Every college football season brings a lot of roster turnover. To get you ready for the 2015 campaign, SI.com presents the Off-season Spotlight, a weekly feature on a player whose name you’ll want to know by the fall. Last week, we focused on Auburn junior running back Jovon Robinson. This week, we shift our attention to TCU senior wide receiver Kolby Listenbee.
Why is he important?
By adding new dimensions to his game this fall, Listenbee could make an already potent TCU offense even harder to defend. He is indisputably the fastest player on the field—he qualified for the NCAA track and field championships by running a 10.09-second 100-meter dash in May—and torched defenses for touchdowns of 38, 35 and 35 yards last season. The only problem? The deep route was his lone threat in 2014. While his speed caused nightmares for opponents, it never took anyone by surprise. Listenbee was out there for one reason and one reason only.
If he can start to hone some underneath routes to complement his beat-you-deep dominance—something SB Nation’s Ian Boyd broke down in extensive detail last month—Listenbee could become exceedingly difficult to cover. That’s especially true given that TCU’s offense returns senior quarterback Trevone Boykin, the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite.
What has he already done?
Listenbee was the Frogs’ second-leading receiver in 2014, recording 41 catches for 753 yards with four scores. He starred in showdowns with Oklahoma and Baylor—he made five catches for 103 yards against the Sooners and four grabs for 146 yards with a touchdown against the Bears—and later had a 40-yard fourth-quarter catch-and-run to set the stage for Jaden Oberkrom’s game-winning field goal at West Virginia on Nov. 1.
Listenbee also rose to the occasion in TCU’s Peach Bowl blowout of Ole Miss. He started the scoring with a 31-yard trick-play double pass to running back Aaron Green. Then, with the Horned Frogs facing a third-and-11 on the opening series of the third quarter, Listenbee effectively put the game out of reach, sprinting down the left sideline before reeling in a 35-yard lob between two defenders.
How did he look this spring?
If articles like this offer any sort of hint, Listenbee looked pretty darn good. Fellow wideouts Josh Doctson (hand) and Deante’ Gray (leg) missed the majority of this spring due to injuries, so Listenbee functioned as the team’s No. 1 receiver. He took a short toss from backup quarterback Grayson Muehlstein to the house in the spring game and drew a pass interference penalty on Ranthony Texada.
A guy Gary Patterson kept praising: WR Kolby Listenbee. “He’s playing at another level.” Said Listenbee doing it all right now.— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) April 9, 2015
Listenbee experienced sporadic issues with drops, but the 6’1” speedster largely impressed. When Doctson and Gray return to full health this fall, TCU’s receiving corps should be awfully dangerous.
Anything else you should know?
Listenbee is a touchdown dance innovator, as this routine with senior receiver David Porter made abundantly clear.
And if it weren’t already obvious how athletic Listenbee is, well, there’s this.
Show the highlights!
Here is one of Listenbee's first highlights, a 59-yard catch against Michigan State in the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Here’s his 38-yard touchdown against Samford from last year’s season opener.
Perhaps best of all, here’s his one-handed catch against Texas on Thanksgiving last season.