ANALYSIS: A guide to the Wildcats’ wide receivers

Then-freshman wide receiver Malik Knowles catches a pass from then-junior quarterback Skylar Thompson during the game against Nicholls at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Aug. 31, 2019. (Sabrina Cline | Collegian Media Group )

In a season with so many questions marks, the Kansas State football team knows one thing — if they are able to field a team, the offense has the opportunity to be very effective.

Led by senior quarterback Skylar Thompson and his gunslinging arm, along with the weapons around him at receiver, the offense looks to put up high numbers this year.

The Wildcats averaged 29.6 points per game in 2019. Even though the passing game didn’t bring half as many touchdowns as the running game did, it did account for over half of the total offensive yards and set up many of the rushing touchdowns last season.

The good news for the Wildcats this season — even with the loss of leading wide receiver Dalton Schoen — is the fact that Thompson will have the luxury of having multiple talented wide receivers on the 2020 roster.

Here are some of the top receivers for the upcoming year:

Wykeen Gill

The redshirt senior from Atchison, Kansas, played in 11 games in 2019, including three starts against Bowling Green, Oklahoma State and Kansas. He recorded 16 receptions for 273 yards and two touchdowns.

Gill showed good stride toward the end of the season as he had two 40+ yard receptions in two of the last three games of the season, one for 44 yards against Texas Tech and 42 yards against Navy in the Liberty Bowl.

Going into this season as a senior, there is no doubt that Gill will want to continue showing his strength and potential in 2020.

Joshua Youngblood

The sophomore from Tampa, Florida, is a 2020 Preseason All-Big 12 and an All-American kickoff returner from 2019. He earned praise from head coach Chris Klieman last year who called him an “electric kid.”

Youngblood played in all 13 games in 2019 as both a wide receiver and a kickoff returner. He recorded nine receptions for 73 yards throughout the duration of the season.

With an offseason work of route running and playbook studying, he could be a top wide receiver in the Big 12 Conference in 2020. He could be Thompson’s go-to option at wide receiver as well.

Malik Knowles

The redshirt sophomore from Mansfield, Texas, got plenty of playing time during his freshman season, playing in 11 games with eight starts. The talented wide receiver recorded 27 receptions for 379 yards and three touchdowns which earned him votes for the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year award by the league’s coaches.

Not only stellar at receiver, Knowles showed his talent on special teams by returning a 100-yard kickoff against Mississippi State last year.

Knowles also holds the longest touchdown reception by a Wildcat wide receiver in two years with a 70-yard reception against Texas.

Knowles should be a solid option for Thompson this upcoming season, as he should get attention from defenses across the Big 12.

Phillip Brooks

The redshirt sophomore wide receiver from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, has mostly made his mark on the team as a punt returner. He did play in 12 games during the 2019 season though, hauling in 26 catches as a wide receiver for 253 yards and one touchdown.

Brooks certainly will have the chance to improve as a wide receiver this season and can develop into a solid playmaker. Alongside Youngblood, Knowles and Gill, he can make a distraction to defenses which can open up big plays.

Chabastin Taylor

The redshirt junior wide receiver from Giddings, Texas, played in all 13 games as a sophomore in 2019 and two as a starter.

Taylor had a few notable stats in 2019. He set a career-high 74 yards against Texas Tech while also catching a 48-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Red Riders to help preserve the Wildcat victory.

Taylor certainly has room for improvement and likely will have more targets this year. Like Brooks, his presence on the field can cause a distraction to defenses, and just like he showed against Texas Tech, he is capable of making big plays.

Landry Weber

The redshirt junior from Lenexa, Kansas, played in all 13 games in 2019 and started in two games. He recorded seven catches for 117 yards in those games.

Weber has had more production on special teams than as a wide receiver so far for the Wildcats, but he can still continue to be a target for Thompson and should not be slept on by defenses this year.