Big 12 WR Rankings 2023: Xavier Worthy Tops a Star-Studded List

The 2023 Big 12 WR Rankings showcase what could be in the conference before Texas and Oklahoma head south -- and Xavier Worthy rules them all

In a new era of the Big 12, the conference welcomes three new teams for a single year prior to losing potentially their biggest college football programs in Texas and Oklahoma. Until that day, however, the pool to rank the top receivers is as large as it will ever get. Here are the Big 12 WR rankings for 2023.

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2023 Big 12 WR Rankings

Unlike our previous rankings (QB and RB), the 2023 Big 12 WR rankings are shedding light on individuals more than units. While the quarterback rankings in each conference outlined the strength of a clear-cut starter, they were still based on the strength of the QB room in some situations, albeit by a small amount.

The 2023 Big 12 WR rankings portray a list of the best wide receivers we project to see on the field based on what they’ve shown in their collegiate careers to date. Some players are expected to break out, but this list aims to highlight the known commodities at this stage of the offseason.

Wide receiver play comprises far more than statistics, and the more a receiver has shown over his time on the field, the higher they’ll rank here.

1) Xavier Worthy, Texas

The Big 12’s best returning receiver is easily Xavier Worthy. The talented junior is ridiculously talented at the catch point, but what makes Worthy worthy of his No. 1 ranking is his elite athleticism. Worthy can release better than any other receiver off the line and has separation ability everywhere on the field.

When it boils down to it, Worthy is also the best at the catch point in the open field or along the boundary. He’ll stack defenders with his speed, track the football with ease, and bring in any catch within his surprisingly large catch radius.

There isn’t anything Worthy doesn’t do at an elite level, and he’ll be a high draft pick when it’s all said and done. Until then, Quinn Ewers and Arch Manning have the clear-cut top pass catcher in the Big 12 at their disposal this fall.

MORE: Big 12 QB Rankings 2023

2) Jerand Bradley, Texas Tech

They don’t make receivers much more intriguing than Jerand Bradley. Known nationally as one of the top freshman receivers from last season, Bradley is much more than that. In fact, Bradley may be one of the best receivers in the country when the season gets going.

At 6’5″ and 215 pounds, you’d be surprised at how quickly Bradley moves. For such a big man, there’s an effortless fluidity in his game and he’s a true after-the-catch threat.

Bradley is also a terrific catch-point mismatch for the Red Raiders to deploy. He’ll sky over defenders with his incredible length but he actually plays a more refined game than just a big man on the outside.

Catch him working form outside in and be sure to witness his quick feet, terrific football IQ, and deceptive speed that will make him a tough man to stop in 2023.

3) Phillip Brooks, Kansas State

A special receiver, Phillip Brooks adds a dimension with elite special-teams skills. The long-time Wildcat has been remarkably consistent over his career. In 2022, Brooks broke out to career bests in each major receiving category.

Brooks is as shifty as they come, making defenders look silly in his aftermath after the catch. He’ll shake defenders and adds a viable threat with the ball in his hands on every reception. Featured heavily in the short area of the field because of his YAC ability, Brooks is truly a threat to hit a home run on every reception.

4) Matthew Golden, Houston

Showcasing elite athleticism and flashing brilliance during his freshman season at Houston, Matthew Golden is truly ready for the big stage as the Cougars break into the Big 12 this fall. Golden plays a faster game than most defenders tasked with covering him and proved able to win one-on-one battles with any defensive back in his way.

The Cougars manufactured touches all over the field for their talented receiver, and he was able to impress at every level. He’s a true after-the-catch threat with surprising burst and suddenness in his route breaks, yet he loses no speed through his cuts.

The future truly is Golden for the Houston native.

5) Jayden Higgins, Iowa State

It’d be wise to get to know the name Jayden Higgins. Sliding into a bevy of lost targets from Xavier Hutchinson in the Iowa State offense, Higgins will be the focal point of the Cyclones’ aerial assault in 2023.

An Eastern Kentucky transfer, Higgins is a physical specimen at 6’4″, 215 pounds. He hulks over smaller defenders and has the ability to pull away in the open field. Higgins showcased solid hands and perhaps even better footwork at EKU, leading up to his highly sought-after place in the transfer portal.

Higgins can line up anywhere on the outside and should become one of Hunter Dekkers’ favorite targets.

6) Adonai Mitchell, Texas

Adonai Mitchell entered the fray at Georgia with extremely high expectations. And there were times during his tenure with the Bulldogs that you saw why. Still, after two seasons in Athens, Mitchell transferred to Texas in hopes of seeing his usage jump in 2023.

Mitchell has a massive catch radius and uses it to his advantage over any defensive back. He has sure hands and has shown flashes of route-running excellence. If all goes to plan, this is the lowest he’ll land on these rankings all season long.

