Power Ranking the 25 Best WR Corps in College Football
As college football continues to produce more fireworks than the month of July, the wide receiver position is becoming more valuable to the game.
Last season, there was a total of 21 teams that averaged more than 300 passing yards a game and 12 receivers picked up at least 100 receiving yards on average. Players are producing off the chart numbers at a rapid rate and the more quality receivers you have, the better the chance for a successful offense.
We saw teams such as USC, West Virginia and Clemson with multiple guys that were capable of taking over the game offensively. When you have more than one wide receiver on one offense that could be the No. 1 option on nearly any other team in the country, you have yourself an above average receiving corps.
But with a lot of talented receivers either graduating or entering the NFL draft, there are going to be many new teams entering the conversation for the best group of receivers as we inch closer to kick off in 2013.
Here are the Top 25 teams in the country with the best wide receiver corps in college football.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.
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Key Receiver: Stefon Diggs: 54 receptions, 848 yards and six touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Marcus Leak: 23 receptions, 393 yards and two touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Nigel King and Levern Jacobs
If you were one of the many who was sleeping on Diggs at wide receiver, it is time to wake up. The freshman was easily one of the better players in all of the ACC last year and has the playmaking ability to give you at least one reason to catch a glimpse of Terrapins games next year. Leak was a nice weapon on the side of the young receiver, but missed a good portion of the year with a fractured toe. He should be back and ready to roll his junior year.
Maryland has its pieces in place; it's just a question if anybody can shine at quarterback.
24. Fresno State
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Key Receiver: Davante Adams: 102 receptions, 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Isaiah Burse: 57 receptions, 851 yards and six touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Josh Harper and Victor Dean
Adams walked away with MWC Freshman of the Year honors due to his consistent play and leading the conference in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Burse was third in the MWC in receiving yards and was tied for fourth in the touchdown category, providing one of the most explosive tandems in the country at the receiver position. With quarterback Derek Carr returning for his senior season, you can expect the Bulldogs to continue to have one of the best passing games in all of college football.
23. Ball State
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Key Receiver: Willie Snead: 89 receptions, 1,148 yards and nine touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Jamill Smith: 69 receptions, 706 yards and six touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Zane Fakes and Connor Ryan
Ball State managed to win nine games last year and a lot of it had to do with the 47th best passing game in college football. The good news for the Cardinals is that majority of the top players on the offensive side of the ball are returning next season. Snead led the MAC in receiving yards and Smith went eight games with at least five receptions. With last season's top eight receivers returning, Ball State will remain a dangerous team in the air.
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Key Receiver: Marcus Lucas: 46 receptions, 509 yards and three touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Dorial Green-Beckham: 28 receptions, 395 yards and five touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: L'Damian Washington and Bud Sasser
Putting Missouri in the Top 25 is all about potential and what the Tigers should be capable of on the offensive side of the ball. Green-Beckham could easily be one of the best receivers college football has seen with his combination of height and speed. And what makes things exciting is that he began to put it together last year, hauling in four touchdowns in the final three games. Lucas also had 12 receptions that produced at least 15 receiving yards.
If the quarterback position can be figured out, Missouri can actually be a team to pay attention to on offense heading into the new season.
21. Boston College
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Key Receiver: Alex Amidon: 78 receptions, 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Johnathan Coleman: 33 receptions, 489 yards and four touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Bobby Swigert and Spiffy Evans
Amidon is somebody who has gotten better each and every season at Boston College and could be in store for his best season yet as he enters his senior year. He is a player who works hard on and off the field and is easily one of the most underrated players in the ACC at any position.
Coleman is the big-play threat at 6'4" and a total of six of his receptions went for at least 25 yards. Boston College is certainly not as flashy as some of the other teams on this list, but it is a group of guys that work hard and find ways to get the job done.
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Key Receiver: Phillip Dorsett: 58 receptions, 842 yards and four touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Rashawn Scott: 35 receptions, 512 yards and three touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Clive Walford and Allen Hurns
The reason the Miami Hurricanes were drawing a little bit of interest last season was because of the air attack. Throwing for more than 3,500 yards is not an easy feat and this team actually returns all of the key players that helped make that possible.
The three leading receivers on this team were sophomores last year and they all averaged 14 receiving yards a reception, which gave the Hurricanes the speed we haven't seen in a while.
