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Offseason Overview: Which WR can make a jump?

The KU receiver room is loaded with experience and talent. But is there one wideout who's ready to make a big jump?

3 min read
Kansas wide receiver Quentin Skinner (83) lays out to try and make a diving catch in the first quarter of a Big 12 college football game between the Texas Longhorns and Kansas Jayhawks on November 19, 2022 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. [Associated Press photo] 

We’ll learn a lot more about the Kansas football program and its outlook for the 2023 season in a couple of weeks, when preseason camp is in full swing and the Jayhawks really begin preparing for the encore performance to last year’s Liberty Bowl appearance.

For now, though, let’s set the stage for how things look heading into camp.

What’s important? What’s known? Key question marks and players in need of a breakthrough performance for the Jayhawks to take that next step all will be covered in our Offseason Overview series.

Next up: Which wideout can make a jump?

The Kansas wide receiver room is loaded with experience and talented players and if every one of them who was here last season delivered the exact same stats as they did in 2022, that would be enough to produce a 3,300-yard, 32-touchdown quarterback.

Not bad.

But what if one or even two of them can make enough of a jump to really improve upon their stats? Then you could be talking about a 4,000-yard passer and an even more dangerous and explosive offense than the one the Jayhawks put on the field a season ago.

So, who are the candidates to make this jump?

Any of them could. But it’s a little harder to picture veteran starters Luke Grimm and Lawrence Arnold improving upon their combined totals of 96 receptions, 1,339 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Grimm led the Jayhawks’ receiving corps in catches (52) and TDs (6), and Arnold was the top yardage man at 716 yards.

Both are solid, reliable players who already have good rapport with Jalon Daniels. If they’re going to improve their numbers it probably won’t be by much.

That leads us to the next tier, where some upward movement could occur. That group includes five players who caught passes for the Jayhawks last season — Quentin Skinner, Tanaka Scott, Trevor Wilson, Kevin Terry and Doug Emilien — but only one who topped double digits in receptions.

Interestingly enough, it’s the one who did make double-digit grabs in 2022 who might have the best chance of pushing his totals significantly higher in 2023.

Quentin Skinner caught 26 passes for 440 yards and 5 TDs a season ago. He led the team with a 16.9-yards-per-reception average and showed flashes of being one of the top deep threats in the Big 12.

With another year of chemistry with Daniels, and if Daniels can play a whole season, it’s definitely reasonable to predict Skinner’s numbers will increase across the board. He probably won’t top 40 catches (and even getting to that number could be a reach since he’s not so much a possession guy), but pushing 600 yards and double-digit TDs isn’t a crazy goal.

Wilson has experience in the system and should not be overlooked and Scott and Emilien both have play-making potential — albeit in different ways — that could benefit the Jayhawks if the opportunity arises.

While Arnold had a big year last year, I don’t think it’s out of the question for him to make a jump either. Asking him to do so, however, is a little bit harder because his numbers were at or near the top of the list, whereas Skinner has more room to improve.

This is a good group, with talent, toughness, good football IQs and serious drive. If another year together and in the system made any of them — or all of them — better, that will show up on Saturdays this fall.

But keep an eye on Skinner's growth and development. If the others do their thing and he takes his game to another level, it will have a major impact on the offense and the season.

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