Baylor WR Corey Coleman can be one of nation's best

Last season as a sophomore, Baylor's Corey Coleman had 1,119 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns -- and he missed the first three games of the season. Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images

DALLAS -- Do people realize how good Corey Coleman was last season?

The latest star of Baylor's famed "WRU" corps made his 2014 season debut at the end of September. Over the 10 games he did play, Coleman ranked No. 6 in the nation in receiving yardage. On a per-game basis, he put up better numbers than West Virginia's Kevin White.

"There's not another feeling really like it," Coleman said at Big 12 media days while reflecting on his breakout season. "Hard to explain. It was great that I could be back to help my team."

Coleman racked up 64 catches for 1,119 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore. He could've done much more. Instead, he first had to overcome a frustrating setback. A hamstring injury suffered during fall practice kept Coleman sidelined for Baylor's nonconference blowouts of SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo.

While the Bears' wideouts ran wild, combining for 1,248 receiving yards and 13 TDs on 71 catches over those three games, Coleman had to watch from the bench.

"I was really heartbroken. Having to sit out three games really took a toll on me," Coleman said. "I just stayed faithful to the man upstairs and bounced back even better than I was supposed to be."

Not that he wasn't happy for his teammates. He was cheering on freshman KD Cannon during his explosive debut. He wanted his guys to get theirs. But he admits he did start to feel a bit antsy. Any competitive receiver would.

"There was no jealousy," Coleman said, "because at the end of the day, God don't like ugly. I was rooting them on. I knew my time was going to come."

Coleman got cleared in time for Baylor's Big 12 opener at Iowa State and offered up a career day: 12 catches, 154 yards and his first of a dozen trips to the end zone. And he was off to the races from there.

He became a favorite target of Bryce Petty, who completed 71.8 percent of his passes to Coleman. Petty's total QBR on those throws to Coleman? A remarkable 97.1.

And that's quite a feat considering that, since coming back, Coleman was only the target of 85 of Petty's 344 passes to wide receivers. Yep, Coleman surpassed 1,100 yards despite being targeted on just 25 percent of Baylor's passing plays. He averaged 37 yards on his touchdown grabs and gained 20-plus yards on 17 of his receptions. He was one of only six receivers (including Alabama's Amari Cooper) who averaged more than one TD per game.

And yet, Coleman was passed up for first-team All-Big 12 honors from the league's head coaches.

"That's fine," Coleman said. "I don't need no hype."

The recognition started to trickle in this offseason, but Coleman doesn't care. He prefers bringing extra attitude to his game. As Baylor left tackle Spencer Drango politely puts it, Coleman has "a healthy amount of confidence."

Coleman ran a 4.32 in the 40 during offseason workouts and logged a 45-inch vertical. He's as freaky a talent as some of the Bears' biggest stars. And he's just getting started.

"You have to have that air of, ‘I'm the best in the nation,'" Drango said. "He definitely has the opportunity to be the best, and he can be. It's up to him."