“Wide Receiver U” loaded heading into 2014 season

By Jeffrey Swindoll
Sports Writer

The receiving corps has been a major part of Baylor football’s identity over the past couple of years. Players like Kendall Wright, Terrance Williams, Tevin Reese have led the way for a booming generation of Baylor receivers.

Aside from Baylor’s shiny, brand-spanking new McLane Stadium on the Brazos River, fans may be wondering what to actually be excited about this season. Can they expect the same explosive offensive performances they saw last year?

When asked if the offense, specifically the receivers can perform even better than last year’s group, Goodley was quick and confident to give out his assurance.

“There’s no doubt in my mind,” Goodley said. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back on offense, a lot of playmakers. They know what we like to do, and they know we like to score points. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can raise the bar.”

Returning receivers that got significant playtime include seniors Clay Fuller, Levi Norwood and Antwan Goodley. A notable underclassman that saw more time on the field than others is junior wide receiver Jay Lee.

There is a solid core to serve as the foundation for Baylor’s offensive endeavors this season. Baylor’s underclassmen bring promise to carry on what is now a substantial part of Baylor’s passing offense playstyle.

Since Robert Griffin’s last season, “the bar” has consistently been raised by each successive team.  Former quarterback Nick Florence broke Griffin’s pass yards record. Bryce Petty stepped up his game last season in his junior year to live up to Baylor’s reputation as a high-octane offense as well.

The offense has not skipped a beat since that magical Alamo Bowl season, even with a different quarterback each year. Three years later, the expectation of Baylor’s superb passing offense is still the same from the coaches, players and fans.

Norwood, Goodley and Fuller all made big plays for Baylor last season. Their role is not much different from last year as go-to difference makers for the big games.

Goodley is very much the poster boy for the loaded receiving personnel, and was named last week by NFL.com as college football’s “freakiest athlete”. He is a big, strong wide receiver with ridiculous speed. Goodley’s combination of height and speed is unmatched by college receivers. He’s a freak of nature, hence the title “freakiest athlete”.

“You could almost pick anybody on the Bears’ fall camp roster at the receiver position to team up with Goodley (5-foot-10, 220 pounds) and Baylor still would have one of the best duos in the conference. That’s a testament to how good the depth is in Waco at the position,” NFL.com’s Mike Huguenin said.

Along with those players returning, the fact that Petty, in his second year as a starter, will be the the starting quarterback is a big advantage for those players expecting to raise the bar, Goodley said.

“Having Bryce back there takes a lot of the load off of us,” Goodley said. “He’s a great guy, and a great leader. He works his butt off for the team with his team. I know he’s ready. On the field, you know once he’s out there he’s all about business.”

After two seasons with two very different quarterbacks — Griffin and Florence — Petty serves as a blend of the two players, Norwood said.

“If you look at [Petty], how big he is, he can make any throw, and he can run the ball,” Norwood said. “[Griffin] was the first to kind of set the stage, the standard, and Nick was a guy that probably didn’t have the physical attributes that [Griffin] had, but he still found a way to win. So Bryce is kind of a combination of those two.”

Across the board, Baylor’s offensive skill players are stacked with experience, talent and even potential to take the program into uncharted territory.