SEC Football: The Top 15 Wide Receivers in SEC History

Colin KirschnerContributor IIMarch 29, 2011

SEC Football: The Top 15 Wide Receivers in SEC History

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    Looking at past SEC receiving statistics, there's a vast group of guys who could fall under the category of the top 15 wide receivers in SEC history. 

    With the SEC expansion in 1992, the conference made a statement—in addition to two teams, there was a divisional alignment of East and West, resulting in the first conference football championship game.

    Adding a premier game only helped the schools in recruiting star talent to be televised weekly across the country.

    Inside we'll look at the best receivers in SEC history statistically speaking, because that is what makes them the top receivers in conference history.

15. Dwayne Bowe, LSU

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    From 2003 to 2006, Dwayne Bowe wasn't the best receiver in the country, but he was one of the best in the SEC.

    Bowe had a knack for touchdowns, currently ranked third all time in SEC receiving touchdowns with 26 and ranked first in LSU history.

    For a receiver to score that many times, he has to have good hands and Bowe certainly did, pulling in 154 receptions—ranking No. 18 all time in the SEC.

    Last but not least, he accumulated 2,403 receiving yards, ranking No. 13 all time in the SEC.

14. Ike Hillard, Florida

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    Ike Hillard played for the Florida Gators from 1994 to 1996, where he constantly put points on the board and was a part of the school's first national championship team.

    He finished his career at Florida with 126 receptions for 2,214 yards, and with 29 touchdowns he is tied for third all-time in SEC history.

13. Sidney Rice, South Carolina

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    Sidney Rice was a beast at South Carolina.

    In his freshman season he finished with 1,143 yards, ranking 14th in SEC history for yards gained in a season. He also scored 13 touchdowns, which ties for eighth all-time in a season.

    The following season he tied an SEC single game record for touchdown receptions, with five against Florida Atlantic.

    There was no question when Sidney Rice played for the Gamecocks that he was one of the elite receivers in college football, ranking 18th in SEC career touchdowns with 23.

12. Michael Clayton, LSU

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    Michael Clayton played only three seasons at LSU, however he put together some very good numbers during his time in Baton Rouge.

    He ties for 15th all time in the SEC for career receptions with 182 and with a single season performance of 1,079 yards on 78 receptions.

    He finished 16th overall in the SEC for career reception yards with 2,582.

    Not to mention he is the only player in LSU history to have at least 700 yards receiving in three straight seasons.

    Before Dwayne Bowe, Clayton also held the record for career touchdown receptions with 21 before Bowe's new record of 26 in 2006.

11. Dan Stricker, Vanderbilt

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    Dan Stricker was a big receiver at 6'3" with solid hands, and from 1999 to 2002 he hauled in 182 receptions—which is tied for 15th all-time in the SEC for career receptions.

    In 2000 he finished with 1,079 yards on 65 receptions, ranking in the top 20 all-time for a single season.

    That same season he averaged 98.1 yards receiving per game, ranked 16th in the SEC.  Even more impressive was his SEC seventh best career average of 75.3 yards per game.

    While he was not much of a threat scoring wise, Stricker helped set up plenty of situations for the Commodores to put up points.

10. Julio Jones, Alabama

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    Julio Jones ranks 14th all-time in SEC history for receiving yards in a career (2,653).  Along with his yardage, he pulled in 179 balls ranking 17th in SEC career history. 

    Jones wasn't the most reliable when it came to scoring as he finished with only 15 career touchdowns, but he sure was a handful for opposing defenses.

9. Terrence Edwards, Georgia

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    From 1999 to 2002, Terrence Edwards played at the University of Georgia. In those three seasons he caught 204 passes for 3,093 yards and 30 touchdowns.

    His receiving yards are an SEC career record, he ranks second all-time in touchdowns and his receptions are ranked fourth.

    Edwards had a very successful career at Georgia to say the least.

8. Robert Meachem, Tennessee

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    Robert Meachem played at the University of Tennessee from 2004 to 2006, where he became just the sixth player in school history to gain more than 2,000 yards receiving.

    In 2006 he set a new school record for a single-season in receiving yards, with 1,298 yards.