The questions to get Miami back on top has nothing to do with the offense, it is the defense that needs an upgrade.
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Key Receiver: Malcolm Mitchell: 40 receptions, 572 yards and four touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Arthur Lynch: 24 receptions, 431 yards and three touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Michael Bennett and Chris Conley
Mitchell will have a change to emerge as one of the better wide receivers in the SEC now that he will play full-time on the offensive side of the ball. Lynch proved to be a valuable weapon at tight end, especially towards the end of the season, finishing the final five games with three receptions each.
This may be a slight product of having a top quarterback in Aaron Murray leading the way, but Georgia has the speed on the outside and the solid tight end to have a complete receiving corps.
18. Florida State
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Key Receiver: Rashad Greene: 57 receptions, 741 yards and six touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Kenny Shaw: 33 receptions, 532 yards and three touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Kelvin Benjamin and Nick O'Leary
Florida State has the talent in place to be an explosive passing team, but a lot of the guys on this roster have been inconsistent.
However, the shaky quarterback play of last year’s E.J. Manuel cannot go unnoticed either. Greene showed flashes of brilliance last year, finishing four of the final five games with at least five receptions and showing he is capable of being that No. 1 receiver. Shaw is the speedster on the team and 22 of his 33 receptions helped move the chains for the Seminoles.
Florida State has the guys on the roster, the question now remains, who is going to be the quarterback?
17. Texas A&M
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Key Receiver: Mike Evans: 82 receptions, 1,105 yards and five touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Thomas Johnson: 30 receptions, 339 yards and one touchdown
Texas A&M will lose two of its top three receivers, Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu, from graduation. However, Evans jumped on the scene as a freshman last year and finished third in the SEC in both receiving yards and receptions.
With a big target like that on the field at 6'5", I'm expecting other talented first-year players such as Williams and Seals-Jones to be able to have similar success and help take some of the pressure off of Heisman quarterback Johnny Manziel.
The Aggies are young at the receiver position, but the talent and ability to produce is off the charts. This will remain one of the most exciting offenses in all of college football once again.
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Key Receiver: Josh Boyce: 66 receptions, 891 yards and seven touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Brandon Carter: 36 receptions, 590 yards and six touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: LaDarius Brown and Cam White
TCU is an interesting team because of the questions surrounding quarterback Casey Paschall and his bizarre story from a year ago.
But no matter who is lining up under center, there is no question the receivers are on the team to get the job done at a high level. Boyce has been a consistent player every season, hauling in 60-plus receptions in each of the last two years, while Carter has a nose for the end zone and finds ways to make big plays.
The Horned Frogs are deep at the position and could easily put five or six guys out there that are capable of producing just as well as the next man.
15. North Carolina
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Key Receiver: Quinshad Davis: 61 receptions, 776 yards and five touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Eric Ebron: 40 receptions, 625 yards and four touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Sean Tapley and Jack Tabb
Davis was a true-freshman last season and led the Tar Heels in both receptions and receiving yards. With his big frame and ability to go up and get the football, he could become a household name next year with a little more overall team success. Ebron was named to the second-team All-ACC last season as a tight end and should continue to thrive with only one full season of experience under his belt.
As for the depth, Tapley did score five times on only 26 receptions, and Tabb averaged 12 yards a reception as a backup.
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Key Receiver: Sammy Watkins: 57 receptions, 708 yards and three touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Charone Peake: 25 receptions, 172 yards and two touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Martavis Bryant and Adam Humphries
Clemson is losing DeAndre Hopkins, the top receiver in the ACC from last year, but Watkins has shown he is one of the most electrifying players in the game today. As long as he can keep his nose clean and stay healthy, the Tigers should have the speedster back on the field and ready to contribute at a high level. A guy like Bryant should also help fill in the void with his lengthy frame at 6'4" and underrated speed to get down field.
The Tigers have more than enough weapons on the outside and with a Heisman candidate in quarterback Tajh Boyd, this Clemson offense will remain the best in the ACC.
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Key Receiver: Jaxon Shipley: 59 receptions, 737 yards and six touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Mike Davis: 57 receptions, 939 yards and seven touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Cayleb Jones and Bryant Jackson
Shipley isn't your typical flashy receiver, but he has been a productive one throughout his career at Texas and he knows how to pick up the first down. Davis is a guy who could have easily thrown his name into the hat for the NFL draft, but decided against it at the last minute and will return to provide the speed on the outside. Jones is entering his sophomore year and should see much more playing time and will be the X-factor with his combination of terrific hands and physicality.
