5 Breakout Wide Receivers in the SEC in 2014
It's not just the overachieving teams that present the most intrigue, but instead, it's usually the players that suddenly take a league by storm and make the leap from good to great.
With the SEC taking a bit of a dip at the quarterback position following a memorable 2013 season filled with star quarterbacks around the conference, some might think that wide receivers will be the ones to suffer.
While that may be the case for certain teams, it won't be for five particular players that we think are due for monster seasons in 2014.
Let's take a look at five SEC receivers to watch for when fall rolls around.
1. Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)
The Rebels lost their top wide receiver in terms of yardage and touchdowns in Donte Moncrief, but Treadwell's return should certainly help the passing game. Treadwell led the team in catches with 72, and contributed five touchdowns to go along with it. Expect the yardage and TD totals to definitely go up significantly since he is sure to be Bo Wallace's primary target in the passing game. A breakout year from Treadwell could help Ole Miss become a major player in the SEC West race.
2. Josh Malone (Tennessee)
Malone might be a true freshman, but that won't stop him from being a big-time playmaker in this revamped Tennessee offense in 2014. Even though head coach Butch Jones still doesn't have a for sure starter at quarterback, whoever does eventually win the position will have a receiver on the outside that can score points in a hurry. Malone looked fantastic in the Vols' spring game, and it's simply a sign of what's to come for this potential star in Knoxville.
3. Sammie Coates (Auburn)
This one should come as no surprise since Coates was by far the team's leading receiver last season. His 926 yards receiving was nearly 600 yards more than anyone else on the team, and with a much-improved Nick Marshall under center, Coates is going to have a huge year. Although Auburn's primary mode of attack is on the ground, with Tre Mason no longer at running back, Marshall may have to throw the ball a little bit more this year. And you can bet that Coates will be his receiving choice more often than not.
4. Bud Sasser (Missouri)
Missouri gets the pleasure of going into the new season having to replace its top three receivers. That's not exactly a great way to start off the mission of repeating as SEC East champions. But with L'Damian Washington, Marcus Lucas, and Dorial Green-Beckham gone, the Tigers have to find a way to replace nearly 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns worth of production. Senior Bud Sasser may turn out to be the go-to-guy for Maty Mauk, or at least Tiger fans better hope he is. No matter how well Sasser plays though, this team will still be a long way from what it was a year ago at the position.
5. Travin Dural (LSU)
These Tigers are in the same position as the aforementioned Tigers -- a lot of production is gone at wide receiver. With Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry off to the NFL draft after outstanding seasons, someone on the current roster has to fill the huge void left by those two. Sophomore Travin Dural won't be able to completely fill that void, but he has a chance to make the transition much easier. He's shown his playmaking ability in the past, and after an excellent spring, it's clear that he's going to be targeted a ton in this LSU offense next season.
Which receivers do you see breaking out in the SEC in 2014? Let us know your picks by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!