Troy Walters who the Bengals promoted to wide receiver coach on Sunday has a proven track record of mentoring at the position.
New Bengals WR coach Troy Walters was a legendary wide receiver at Stanford. Walters won the Biletnikoff Award and was a consensus first-team All-American. Walters played eight years in the NFL before beginning his coaching career as offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and WRs coach at Indiana State in 2009.
Walters moved on to become the WRs coach at Texas A&M, North Carolina State and Colorado. In 2016 Walters moved up to become the offensive coordinator and WR coach at Central Florida under former Nebraska QB Scott Frost. Walters moved with Frost to Nebraska in the same position in 2018 and 2019.
Walters was hired as the assistant WR coach with the Bengals for the 2020 season. Walters is expected to replace Bob Bicknell as the Bengals WR coach for the 2021 season. Throughout his collegiate coaching career, Walters has mentored several WRs who have made it to the NFL.
Three WRs at Texas Tech had at least 50 receptions in 2011 with current Tennesee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill throwing passes. Ryan Swope caught 89 passes for 1,207 yards and 11 TDs. The receptions and yards were Texas A&M records. Swope later set the Aggies career record for receptions.
In three seasons at Colorado, Walters mentored future NFL WR Paul Richardson and Nelson Spruce. Richardson had 83 receptions for 1,343 yards and 10 TDs for the Buffaloes in 2013. Richardson was a second-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in the 2014 NFL Draft.
In six NFL seasons with Seattle and Washington from 2014 through 2019, Richardson had 143 receptions for 1,809 yards and 12 TDs. Spruce ascended to the top WR for Colorado after Richardson left. In his final two seasons in Boulder, Spruce accumulated 195 receptions for 2,251 yards and 16 TDs.
Spruce has been on the rosters of four NFL teams, played with the San Diego Fleet in the Alliance of American Football, the Los Angeles Wildcats in the XFL and is currently on the roster of the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. Following the 2015 season, Walters joined the UCF staff.
At Central Florida, Walters was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. In two seasons playing under Walters, Tre’Quan Smith played himself into becoming a third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints. Smith had 116 receptions for 2,024 yards and 18 TDs in two years playing for Walters.
In the NFL, Smith has become a key part of the New Orleans offense with 80 receptions for 1,109 yards and 14 TDs in three seasons. Smith set career highs with 34 receptions for 448 yards and added four TDs in 2020. Smith has become one of the shiftiest WRs in the NFL with the Saints.
At Nebraska, Walters coached current Bengals WR Stanley Morgan Jr. In his final season in Lincoln, Morgan set collegiate career highs with 70 receptions for 1,004 yards and added seven TDs. Morgan was an unsigned free agent out of Nebraska and has three receptions for 18 yards in 17 games in Cincinnati.
Mentoring the Bengals WRs will be a key job on the Cincinnati staff. Having elite playmakers for quarterback Joe Burrow A.J. Green will likely leave in free agency. Walters will have a good young corps of WRs to work with led by Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. The Bengals WR unit is in good hands with Walters.