Texas A&M football didn’t get much production at wide receiver in 2018, but expect that to change next season.
Jimbo Fisher must have felt pretty good about most positions he was inheriting when he took the head coaching job for Texas A&M football. It was not an elite roster, but it was absolutely one he could work with.
One question mark for this 2018 team was the kind of production it was going to get from the wide receivers. Also, unless you were at practices, no one really knew which receivers outside of Jhamon Ausbon were going to get reps and step up in the absence of Christian Kirk and Damian Ratley, who were both drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft.
As it turned out, not even Ausbon, a projected All-SEC performer by a few outlets, offered much production in 2018. Starting tight end Jace Sternberger wound up leading the team in catches, yards, touchdowns, and yards per catch. Knowing he ended up a consensus All American softens the blow of a tight end leading the team in all those categories, but it probably shouldn’t be the case.
Quartney Davis led all Aggie wide receivers with just 43 catches, 576 yards and seven touchdowns. Fisher will need more from this group in 2019.
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As good as the group looked on paper — full of 4-star recruits — none of them offered elite speed as Kirk did. They found it difficult to consistently get separation against the elite players on their schedule. We put a lot on Kellen Mond for holding the ball to long and taking sacks, but the truth of that matter is his weapons were not giving him a lot of options on most of those plays.
Plus the starting unit dealt with injuries for most of the year. After a breakout game against Clemson, Kendrick Rogers was hobbled for the rest of the season and missed four games outright. Ausbon also missed four games himself and rarely looked like the phenom who caught 50 passes as a freshman in 2017.
There is good news, however. All six of the Aggies top wide receivers (Ausbon, Rogers, Davis, Camron Buckley, Hezekiah Jones, and Roshauud Paul) should be back for the 2019 season. They were all true sophomores or redshirt sophomores, and none of the redshirts project to the NFL just yet. One more offseason grasping the offense and a year of development will help them all.
Plus, Jalen Preston could figure into the mix now that he’s had a year to adjust to college football. He was a Top 100 recruit in the 2018 class. 2019 signees Kam Brown and Chase Lane offer some speed to take the top off defenses, too, and will be valuable assets in this regard immediately.
If the Aggies catch a little better luck in the injury department and the young guys push the returning starters, you can expect much better production at wide receiver in 2019.