Texas is slowly getting the right offensive weapons on the field and this may be the best group of receivers the team has seen in a while.
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Key Receiver: Cody Hoffman: 100 receptions, 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Ross Apo: 31 receptions, 311 yards and one touchdown
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Kaneakua Friel and JD Falslev
BYU will have Cody Hoffman at wide receiver for one more season. He isn't exactly a name you hear every day, but he has racked up a combined 203 receptions in his first three years on the team. He is a sure-handed receiver who finished four games last year with double-digit receptions.
While he has a lot to do with the offensive success, Apo was consistent down the stretch in his second year and even running back Jamaal Williams made his mark catching the ball out of the backfield.
The Cougars don't exactly do anything pretty on the offensive side of the ball, but they get the job done when it's thrown their way.
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Key Receiver: Jalen Saunders: 62 receptions, 829 yards and three touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Sterling Shepard: 45 receptions, 621 yards and three touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Durron Neal and Trey Metoyer
We have seen the same story for Oklahoma the last couple of years. A top receiver ends up leaving the program and another ends up stepping up and making the fans forget about him. With Kenny Stills bolting for the next level, you can expect much of the same from Saunders as the No. 1 option heading into the new year.
Shepard was extremely productive as a freshman and Metoyer has the perfect skill set to really take his game to the next level as a sophomore.
Oklahoma will once again be deep at the wide receiver position, but is Blake Bell truly the answer at quarterback?
10. Oregon State
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Key Receiver: Brandin Cooks: 67 receptions, 1,151 yards and five touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Connor Hamlett: 32 receptions, 403 yards and three touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Storm Woods and Kevin Cummings
Cooks is just one of the many speedy receivers on a team capable of going the distance with the ball in his hands. Averaging a whopping 17 yards a reception last season, he should be ready to become the No. 1 option in this offense with Markus Wheaton graduating.
Woods may be listed as a running back, but he caught 38 passes and with his playmaking ability, the coaching staff would be wise to continue to find ways to give him the ball. Hamlett also turned out to be a solid tight end and he has the size at 6'7", to continue to create mismatches.
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Key Receiver: DeVante Parker: 40 receptions, 744 yards and 10 touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Damian Copeland: 50 receptions, 628 yards and two touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Eli Rogers and Ryan Hubbell
If you weren't a believer in the Louisville wide receiver corps throughout the season, the performance against the Florida Gators in the BCS bowl should have won you over.
Parker is a legitimate No. 1 option with his size and sure hands, as he averaged 18 yards a reception and took 21 of his 40 catches for at least 15 yards. Copeland caught the most passes last season for the Cardinals and should continue to be that security blanket for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Louisville doesn't have any big names at the wide receiver position, but everybody plays their part and gets the job done on Saturdays.
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Key Receiver: Jared Abbrederis: 49 receptions, 837 yards and five touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Jacob Pedersen: 27 receptions, 355 yards and four touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Jordan Fredrick and Kenzel Doe
If Wisconsin had any consistency at the quarterback position, the pass catchers on this team would receive a lot more respect than they currently do.
Abbrederis is truly as good as it gets and is arguably the best receiver in all of the Big Ten. While that may not be saying much, he did take 12 of his receptions for more than 25 yards and picked up 32 first downs on 49 catches. Pedersen has remained a consistent tight end and is capable of providing so much more if the quarterback situation can improve.
The Badgers will continue to be looked at as a run first offense, but the receivers should no longer be overlooked.
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Key Receiver: Marqise Lee: 118 receptions, 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Nelson Agholor: 19 receptions, 340 yards and two touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Xavier Grimble and George Farmer
Now that Robert Woods is no longer around, other guys must step up and take some of the pressure off Lee. However, that said, Lee is without question the best college receiver I have seen since Julio Jones, and I'm not sure any defensive coordinator in the country has the blueprint to slow him down. Agholor was solid as a true-freshman last year, but nobody on this USC team besides Woods or Lee caught at least 30 balls.
Still, with the overwhelming advantage with No. 9 on the field and guys with limitless potential in Victor Blackwell and Steven Mitchell, you'd be foolish not to have the Trojans receiving corps high on the list.
