USC’s Marqise Lee is the returning leader in receiving yards – behind Terrance Williams, who is also enlisting into the draft – but is he the top overall wideout?
With spring ball in full-swing, here are the nation’s top 15 receivers heading into the 2013 season.
Mike Evans, Texas A&M; Stefon Diggs, Maryland; Tevin Reese, Baylor; Davonte Adams, Fresno State; Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri.
15. Devin Street, Pittsburgh
Why: Pitt isn’t known for having a prominent offense, and isn’t too familiar with having a whole lot of success through the air. It does, however, have a gem with Street lining up by the numbers. Street is dealing with a quarterback transition, but will undoubtedly be the future gunslinger’s favorite target. With great size and speed, Street should have a nice year as the Panthers move over to the ACC.
14. Ryan Grant, Tulane
Why: Tulane isn’t a prominent football program, but it does have a prominent wide receiver. Grant is one of the better players to suit up for the Green Wave, and his performance this season could set him up as one of the top wideouts drafted in 2014. The Texas native lead Conference USA in receiving yards (1,149) and found the end zone six times with an offense that really struggled to score. Like a few of his counterparts, Grant will have to find a rhythm with a new quarterback, as Ryan Griffin graduates.
13. Kevin Norwood, Alabama
Why: Norwood is a quiet player, on and off the field. But in most cases he just gets the job done, plain and simple. He won’t overpower you, and he won’t go for 200 yards in a game – but give him the chance, and he’ll embarrass you. The thing with Norwood is his work ethic and consistency. He’s a focused player and will rarely drop a ball or miss an opportunity. He good size and some shiftiness to his play, all while having the ability to turn nothing into something. Norwood is an excellent possession receiver and his extremely valuable to the Crimson Tide offense.
Why: With tight end Tyler Eifert preparing for the NFL, a gaping hole for productivity through the passing game has left an opportunity for Jones to emerge as one of the better receivers in the country. Jones is best when making plays from the inside and can do a lot with the ball in his hands. He’s small, speedy guy that can take a simple screen into a 15-yard gain. His ability to find holes in the zone and then create plays with his feet makes him an extremely dangerous asset for the Irish offense, and he should be utilized heavily in the red zone.
11. Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia
Why: If you haven’t heard of Mitchell’s name yet, you will in 2013. He is one of the up-and-coming stars in collegiate football and is set to for much more playing time with the departure of WR Tavarres King. One of the fastest players on the team, Mitchell is set to explode in what could be considered the best pre-season offense. Aaron Murray has a true deep threat here, and the touchdown numbers could reach the double-digit plateau if Mitchell can cut coverage and beat safeties downfield.