There’s no debate that the University of Alabama has one of the best wide receiver groups in college football. In fact, they have the best wide receiver in the country in Jerry Jeudy. Alongside that, they have Henry Ruggs III and Jaylen Waddle. That trio is incredibly talented and even harder to stop on a Saturday afternoon.
As we move along the list of talented trios in college football, there’s another trio of wide receivers that could be overlooked by the time we get to the start of the season. That trio is at Texas A&M, and they, too, are talented. All three of them will be juniors this year and have the potential to have breakout seasons for the Aggies.
It’s important to know these three, especially since the Aggies lost their starting tight end, Jace Sternberger, to the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. They now have to replace his 48 receptions for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns. Thankfully, that shouldn’t be too difficult with this group.
Quartney Davis (WR #1), 6’2″ and 200 pounds, Junior (RS)
Depending on how you look at things, you could make a case that any one of these Aggies receivers is a number one wideout. Basing it on production, Davis is the leading receiver returning to the field for Texas A&M. Last year, he had 45 receptions for 585 yards and seven touchdowns. Before coming to Texas A&M, he was a four-star recruit out of Langham Creek High School. He also ran track and field and had offers from a variety of colleges that included Georgia and UCLA. Beyond just the high school accolades and breakout season in 2018, Davis has a lot of the tools you look for in a wide receiver. Let’s jump into his film to see what I’m talking about.
We’ll start with the first play that I watched, and I forgot to highlight Davis on the play. He’s aligned on the left hash (WR #1) and will be running a dig route. Once he breaks inside, he should have the ball hitting his hands. Unfortunately, the pocket collapses and Kellen Mond (QB #11) has to avoid pressure and hold on to the football a second longer. Either way, the pass is completed and Davis does a nice job securing it. He looks to create yards after the catch but is met by defensive backs relatively quickly.
The short areas of the field and the red zone are certainly my favorite areas of the field to watch Davis run routes. Here in the red zone, you can see Davis (WR #1) aligned to the outside (left) as the ‘X’ receiver. From the moment he explodes out of his stance, he starts to buzz his feet but then gives an inside head fake and sells an inside move. This forces the cornerback to shift his momentum inside on his left foot, which gives Davis an opening to the outside running the hitch route cleanly. Once he explodes out of his break, he heads toward the front pylon and secures the catch for the touchdown.
Lastly, here’s Davis running the slot fade, but he doesn’t win with his route running. Instead, he wins with his body control and positioning. The pass from Kellen Mond (QB #11) is a bit underthrown and Davis has to come back to it. He makes a heads-up play on the ball and secures the catch for the first down.
Camron Buckley (WR #14), 6’2″ and 194 pounds, Junior
Next on the list for Texas A&M is their true junior wide receiver, Camron Buckley. Coming out of Cedar Hill High School in Cedar Hill, Texas, he was a three-star recruit and could have chosen schools such as Arizona State, Auburn, or plenty of others. He’s got good size for the position and has an athletic frame but at times looks stiff when breaking in and out of his routes. Fortunately, he was productive for the Aggies in 2018 with 34 receptions for 474 yards and a touchdown. Let’s take a look at what he provides for the Aggies as we enter 2019.
The first play we’ll cover is a quick slant route from Buckley. It’s a simple route, and he should be getting hit in stride, but he has to wait for the pass — that seems to be a common trend for the talented trio of Aggies. As for Buckley, he does a nice job exploding off of his outside foot (right foot) and breaking inside. If this pass is delivered on time, he can create yards after the catch with ease on this. With more time together, we should see the connection between Buckley and Mond improve. Keep in mind that Buckley appeared in all 13 games last season but only started three of them.
The way Buckley runs the sluggo (slant and go) route on the play above isn’t great, and the way he handles the jam from the cornerback isn’t very good, either. Fortunately, he keeps his eyes on the quarterback and makes a good catch in traffic. Also, he does a good job swatting the defensive back’s (DB #15) hands away from him as he starts to head vertically up the field. Lastly, it was impressive to see him secure the catch despite knowing the safety over the top was coming downhill hard.
