Receivers Catching On

Mark Simmons

If the 2003 football season proved anything to head coach Mark Mangino, it was that his team's receivers should be solid for years to come.

Junior Brandon Rideau was catching everything thrown his way, and finally was developing into the dependable target Mangino had hoped for. Sophomore Mark Simmons became one of the Big 12's most feared deep threats and rookie Charles Gordon was an all-around playmaker who could keep defenses constantly on their heels. All three players return to the team in 2004.

Rideau's numbers last season were solid for a player who only had 29 receptions and one touchdown after his first two years on campus. He finished the 2003 season with 51 catches, 677 yards and six touchdowns.

However, the biggest surprise may have come from Simmons who led the way for Jayhawks in yards per catch (19.2) and tied Gordon for the team lead with 769 receiving yards. His seven touchdowns were a team-high and the third-best single-season total in school history.

Gordon had 57 catches in 2003 and was the perfect fit in the slot while playing both offense and defense. While many believe his transformation into a cornerback this season will severely impede his ability to post impressive offensive numbers, he should still get several snaps each game and will also carry the load as one of the Big 12's top punt returners.

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