College Football 2011: 5 True Freshman Receivers with Breakout Potential

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIIJune 2, 2011

College Football 2011: 5 True Freshman Receivers with Breakout Potential

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    COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 13:  A.J. Green #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs tries to break a tackle by Carlos Thomas #5 of the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game September 13, 2008 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    With every new college football season comes breakout players at every position, including a few true freshman that make you wonder how they didn't score on every single play just a year before while in high school.

    One of the most exciting positions to see this happen is wide receiver.

    Although the 2010 season saw very few breakout performances at the receiver position (one being Kenny Stills of Oklahoma), seasons past have shown a multiple of these performances, such as 2008 with A.J. Green of Georgia and Julio Jones of Alabama.

    2011 could ultimately be no different than 2010, but it might resemble the exciting 2008 example. Either way, with this group of recruits, there is potential.

    Here are five true freshmen receivers who could light the college football world on fire in 2011.

    Source: Rivals.com, Google Images

5. Jamal Turner, Nebraska

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    Recruited as a quarterback, Jamal Turner has been high on Nebraska's radar since his junior year of high school, and he was one of the first from the 2011 draft class to commit.

    Little did Husker Nation know he would dazzle in his first glorified scrimmage as a Husker.

    As amazing as his 4-catch, 92-yard, 1-touchdown spring game performance was—which also included a punt return for 59 yards and a kickoff return for 52 yards—the most incredible fun fact was that he had never played receiver before in his life, until the Under Armour All-American game during his senior year of high school.

    Watching him meet the high point of the ball and slice through one of the nation's saltiest defenses, you'd never guess it.

    Turner brings his skill set to one of the most unproven receiving corps in the country, and already he looks like one of the team's best. He'll have every opportunity to be a major contributor in 2011, so long as the Huskers find a way to get him the ball.

4. Jaxon Shipley, Texas

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    Jaxon Shipley is the brother of former Longhorns standout Jordan Shipley, now with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Based on those bloodlines alone, Jaxon will no doubt be a heck of a football player.

    On top of that, the Longhorns have a lot of unproven talent at the receiver position and could use a guy like Jaxon to help ease the pressure on whoever starts at quarterback.

    He racked up over 100 catches and 1,700 yards and score 16 touchdowns over his final two years of high school, and if he has the overachiever-type of personality that his brother had, he'll be a significant contributor early in his career.

    I won't be surprised if he is in the starting rotation in his freshman season.

3. Trey Metoyer, Oklahoma

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    Although he will have to battle some young guns, Trey Metoyer will have the opportunity to get early playing time, much like Kenny Stills was able to in 2010.

    And while Stills and All-American candidate Ryan Broyles will be stealing a lot of receptions, Oklahoma throws enough that Metoyer will have his chances.

    Touted as having superior ball skills, Metoyer racked up an unbelievable 108 catches, 1,540 yards and 23 touchdowns in his senior high school season alone.

    Rated a 5-star player, the Texas native could be turning heads in Norman, Oklahoma.

2. George Farmer, USC

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    The No. 1-rated receiver in the nation by Rivals, George Farmer joins a team with some immense talent at his position, including former 5-star prospects Robert Woods, Ronald Johnson and Markeith Ambles.

    But Farmer seems to be touted as one of the elite's elite, right up there with A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson.

    With quarterback Matt Barkley set to make significant strides in the passing game, Farmer may be just what he needs.

    While Woods, Johnson, Ambles, and Farmer should all accumulate significant numbers to form one of the nation's best receiving corps, Farmer may stand out as the secondary difference-maker behind Woods.

1. Sammy Watkins, Clemson

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    Outside of DeAndre Hopkins, the Clemson Tigers had little at the receiver position before their huge 2011 recruiting haul brought in Sammy Watkins and Charone Peake.

    Although either one of these players (or even both) could have a breakout 2011 season, my bet is on Watkins.

    The 5-star prospect from Florida has been compared to NFL receiver Joey Galloway, who had several good years with Seattle, Dallas and Tampa Bay and is in the late stages of a career that has produced 701 catches, over 10,000 yards and 77 touchdowns.

    Watkins impressed at the US Army All-American Bowl and was said to be the East's top receiver throughout the week.

    A player of his caliber could easily go into his freshman year at Clemson as a starter. It will be a surprise if he isn't at least a significant contributor from Week 1 on.