This is Part Four of a five-part series analyzing the potential fantasy impact of the 2009 incoming freshmen.
Part One of our story proves that you should temper your emotions when it comes to freshmen, at least from a fantasy standpoint. Try not to get too caught up in the hype that a hotshot recruit brings to campus before he has even played a down.
WR Summary: This class isn’t considered to be as strong as the 2008 version, which boasted eight impact fantasy players. Also, the early playing opportunities for the 2009 top dogs don’t seem to be slam-dunks like they were for DeAndre Brown, A.J. Green, and Julio Jones.
Best Chance to Make 2009 Fantasy Impact:
Cameron Kenney (Oklahoma)
Rivals rank: N/A, Four-star (JUCO)
Also had offers from: Georgia, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Auburn
Why he’s on the radar: The Sooners lose three of their top four WRs from last year’s juggernaut. They only recruited two true WRs in this year’s class and Kenney was one of them. The JUCO transfer could contribute right away, especially with Sam Bradford back in the fold flinging passes all over the hapless B12 defenses.
What to be concerned about: There is a lot of talent on the OU roster. Cracking the starting lineup won’t be easy.
Andre Debose (Florida) [pictured]
Rivals rank: No. 2 WR
Also had offers from: Florida State, USC, Georgia, LSU
Why he’s on the radar: Percy Harvin is NFL-bound. Debose has a similar skill set and could see action right away. Defenses will once again have to key on Timmy Tebow, leaving ample opportunity for the other Gator weapons to get the ball in space. And “space” is where Debose is dangerous.
What to be concerned about: Even the great Harvin was an average fantasy WR in his first year (855 total yards, five TDs).
Keep an Eye on These Guys in August:
Eric Ward (Texas Tech)
Rivals rank: No. 41 WR
Also had offers from: Oklahoma, Arizona, Arizona State
Why he’s on the radar: Any time Mike Leach lands a highly regarded WR recruit, you take notice.
What to be concerned about: There will be a new Tech QB in ‘09. Plenty of competition for passes from a long list of more experienced receivers.
A.J. Dugat (Houston)
Rivals rank: No. 69 WR
Also had offers from: Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State
Why he’s on the radar: Dugat is a pretty highly rated recruit for the Cougars. Houston will be looking to replace TE Mark Hafner’s production (86-901-11) and Patrick Edwards is still on the mend from his horrible injury.
If Dugat can cement himself in the starting lineup with Carrier and Castille, he will put up the numbers.
What to be concerned about: Houston has many other receivers waiting in the wings and Dugat could get lost in the shuffle.
Rueben Randle (LSU)
Rivals rank: No. 1 WR
Also had offers from: Oklahoma, Georgia, Alabama
Why he’s on the radar: Because he’s the top-ranked WR in the country.
What to be concerned about: LSU might lean more on the running game as they are likely to be breaking in a new QB next fall. Top receiver Brandon LaFell removed his name from the NFL draft and will return for another year. Does LaFell’s presence help or hurt Randle from a fantasy standpoint? It’s debatable.
Patrick Patterson (Ole Miss)
Rivals rank: No. 4 WR
Also had offers from: Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn
Why he’s on the radar: Another weapon at Jevan Snead’s disposal. Leading receiving yardage gainer Mike Wallace is gone. Snead threw for 26 TDs last year and he’s only going to be better in ‘09.
What to be concerned about: Shay Hodge and Dexter McCluster are proven commodities and are slated to be the top two receivers in this offense. Patterson will have to become a solid No. 3 option to make a fantasy impact in ‘09.
Marlon Brown (Georgia)
Rivals rank: No. 5 WR
Also had offers from: USC, Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio State
Why he’s on the radar: Brown is simply one of the most talented receivers in the land.
What to be concerned about: With Matthew Stafford graduating, the Dawgs will be starting a fresh face at QB. Brown will be competing with last year’s freshman phenom, A.J. Green, for touches. With Georgia’s run-first philosophy and A.J. Green lining up on the other side of the field, how many looks will Brown get?
Darius Johnson (SMU)
Rivals rank: No. 68 WR
Also had offers from: Boston College, Houston, Iowa State
Why he’s on the radar: June Jones loves to throw the ball, and the offense should only get better after some of the growing pains of last season. Johnson is a pretty highly ranked WR for SMU to get and could see immediate playing time.
What to be concerned about: Aldrick Robinson and Emmanuel Sanders both return and will hog most of the receptions.
Anthony Foster (Tulsa)
Rivals rank: No. 73 WR
Also had offers from: Oregon State, Ole Miss, Colorado
Why he’s on the radar: Like Johnson and Dugat above, Foster is a very talented player who went to a “smaller school” that runs a wide open offensive system.
What to be concerned about: Damaris Johnson, Slick Shelley, and a slew of others have more game experience.
Justin Brown (Penn State)
Rivals rank: No. 30 WR
Also had offers from: Rutgers, Iowa, Oregon
Why he’s on the radar: The Nittany Lions lose their top three WRs from last year (Deon Butler, Derrick Williams, and Jordan Norwood). Brown is a perfect complement to some of the receivers on the current depth chart, and will compete for early playing time.
The fact that All-Big Ten QB Daryll Clark returns is a plus.
What to be concerned about: PSU spreads the ball around a lot. It’s tough to make your mark as a go-to guy in this offense unless you are multi-dimensional a la Derrick Williams. Brown is more of a classic down-field receiver.
Rivals Rank - Player - School
No. 4 ATH - Randall Carroll (UCLA)
No. 3 WR - Jheranie Boyd (UNC)
No. 14 WR - Je’Ron Stokes (Michigan)
JUCO - Tyrece Gaines (likely Oregon)
No. 47 WR - Diante Jackson (Oregon)
No. 9 WR - Nu’Keese Richardson (Tennessee)
JUCO - Jamar Howard (Cincinnati)
No. 16 WR - Chad Bumpis (Mississippi State)
No. 48 ATH - Ronnie Kennedy (Central Michigan)
No. 11 WR - Duron Carter (Ohio State)
No. 6 WR - Terry Hawthorne (Illinois)
No. 23 WR - Greg Timmons (Texas)
JUCO - Chelb Ravenell (Western Michigan)
JUCO - Edgard Theliar (FIU)
No. 24 WR - Shaquelle Evans (Notre Dame)
No. 50 WR - Erick McGriff (Kansas)
JUCO Hayo Carpenter (Minnesota)
Todd DeVries is the founder of CollegeFootballGeek.com, your premier resource for college fantasy football information. Check us out.