With playmaking receiver Jakeem Grant, who posted team highs last season with 90 catches and 10 touchdowns, gone, and Devin Lauderdale (43 catches, four touchdowns) suspended indefinitely last December, there could be some concern about Texas Tech’s wide receivers.
However, it’s not like coach Kliff Kingsbury’s cupboard is bare. Five players with at least 22 catches in 2015 return, including Ian Sadler (42 catches), Reginald Davis (38), Cameron Baston (29), Zach Allen (22) and running back Justin Stockton (22).
And there’s also a new target in town who could quickly become quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ best friend. Derrick Willies is a junior college transfer from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, via San Bernardino, Calif. He is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. And he brings crazy athleticism that instantly reminds observers of TCU’s Josh Doctson, a 6-4, 190-pounder who could seemingly leap into the clouds and contort his body any which way to snare a pass.
Willies is already suggesting such jump-ball promise to Mahomes. A mid-year enrollee at Tech, Willies has been working out, and on Sunday he decided to give Red Raiders fans a glimpse of his ridiculous leaping ability with this mesmerizing, slow-motion post on Twitter.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
To summarize, that’s Willies, starting in a seated position and wearing a 10-pound weight vest, launching himself on top of a 60-inch platform.
Check out his teammate walking in the background and then suddenly turning around as if to see if anybody else had just witnessed what he did.
Mahomes, who had a breakout season last year with 4,653 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions didn’t have a target with nearly the size or leaping ability of Willies.
At Trinity Valley last season, Willies had 49 catches and averaged 115.5 receiving yards a game with 14 touchdowns. He averaged 23.6 yards a catch.
In Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense and with Mahomes’ accuracy (63.5 percent last season), Willies could be in line to contend for the Big 12’s offensive newcomer of the year award.
For now, maybe he can share a few more workout videos.