Kentucky has always had what most would say are good receivers, but this year, they have receivers that could be great.
Kentucky has had a sizable number of very good receivers and receiving tight ends. The list goes on and on, all the way back to Felix Whitney. The Wildcats also had Randall Cobb, Craig Yeast, Dicky Lyons Jr, Derek Abney, Anthony White, Jacob Tamme and now Garret Johnson.
This year, the Wildcats have guys like Dorian Baker, C.J. Conrad, Lynn Bowden and Tavin Richardson. With all that being said, let’s break down the guys that will make the most impact for UK this season.
Dorian Baker (Redshirt Senior WR)
The very talented Cleveland Heights receiver is back and recovering from a season-ending injury in 2017. The redshirt senior is back this year and many believe he is primed for his best season yet at Kentucky.
Baker has had a roller coaster run over the past two years, after being injured all of last season and a missing a good portion of the 2016 season with a hamstring injury. During his junior season, he was able to surpass 1,000 career receiving yards as a Wildcat, becoming only the 27th player in school history to do so.
As a sophomore in 2015, he started all 12 games. He led the team in catches with 55 and touchdowns with three. He also collected 608 receiving yards.
Baker was a four-star prospect out of high school, being ranked the 42nd overall receiver in the nation by Rivals. I expect Baker to have his biggest year for the Cats, as he will be Gunnar Hoak or Terry Wilson’s go-to receiver this season.
Baker has an NFL-type body and he has NFL breakaway speed to go with it. I expect big things from Baker this season, assuming he remains healthy.
Tavin Richardson (Redshirt Junior WR)
The extremely talented and NFL type receiver is back for his junior season with Kentucky. Richardson finished the 2017 season with 27 catches for 371 yards, ranking second on the team.
As a sophomore, Richardson started eight games for the Cats, while playing in all 13. He was able to grab one touchdown pass and averaged 13.7 yards per catch.
Richardson has an NFL-Type body when it comes to looks. He is very strong, but to make it to the next level he will need to get a little bit quicker. He has the size to make it though.
Richardson has managed to stay healthy for Kentucky and if he can remain to do the same, they should have plenty of depth and be very talented at the wideout position.
Lynn Bowden (Sophomore WR)
The exciting Youngstown, Ohio, native is back and more ready than ever for his sophomore season. Bowden was, to say the least, interesting to watch during his freshman year. From everything to being considered for quarterback to using Twitter for his way of attracting attention. All the less, he had a very good freshman season.
Bowden was able to catch 17 passes for 210 yards. He also averaged 23.5 yards per kick return. Bowden was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Oct. 9 after leading UK to a 40-34 win over Missouri with 128 all-purpose yards.
Bowden is the most explosive player on the team.
C.J. Conrad (Senior TE)
I know the tight end is not technically a wide receiver, but for these circumstances, let’s just consider Conrad as a receiver.
The senior is coming off a great junior season, even though he had a season-ending foot injury that required surgery on Nov. 21. Conrad was UK’s second leading receiver in 2017 with 286 yards on 16 catches. He was also able to become the first UK tight end since Jacob Tamme in 2007 to receive a touchdown pass in two consecutive games.
Conrad was named to the fall 2017 Dean’s List and has been named to the John Mackey Award Watch List. Conrad is very talented. He’s big, fast, strong and one of the best blocking tight ends in college football. He also has a chance to be drafted in the early rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft if he stays healthy.
Kentucky has several receivers and tight ends that can make an impact and I have only covered a few of them. A couple other players are Isaiah Epps, Justin Rigg, Clevan Thomas and Josh Ali.
If Kentucky can keep everyone healthy, they will have more depth than they have had in 10 years at wide receiver.