catch after the second bobble.
He said he was confident, however, that Reese knew exactly what to do and how to respond after the first bobble.
“As a receiver, you have to keep your hands up just in case you bobble it,” he said. “With him keeping his hands up, on a positive note, that helped the ball just stay in reach where he can catch it and that’s what happened.”
In his true freshman year last season, Reese started four of 13 games for the Bears and totaled 45 receptions for 401 yards. Head coach Art Briles used the words “breakout game” to describe Reese’s performance against the Tigers; he set a career high in yards in that game.
Briles said the reason Reese was such a factor on the field on game day was because of what he did during the week, before the game.
“He brings explosiveness, a speed factor that can really stretch the defense,” he said. “He played with a lot of confidence; he had a great week. It carries over. Preparation leads to performance. He’s prepared himself really well.”
Griffin said Reese gives the offense an opportunity to score on every play because of his burst and the way he can get past any defender. He said he appreciates that because Reese’s quickness makes Griffin’s job easier.
“He can outrun a lot of safeties and a lot of corners, so it’s my job to just make sure I give him a catchable ball,” he said. “He’s great. If you can get behind the secondary with any guy like Tevin, we will score touchdowns all day.”
Although he is relatively skinny and short for a football player, Reese uses that to his advantage and is strong, Wright said.
“I can’t teach him his speed,” he said. “I help him with everything else. He’s blazing fast. For him to be so small like 150, 160 pounds, you have to be fast. He is fast and tough at the same time.”
The speedy receiver is a general studies major from Temple.
Though his head coach called his game against Missouri a “breakout game,” Reese has also had two games this season with over 100 yards receiving.