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Key Receiver: Kasen Williams: 77 receptions, 878 yards and six touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Austin Seferian-Jenkins: 69 receptions, 852 yards and seven touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Jaydon Mickens and DiAndre Campbell
Washington returns every major offensive player from a year ago, including all of the top receivers. Williams had at least 50 receiving yards in all but four games last year and Seferian-Jenkins is one of the best tight ends in the country, as he was named a third-team All-American.
It is not very often when an offense returns every key contributor from years past, which puts the Huskies in rare company entering the 2013 season. Now the offensive line needs to improve and help keep quarterback Keith Price upright so he can distribute the football properly.
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Key Receiver: Jordan Matthews: 94 receptions, 1,323 yards and eight touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Chris Boyd: 50 receptions, 774 yards and five touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Wesley Tate and Josh Grady
If you aren't familiar with Matthews by now, you need to start paying attention to the Vanderbilt NFL prospect.
He could have left for the upcoming draft and been a high pick, but decided to return for his senior season. With his size and ability to make plays after the catch, Matthews finished second in the SEC in receiving yards and gives the Commodores a true playmaker on offense. Boyd is filling in nicely and really turned it on late, finishing with a touchdown in five of his final six games.
Vanderbilt will have to find a new quarterback during the offseason, but there are more than enough pieces to build around and have instant success offensively.
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Key Receiver: Kenny Bell: 50 receptions, 863 yards and eight touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Quincy Enunwa: 42 receptions, 470 yards and one touchdown
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Jamal Turner and Jake Long
I can't remember the last time Nebraska had a group of receivers that were this talented. Easily the best receiving corps in the Big Ten, the Cornhuskers may decide to shy away from the running game and to light it up in the air.
Bell has proven his worth over the last two years and is about as efficient as they come; finding ways to get in the end zone and help move the chains. Enunwa continues to improve throughout his career and Turner showed bright spots late in the year.
Much like Wisconsin, Nebraska is one of the few Big Ten offenses that will be balanced heading into the new college football season.
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Key Receiver: Josh Huff: 32 receptions, 493 yards and seven touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: De'Anthony Thomas: 45 receptions, 445 yards and five touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Colt Lyerla and Keanon Lowe
The mystery with the Oregon Ducks will be how the offense is going to look now that Chip Kelly is no longer around to call the shots. Whatever is done to the game plan, the players remain the same, which includes one of the top groups of receivers in the country.
Huff continues to play at a high level and was able to increase his touchdown production last season. No defense is capable of keeping up with Thomas, as he continues to lineup everywhere and makes plays in the passing game, and Lyerla continues to be one of the most underrated tight ends in the country.
Oregon isn't a team that is going to pass the ball a whole lot, but when quarterback Marcus Mariota does decide to let it fly, he has a handful of guys that can help him out.
2. Oklahoma State
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Key Receiver: Josh Stewart: 101 receptions, 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Blake Jackson: 29 receptions, 598 yards and three touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Charlie Moore and Austin Hays
It doesn't matter who is on the roster, as long as head coach Mike Gundy is helping out with the offense, guys are going to produce for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Last season was no different since four different players finished with more than 400 receiving yards. Three of those four receivers return, and that doesn't include Hays, who had five receptions of more than 25 receiving yards as a freshman last year.
There were a total of 20 different players who finished with at least one reception last season and the team averaged nearly 14 yards a catch.
Due to the star power of Stewart and the depth at the position, the Cowboys continue to have one of the best receiving corps in the country.
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Key Receiver: Amari Cooper: 58 receptions, 999 yards and 11 touchdowns
Next Guy in Line: Kevin Norwood: 29 receptions, 461 yards and four touchdowns
Players That Provide Valuable Depth: Kenny Bell and Chris Black
Cooper immediately stepped on the field in Tuscaloosa and showed that he can be that next great Alabama receiver. But he wasn't the only one, as Norwood took advantage of increased reps with the first team and Bell was productive when he was able to remain on the field and avoid a nagging injury.
Keep in mind, all of this offensive production was without Black, who was expected to contribute at a high level as a true-freshman before suffering a shoulder injury last spring.
This doesn't even include a five-star 2013 recruit in Robert Foster, who will step on the field in the fall.
Alabama has the speed, sure hands and a ridiculous amount of depth to be considered the top wide receiver corps in the entire country. It is going to be interesting to see which guys end up emerging from the pack for increased playing time in 2013.