7) Drae McCray, Texas Tech

Every offense could use a player like Drae McCray, and the ideal landing spot for him in the transfer portal was surely Lubbock. The Austin Peay transfer headlines a Texas Tech roster overhaul this offseason as McCray is fresh off a 1,000-yard season with the Governors.

An All-American in each of his two seasons at Austin Peay, McCray hauled in 129 receptions and 1,888 yards over his last two campaigns. He’s quicker than a hiccup and showcased his ability to take games over with multiple 100-yard performances and a handful of near-100-yard games.

McCray dominates over the middle of the field and is a versatile threat in terms of where the Red Raiders can deploy him at the line of scrimmage.

8) Brennan Presley, Oklahoma State

A dominant athlete on the interior for Oklahoma State, Brennan Presley is far more than a slot receiver. He’s a viable No. 1 for any offense in the country and utilizes his superior speed and athleticism to get open at the drop of a hat.

Presley feasts on sluggish middle-of-the-field defenders with his short-area route running. He’ll haul in everything thrown his way and maximize every route. Not much in the way of contested catches, but that isn’t a part of his game, as he’s a natural separator.

9) Javon Baker, UCF

The recent string of SEC receivers transferring to UCF has paid major dividends for the Knights, and Javon Baker is the pinnacle of that success. Baker hauled in five scores and averaged well over 14 yards per catch in a season highlighted by consistency down the stretch.

Baker is a terrific route runner with high-volume target capabilities due to his natural separation prowess. With more consistent hands, Baker will be a household name in the Big 12 sooner than later.

10) Isaiah Neyor, Texas

The forgotten man on the Texas roster, Isaiah Neyor transferred to the Longhorns after dominating the Mountain West at Wyoming. Though injury shut his potential breakout year in 2022 down, Neyor is back and ready to take the place he once had lofty expectations of reaching.

Sure, the last time we saw Neyor was against Kent State in 2021, but the fact remains: He is an elite big man on the outside with versatility, sharp routes, size, speed, and an uncanny ability to dominate any DB in front of him.

If Neyor is back to full health as it appears, Big 12 cornerbacks are sure to know his name sooner than later.

11) Keanu Hill, BYU

What stands out about Keanu Hill’s game for BYU is the fact that the big man, standing at 6’4″ and 210 pounds, is surprisingly fast. Not just straight-line fast, Hill is shifty, sudden, quick, and a natural runner.

If given a window, Hill will take every inch he has. If no window appears, he can make a window for his quarterback with late hands, fast feet, and a route-breaking ability that mirrors the top receivers in the Big 12.

Kedon Slovis has a good set of hands to throw to as well, as Hill presents a safe, sure target no matter where he’s targeted.

12) Devin Carter, West Virginia

One of the most accomplished receivers returning to college football in 2023, Devin Carter transfers to West Virginia after five years and four productive seasons at NC State. Carter is a big target for the WVU offense, standing 6’3″ and 215 pounds, helping fill the void that was created with Bryce Ford-Wheaton’s departure.

MORE: 2023 Big 12 Weekly Football Schedule

He’s a threat on the outside and has made a career dominating over smaller defensive backs at the catch point. Yet, Carter also presents a challenge to bring down after the catch as he lumbers through tacklers and will always fall forward.

13) Kody Epps, BYU

Whenever you see the “joystick” emoji on social media, you should just expect to see a Kody Epps highlight following it. Epps is just that — a human highlight reel, a video-game joystick, a sudden mover with the ball in his hands, and one of the hardest dudes to tackle in the open field.

Epps was incredibly efficient in his first full-time season with the Cougars in 2022, averaging nearly half of his receiving yards after the catch. He’s a threat to take every throw the distance and had an injury not stymied his season, we could have been talking about him as a 1,000-yard player from last year.

14) Kobe Hudson, UCF

The aforementioned SEC-to-UCF transfer portal for receivers is also headlined by Kobe Hudson’s transfer from Auburn in 2022. Hudson hauled in nearly 17 yards per reception a season ago, doing so no matter where the Knights deployed him.

At 6’1″ and 200 pounds, Hudson has enough size and length to line up as a full-time outside receiver, but his quick footwork and shiftiness on his routes indicate he can be just as effective on the inside for UCF. Either way, no matter where they line him up, Hudson wins more than he loses.

15) Myles Price, Texas Tech

An impressive career résumé has led Myles Price to his spot in these Big 12 WR rankings, but there is still more to be desired. The interior receiver presents sure hands for his quarterback as he’s able to turn on a dime and make a wide target with sticky hands.