    That same season he averaged 99.8 yards receiving per game, giving quarterback Erik Ainge a reliable target.

7. Kenny McKinley, South Carolina

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    In 2007 for the South Carolina Gamecocks, Kenny McKinley snagged 77 balls (a then school record), eventually finishing his career third all-time in the SEC for receptions, with 207.

    With some of the best hands that the SEC has ever seen, he set a school record with 14 receptions against Tennessee and a career-best, 151 yards.

    In addition to above, he became the 12th player in SEC history to record more than 2,700 receiving yards.

6. Jabar Gaffney, Florida

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    Jabar Gaffney played just two seasons at Florida from 2000 to 2001, totaling 23 games.

    He was a two time first-team All-SEC selection with one first-team All-American selection in 2001.

    During his tenure at Florida, Gaffney was a touchdown machine, scoring 27 times, which ranks seventh all time in the SEC.

    Additionally, Gaffney holds the ninth and 10th most yards gained in a single SEC season with 1,191 yards in 2001 and 1,184 yards in 2000, with an end result of the highest SEC career average of yards per game with 103.3 yards.

5. A.J Green, Georgia

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    In 2008, A.J. Green set a Georgia freshman record with 56 receptions for 963 yards and eight touchdowns.  

    From then on out Green became one the games elite receivers and known for a quick burst and amazing hands.

    Finishing his career ranked 16th all time in the SEC for receiving yards (2,619), Green dominated on offense totaling 23 touchdowns—tying for 18th in SEC history. 

    Oh, and he still did this despite being suspended the first four games of the 2010 season.

4. Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt

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    Earl Bennett is the career leader in receptions with 236 for the SEC, a task that requires great hand-eye coordination.

    Through his first two seasons at Vanderbilt he totaled more receptions than any other player in SEC history during a two year span, eventually becoming the first ever SEC receiver to haul in 75 receptions in three different seasons.

    Adding to his historic career, he has five single games ranked in the top 20 for catches in a game and is ranked in the top 20 two times for receptions in a season.

    Though he didn't score the most touchdowns (20 for his career), Bennett's ability to posses the football was remarkable.

3. DJ Hall, Alabama

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    DJ Hall once caught 13 balls in one game for 185 yards against Tennessee. 

    He went on to finish his career at Alabama as the SEC's eighth all-time in career receptions with 194.

    He holds the SEC's fourth most career receiving yards with 2,923 and was the first Alabama player to record five straight 100-yard receiving games.

    In his final season in 2007, Hall set school records for most career catches, touchdowns and receiving yards.

    Even with just 17 career touchdowns, Hall was a constant threat with the ball in his hands, constantly putting the Tide up in good situations.

2. Craig Yeast, Kentucky

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    From 1995 to 1998, Craig Yeast dominated the passing game in the SEC for the Kentucky Wildcats.

    Rounding out his career, he was the all-time leader in career receptions in history of the SEC (208)—now ranking second—and was second in career receiving yards (2,899)—now ranked fifth best.

    In 1998 he caught 16 balls against Vanderbilt—setting a then SEC record for yards in a game with 269—and had the sixth most receptions (85) for an SEC season.  

    In addition he set the fourth highest record for receptions in a season, with 1,311 and averaged 119.2 yards a game, good for fifth best all-time.

    Coming to conclusion of a great career, Yeast ranks sixth in SEC history for career touchdowns with 28, showing that he did it all for the Wildcats.

1. Josh Reed

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    Originally a running back at LSU in the early 2000's, Josh Reed evolved into arguably one of the best receivers in college football history.

    Playing just two seasons at receiver, he is second all-time in the SEC for career receiving yards (3,001), holds the SEC single season record for receiving yards per game (145) and is second in career receiving yards per game (96.8).

    In 2001 versus Alabama, Reed set an SEC single game record with 293 receiving yards on 19 receptions—also an SEC record.

    That same season he set conference records with 1,740 yards gained on 94 receptions, averaging 18.5 yards per reception—the highest average with a minimum of 70 receptions.

    To conclude his short time of success, Reed was awarded the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's best receiver.