The Dope 10: College Football Wide ReceiversAugust 3, 2012
by: The Starting QB, CJ Oates
In 2011, the NCAA was spoiled at the wide receiver position with play makers like Ryan Broyles, Justin Blackmon, and Michael Floyd. In 2012, there are not as many household names but that does not mean there are not any breakout players waiting for their chance. Here are ten names that you should watch for this upcoming season.
10. Justin Hunter, Tennessee
Yes, I am aware his season was cut short due to an injury. The question is are you aware that he is coming back to team up with Da’Rick Rogers and Tyler Bray? If Hunter stays healthy, I expect more of what I saw in the two games he played in which he caught 13 passes for 314 yards. The duo of Hunter and Rogers could put up huge numbers in 2012. They may even give the USC duo a battle for the top spot.
9. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M
Swope will be missing Ryan Tannehill throwing him the ball, but Swope should put up numbers similar to last season’s 1,207 yards. He has a thing or two he could improve on like his route running ability and his speed. The one thing you can not knock him for are his hands. Look for another under the radar productive season.
8. Marqise Lee
Lee is the first part of the best receiving duo in the country. Lee, last season’s, earned Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors. What is wild about his freshman season was his final four games in which Lee caught an unbelievable 39 passes for 609 yards. With QB, Matt Barkely, still under center and Woods on the opposite side of the field, watch out Pac-12.
7. Da’rick Rogers
After Hunter went down, Rogers became the go to guy early. With Tyler Bray delivering him the ball, he quickly flourished. Rodgers caught 67 passes for 1,040 yards. A healthy Bray this season should yield even more. What helps him the most is his size. Rogers is listed as 6’3″ 215lbs which makes him nearly unstoppable off the line. Good luck with stopping him in the red zone.
6. Marquees Wilson
Wilson has had over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons. With Mike Leach as the coach of the Cougars, I don’t expect anything less from him. Wilson is probably the most underrated guy on this list as he averaged a staggering 115 yards per game. Look for this guy to shoot up draft boards.
5. Tavon Austin
The little guy literally exploded on the field last season. Austin caught 101 passes for 1,186 yards. Not only is he a threat catching the ball, but he is a threat when getting the ball out of the backfield. I hope defensive coordinators in the Big 12 took notice of what Tavon did in the Orange Bowl last season, because there will be a lot more of that.
4. Kenny Stills
After Ryan Broyles went down last season, Stills looked like he was a man ready for the new role as the go to guy of the team. Now that he understands his role, Landry Jones will rely on Stills to help him rebound from his late season let down. For that reason, you can look for Stills to finally top 1,000 yards receiving. His work ethic combined with his natural ability, I can easily see Stills being a contender for the Bilentnikoff Award.
3. Keenan Allen
If you are looking for the lone bright spot for the Cal Bears, then here it is. Allen is coming off a very productive season with 98 catches for 1,343. He even went over 100 yards receiving for five of his first six games last season. He will be coming back to play with his half brother at quarterback (Zach Maynard) so look for another big season from Allen.
2. Sammy Watkins
Last season’s freshman sensation who turned heads is back for his sophomore season. Don’t look for a sophomore slump from the phenom. He still has veteran quarterback Tajh Boyd still throwing him the ball. I know Watkins could possibly miss time over his off the field issues, but that does not diminish his ability on the field.
1. Robert Woods
Easily the most well known guy on this list. He could have went pro after this past season but he decided to come back and play for a national championship. His great route running ability helps him to get open. If you add that to his speed and his great hands, you have a heck of a receiver. He splashed on the scene last season with 111 catches and 1,292 yards. I can’t imagine what this season will look like with Matt Barkley still under center.