Price cuts his routes off quickly and plays backyard football well, proving to be just as difficult to track down in the open field. If his separation ability has caught up to his hands, Price could find himself in the end zone quite a bit more in 2023.

16) Jalil Farooq, Oklahoma

Breaking out last year, Jalil Farooq is set up for big-time success in 2023. A solid frame gives Farooq a great foundation to run routes, release off the line, and physically dominate defensive backs up and down the field.

Farooq is shifty enough in the open field to be considered a threat at every level, and he has quick feet on his routes to break defenders off anywhere on the field. He’ll be in consideration to see a massive uptick in targets, and if his hands follow his footwork, Farooq could be one of the top receivers in the conference.

17) De’Zhaun Stribling, Oklahoma State

Transferring in from Washington State, De’Zhaun Stribling helps fill the void left by a trio of Oklahoma State receivers departing. Stribling has a high-end ability to win from any alignment and showed growth as both a route runner and versatile weapon in 2022.

Stribling plays much faster than his frame would indicate and has some juice in his legs after the catch. Few receivers transferring in have as many reps and as much experience as Stribling does in such a short amount of time, and that should pay dividends in Stillwater early on.

18) Lawrence Arnold, Kansas

When you talk about giving your quarterback a frame to hit, you have to talk about Lawrence Arnold. At 6’3″, 200 pounds, Arnold doesn’t have to do too much to be a big-time threat for the Jayhawks, yet he possesses a keen and unique ability to play in sync with his quarterbacks.

He’ll stem a route off in the open field and find a soft spot or hole in coverage just the same as he’ll out-time defenders to the football in the air. Arnold has a great ball-tracking ability and utilizes his blend of size, length, and speed very well.

19) Jaylon Robinson, TCU

Few receivers, or any players for that matter, are as well-traveled as Jaylon Robinson is at this point in his career. After a stint at Oklahoma, two years at UCF, and a season at Ole Miss, Robinson has transferred to TCU for one final season.

Flashing brilliantly during the 2020 season at UCF, Robinson was a bona fide star in the making for the Knights. He also had lofty NFL Draft expectations entering the 2021 season. Despite that season not living up to his standards, the lofty expectations followed him to Ole Miss last year.

A handful of receptions and a transfer to Fort Worth later, what can we really expect from Robinson with the Horned Frogs? He’s a great route runner and has terrific speed through his cuts. Robinson uses that speed and athleticism to get open naturally, but he hasn’t been able to match or come close to the success he saw in 2020.

One thing is for sure, however, and that’s if he does reach those levels of success with a clear picture ahead of him at TCU, he’ll rise in these rankings quickly.

20) Darius Lassiter, BYU

Transferring from Butler CC in 2022, Darius Lassiter looked every bit the part last season for Eastern Michigan. At Butler, Lassiter nearly eclipsed 1,000 yards on just 51 receptions and showcased that ability at EMU in 2022.

Lassiter brings with him to Provo nearly 12 yards per catch from last season as he won against top-tier competition on the outside. He has a terrific ability to use the sideline to his advantage and turned multiple short-area receptions into first downs with his ability after the catch.

21) Ja’Shaun Poke, WVU

Like his new teammate Devin Carter, Ja’Shaun Poke transfers in to Morgantown to help fill the void of lost targets after a productive career elsewhere. Poke transfers in from Kent State during the Golden Flashes’ mass exodus following former head coach Sean Lewis’ departure.

Poke is a crafty interior route runner who consistently will maximize every pass thrown his way. There is a lot to like about his athleticism, and he can stack impressive reps on top of one another with no issue. In just six games last year, Poke hauled in at least 50 yards in all but one outing and totaled 32 receptions for Kent State.

22) Jordan Whittington, Texas

A big threat for the Longhorns, Jordan Whittington has done a lot with his days in Austin. Improving every year in terms of receptions and yards, Whittington has seen his usage packages changed, but he’s still flashed impressive talent no matter the assignment.

Whittington is a great athlete with the ball in his hands. He’s a strong, physical player who will fight off first contact after the catch. He’s a great contested catch receiver but has room to grow in terms of his separation ability.

Honorable Mentions

  • Andrel Anthony, Oklahoma
  • Monaray Baldwin, Baylor
  • Samuel Brown, Houston
  • Arland Bruce IV, Oklahoma State
  • LV Bunkley-Shelton, Oklahoma
  • Joshua Gobbs, Houston
  • Luke Grimm, Kansas
  • Joseph Manjack IV, Houston
  • Jaylin Noel, Iowa State
  • Donovan Ollie, Cincinnati
  • Hal Presley, Baylor
  • Dimitri Stanley, Iowa State
  • Drake Stoops, Oklahoma
  • Xavier White, Texas Tech
  • Dee Wiggins, Cincinnati
  • Savion Williams, TCU