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North Texas Mean Green Unit Preview: Wide receivers

Three of the top four receivers return in 2018. The next four are just as good.

North Texas v Iowa
WR Jalen Guyton celebrates a touchdown with TE Kelvin Smith last year against Iowa. Both are returning in 2018.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Wide Receiver

Michael Lawrence - JR - 62 rec/819 yards, 13.2 yards per catch, 4 TDs

Jalen Guyton - RSJr - 49 rec/775 yards, 15.8 ypc, 9 TDs

Rico Bussey Jr - RSJr - 47 rec/677 yards, 14.4 ypc, 7 TDs

There was a time, not too long ago, when North Texas won conference championships by keeping its head down and running the ball. There was a time, even more recently, when North Texas didn’t win anything at all. All that changed in 2017, and it’s about time.

The Mean Green see their top three receivers return this year, none of them seniors, after having contributed a combined 20 TDs to last year’s offense. The only man down was Turner Smiley, who added another five TDs and 623 yards before graduating last year.

Luckily, even with an impressive top of the rotation like this one, the next few guys down the list are gaining fast, and they’re joined this year by former Kansas WR Keegan Brewer, entering this year as a redshirt sophomore. Brewer played in all 12 games as a true freshman, grabbing 15 passes for 86 yards. The Lake Dallas alumnus racked up accolades at the prep level and found the endzone 24 times in his senior season.

Jaelon Darden contributed 281 yards and three TDs last year as a freshman, trailed only barely by TE Kelvin Smith (a RS junior this year) with 264 yards.

For all the (deserved) accolades heaped on Mason Fine, he couldn’t do it without a core of receivers to take those passes downfield. A total of 14 Mean Green players caught passes last year, with a new recruiting class ready to take the field in a few weeks. Those numbers will continue to strike fear into the hearts of opposing defense.

With an offense like this one, and with Seth Littrell and OC Graham Harrell running things, you can expect big plays from any number of players, particularly at WR. There are 18 WRs on the roster this year, expect playing time from all of them, and triple-digit passing yards from at least half.