The Texas A&M Aggies’ wide receiver group struggled to get much production in 2021. In fact, the leading receivers in yards for the Aggies last season were Ainias Smith and Jalen Wydermyer and neither of them came to College Station as a receiver. For that reason, the young talent at wideout needs to step up for Texas A&M to develop into a prolific offense. There are a lot of players with potential in that group, but only some will get the opportunity. Here are the predicted starters at wide receiver for the Texas A&M Aggies in 2022.
X Receiver: Evan Stewart
The X receiver is typically the number one receiver for any team and a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. The two competitors for this position are Jalen Preston and Evan Stewart. Preston enters his senior season with impressive experience and having nearly 30 receptions and 400 receiving yards during his career. However, that just won’t be enough in the SEC.
Stewart has the potential to be the best wide receiver for the Aggies since Mike Evans. He was the second-ranked receiver in the 2022 class, and he posts an impressive frame at 6-0 and 175 pounds. He is capable of becoming a first-round draft pick, and he could even be the next DeVonta Smith. The sky is the limit for Stewart, and offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey should look to play the guys with the highest ceiling.
Slot Receiver: Ainias Smith
This pick should be a no-brainer for any college football fan, especially given his performances last year. Ainias Smith comes into this year as arguably the best player on Texas A&M, but he still has something to prove in his senior season. He already has 112 receptions, over 1300 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns. He is also a threat in the running game, and his playmaking ability is second to none.
Now, Smith has to launch himself into the argument of becoming an early pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Zach Calzada frequently targeted him and Wydermyer last season, so he will have to get accustomed to less touches based on whoever’s the starting quarterback in 2022. Regardless, Smith is the perfect guy to be the leader in the locker room for Texas A&M, and he will contribute in special teams as well.
Z Receiver: Chase Lane
The Z receiver for Texas A&M this season may rotate throughout the season. Chase Lane and Moose Muhammad III are undoubtedly the two players competing for the spot, but Lane has a bit more experience. Still, Muhammad has shown flashes of stardom in 2021, and he could be the better option in some games depending on defensive matchups.
Muhammad could also play backup in the slot to Smith. It will be interesting to see how Jimbo Fisher and Dickey structure the offense this season. Lane can make more plays on the outside, and Z receivers will generally have to win one-on-one matchups with so much attention being paid to the slot and X for Texas A&M. Look for Lane and Muhammad to battle it throughout the year for the starting position.
Overall, the wide receiver group must take a big step forward for the offenses to compete weekly in the SEC. Smith will rise to the occasion, but there needs to be one more dependable target for either Haynes King or Max Johnson to create a balanced offense. Stewart is either boom-or-bust, but he will be in the Biletnikoff Award conversation soon. It will be exciting to see these wide receivers go to work on Saturdays.