Published July 30, 2012 - 8:00am
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SDS is getting into the Olympic spirit, and the ceremonies carry us just about right into the start of football season. We will be handing out SEC Podium Awards for the top three players at each position. Next up are the wide receivers.
Two wide receivers eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark last season. One of those returns – Da’Rick Rogers – and one – Jarius Wright – has gone onto the NFL. Wide receivers who can make plays after the catch are a luxury and are not to be taken for granted.
Gold: Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee
Few wide receivers around the country – or at the next level – are as physically gifted as Tennessee’s Da’Rick Rogers. For a guy who is built like a truck and can make virtually any catch on the field and break tackles, he is an extreme luxury for the Vols. And boy did he put up some numbers last year. Early on when fellow receiver Justin Hunter went down with a knee injury, Rogers stepped up his game and became Tyler Bray’s go-to guy. Rogers amassed 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns on the year, to go along with his busty 87.7 receiving yards per game. But in addition to the crooked numbers he posts in the box score, there have been some questions and concerns regarding his attitude. He was suspended after last year’s season. Some say he is selfish and some say he doesn’t care. I truly think he can overcome the ‘tude problems, grow up and be the player Tennessee needs him to be. If so, he will be the complete package destined for a long career at the next level.
Silver: Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas
Cobi Hamilton emerges as the Hogs’ senior leader this year, with his three fellow comrades for the last three years now playing on Sundays. His senior leadership will be key in a young and inexperienced receiving corps. Hamilton caught 34 passes for 542 yards and three touchdowns. He steps in as Tyler Wilson’s go-to receiver. Experience and athletic talent could make Hamilton a first-round draft pick come next spring. I think Hamilton really emerges as one of the best receivers in the country this year really puts up some numbers. But we all know defenses will game plan around Hamilton, and that’s where his leadership will be key in helping develop the younger players. He has posted 1,519 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns in his career. Look for him to really better those numbers this year.
Bronze: Ryan Swope, Texas A&M
Ryan Swope? Who? SEC fans will become accustomed to Swope making plays in his senior season. He certainly has put up some crazy numbers playing the Big 12 – 180 catches for 2,204 yards and 16 touchdowns for his career. Last year alone, he caught 89 passes for 1,207 yards – both single-season school records. Those are truly gaudy numbers for a receiver who is not as physically imposing or impressive as others. All he does is make big catches and grind it out throughout the course of a game. TAMU got a treat when he decided to stay for his senior season. He’ll be a weapon in Kevin Sumlin’s offense.