We’re taking a closer look this week at 10 Big 12 players who are on the spot this spring. Some are coming back from injury or in the middle of a key position battle. Others have a lot to prove after their 2016 season did not meet expectations. For these guys, this spring is a big deal.
Player on the spot: Baylor WR Chris Platt
Has Baylor found the true leader among its wide receivers this spring?
Their new position coach Bob Bicknell was asked this Saturday morning before the Bears’ 10th practice of the spring. He’s still trying to figure out the answer himself.
“I think they’re all trying, I can say that right now,” Bicknell told reporters. “They’re all trying to fight and learn the offense and do the things they need to do. I’ll tell you, it’s a good group. They love playing football. They love being out there. I feel like they’re all trying to find their way a little bit. But I can’t think of anybody yet.”
Blake Lynch has made impressive progress from a physical standpoint and looks poised for a breakout year, but coach Matt Rhule says he’ll be sidelined the rest of the spring with an injury. Somebody needs to step up over these final two weeks of spring practice.
Platt, the Bears’ top returning receiver, has an opportunity to make a big impression on this staff. He was their No. 3 option last season, catching 35 balls for 567 yards and four scores, and now is his time to shine.
He’s a big-play threat who averaged 16.2 yards per catch last season, good for fourth-best among all returning Big 12 wideouts. The term “track speed” gets thrown around generously these days, but Platt actually has it. He ran on the Bears’ 4x400 relay team at the NCAA championships in 2015 and is rejoining the track team after spring ball wraps.
On the football front, while he’s an explosive asset, there’s definitely room for growth this offseason. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Platt had the worst drop rate in the conference, dropping nearly 11 percent of his targets.
In a wide receiver room featuring five rising scholarship sophomores and a true freshman, Platt is the veteran now. The Bears need him to keep emerging as a playmaker but also a leader.