Kendrick Rogers (WR #13), 6’4″ and 204 pounds, Junior (RS)
One of the more talked about Aggie receivers is Kendrick Rogers. Part of the reason he’s talked about is because he stands out like a sore thumb on the football field with his 6’4″ frame, but also due to his incredible one-handed catch against LSU in triple overtime. Before we jump into his film, you should know that he was a three-star recruit out of Frankston High School in Frankston, Texas.
He had offers to Houston and Louisiana Tech, but the offer from Texas A&M was certainly the best one. Last season was also the season that put him on the map with his 27 receptions for 336 yards and five touchdowns. Let’s jump into some film and see what he has provided the Aggies from the 2018 season.
Starting with the one-handed catch against LSU, Rogers put himself on the map. He shows tremendous effort, body control, and concentration as he brings this catch down. With his large frame, he’s able to put himself in position to make the catch but then uses his long arms to fully extend and reach for the football. Lastly, the concentration to haul the pass in was impressive in and of itself. Overall, just a solid display of athletic ability from Rogers, who averaged 12.4 yards per reception in 2018.
Every time you watch Rogers, you’ll notice his presence in the red zone. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he had the highest overall red zone grade (85.3) of any wide receiver in the SEC. On the play above, you’ll see him running a slant route at about seven yards and then break towards the goal line. As Mond (QB #11) maneuvers out of the pocket and to his left, he throws the ball up to Rogers, who shows his impressive catch radius. Meanwhile, he again shows great body control and the ability to high-point the football. It’s another heads-up play by Rogers, who runs to left of the end zone to make it an easier throw for the quarterback.
Lastly for Rogers, the play above shows an example of his route running ability. He runs an out route, but really pay attention to his head during the route and the momentum of his body to take him towards the sideline. The route itself isn’t spectacular, as he rounds it near the top of the route as he’s breaking towards the sideline. However, by bringing his head around so quickly, he’s able to see the ball right away (in case the pass is already delivered, though it wasn’t), and his momentum helps him create separation (if needed, but it wasn’t because the cornerback turned upfield and away from Rogers).
All three wide receivers from Texas A&M have some solid tools to build on. Keep in mind that the 2018 season was the first full season for these three to play together. Quartney Davis has only played in 12 games on offense in his career. He’s the best route runner of the three, and he’s shown the hip fluidity and footwork needed to keep defensive backs guessing in the short and intermediate areas of the field.
Kendrick Rogers has only played in 14 games over the last two seasons, but again, this past season was the year that he put himself on the map in college football. He’s a bigger wide receiver, but don’t underestimate his athletic ability. There will be plenty of jump ball situations for him to win vertically down the field and in the red-zone. Teams that like bigger wide receivers (Philadelphia Eagles) would love a player with his skill-set.
The most established wide receiver in their offense that we covered, Camron Buckley, has played in 22 games in his career. During his time, he has 51 receptions for 756 yards and four touchdowns. He’s gotten better every year he’s been on the field, but there are times, again, that he looks stiff as an athlete. That’s more in his route running ability, but the Aggies have used Buckley as a wide receiver to catch bubble screens and other designed screens in the short area of the field. It’ll be interesting to see the way he gets used this year, but he has the chance to operate as an ‘X’ receiver more often than not.
Beyond just these three guys, the Aggies also have Jhamon Austin. He’s the receiver with the most production and experience in this offense. In his career, he has 81 receptions for 946 yards and three touchdowns. He’ll be a player that I give a deeper dive on shortly, but ultimately, the three receivers I covered in-depth today are the players I think will provide the biggest impact for the Aggies.
The door is wide open for all of these wide receivers to be productive. While the Aggies’ offense will give a bunch of different looks out of the spread offense, it should keep defenses guessing, and the biggest question they’ll have is, which receiver is getting the ball? The 2019 season will provide the answers we’re looking for on the most underrated receiving corps in college football.