Ranking the SEC’s top 10 wide receivers of the BCS era

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Related BCS Ranking:

The SEC isn’t known for its primo wide receivers. Other conferences and non-SEC schools have had more big-time receivers since 1998. But some great playmakers and receivers have come through the SEC during the BCS era.

Here are the 10-best:

1. Percy Harvin, Florida (2006-08)
Receiving stats: 133 catches, 1,929 yds, 13 TDs
Rushing stats: 1,852 yds, 19 TDs
Skinny: Harvin still remains the most electrifying playmaker in recent memory. Maybe he wasn’t the best pure receiver, but he was the definition of a playmaker. Harvin is the only player on the list who went 1,000/1,000 for his career, and he was Urban Meyer’s all-purpose animal. He could have played several positions on the field and excelled, because he was that gifted. No other player on this list combines the ability, size, speed or agility as Harvin, and to this day he – along with Tavon Austin – got to top speed faster than any player.

Related: Ranking the 2013 SEC wide receivers

2. AJ Green, Georgia (2008-10)
Receiving stats: 166 catches, 2,619 yds, 23 TD
Rushing stats: 105 yds
Skinny: Green combines the size, strength, jumping ability and hands to be one of the best receivers on paper, but he bottled that ability and made nearly every single catch thrown his way. Green led the SEC in receiving yards and touchdowns as a freshman and finished 6th in 2009. Had he not been suspended for four games in 2010, his numbers would have been even better.

3. Josh Reed, LSU (1999-2001)
Receiving stats: 167 catches, 3,001 yds, 17 TDs
Rushing stats: 63 yds, TD
Skinny: Reed may surprise some of you in the No. 3 slot, but don’t let it. His numbers may not blow you away, but the 2001 season stands as one of the best in SEC history. Reed nabbed 94 catches for 1,740 yards and seven touchdowns. He won the Biletnikoff Award and was an All-American.

4. Julio Jones, Alabama (2008-10)
Receiving stats: 179 catches, 2,653 yds, 15 TDs
Rushing stats: 139 yds, 2 TDs
Skinny: From a strictly physical standpoint, few are more talented than Jones. He owns the most receptions in one season for any Bama receiver with 78 and finished second in history for receiving yards. Jones helped the Tide win the 2009 national championship, but I’d take Harvin, Green and Reed before Jones in college. Call me crazy.

5. Dwayne Bowe, LSU (2003-06)
Receiving stats: 154 catches, 2,403 yds, 26 TDs
Skinny: Bowe is up there with Green and Jones as far as physical talents. He finished 6th in receptions in LSU history and 6th in receiving yards. Bowe scored 26 touchdowns in just three years of work. He was a rare talent who can still be found playing on Sundays.

6. Terrence Edwards, Georgia (1999-2002)
Receiving stats: 204 catches, 3,093 yds, 30 TDs
Return stats: 285 yds
Skinny: The forgotten man on the list, Edwards sits fourth in SEC history with 204 catches, and his 3,093 receiving yards top SEC history. He was a part of the 2002 SEC Championship team. He went undrafted in the NFL.

7. Jabar Gaffney, Florida (2000-01)
Receiving stats: 138 catches, 2,375 yds, 27 TDs
Skinny: Gaffney sits 7th in SEC history with 27 receiving touchdowns, but he was electric in the Fun ‘N Gun offense. He was a first-team All-SEC and first-team All-American in 2000-01. He was a second-round pick with the Texans in 2002.

8. Sidney Rice, South Carolina (2005-06)
Receiving stats: 142 catches, 2,233 yds, 23 TDs
Skinny: Rice posted 1,143 yards and 13 touchdowns as a freshman in 2005, second to Alshon Jeffery’s single-season receiving record at SC. Rice is tied with Jeffery for most receiving touchdowns in Carolina history. He remains an underrated star, because we only saw two seasons of Rice.

9. Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt (2005-07)
Receiving stats: 236 catches, 2,852 yds, 20 TDs
Return stats: 586 yds
Skinny: Bennett owns the SEC’s career receptions record with 236, and he was the first SEC receiver to record 75 catches in three different seasons. He was a staple in the passing game for the Dores and never truly gets the credit he deserves.

10. Robert Meachem, Tennessee (2004-06)
Receiving stats: 125 catches, 2,140 yds, 17 TDs
Skinny: The No. 10 slot was tough between Robert Meachem, DJ Hall and Kenny McKinley, but I’m going with Meachem. He led the team in receiving all three seasons, and 2006 was Meachem’s breakout year, where he finally put it all together. He had a career-high 71 catches for a Tennessee-high 1,298 yards and 11 touchdowns. Meachem remains third all-time on the Vols’ receiving list, behind Joey Kent, Marcus Nash and Peerless Price. That’s great company.

Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

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  • I Tyrone Prothro had not broken his leg, where do you think he would have ended up on this list???

  • A ranking without Bumer holding the top spot?

    Watch out or Little Nicky Satan is going to quit sending you autograph photos of himself.

    • Someone is mad because Alabama and company have had the top talent. You must be a Ohio State or ND fan.

    • Yeah, he mad. :-D

      Poor guy…the seething frustration must be overwhelming. I’m guessing he’s more likely an Auburn or LSU fan than a Ohio State or ND one. There’s that slight tinge of rage that only comes from repeated vexation and stifling envy.

  • I’d have gone with a guy with 13 more catches, 10 more yards, and 10 more touchdowns than Mecham for 10th…. Marcus Monk.

  • Alshon Jeffery has more receptions and yards than AJ Green and same number of TDs. He was also a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top WR), a distinction no other person on your list can claim except winner Josh Reed.

  • One thing that gets overlooked regarding Josh Reed, when he got to LSU, he was a RB. He didn’t become a receiver until the last 4 games of his redshirt fresman season. That season, he only had 8 catches for 134 yards. So his stats listed in this article mainly came in only 2 seasons. I think he should top the list as far as pure receivers go. He wasn’t the fastest receiver but by late in his Junior year, he was virtually unguardable as evidenced by his 19 reception, 293 yard performance at bama, both setting SEC records. He also left LSU as the SEC leader in receptions, yards and ypc for a season as well as being the SEC career leader for receiving yards.

  • What about Jarius Wright or Joe Adams? They could both be considered compelling candidates for a top 10 ranking here.

  • True, Harvin was a playmaker all over the field, but AJ Green is the best pure receiver of this bunch. Also have to agree with the poster who mentioned Alshon Jeffery. If Jeffery had been on the right team, he could easily be in the top 3, if not the best receiver on this list. I was very relieved when that guy left.

  • As a South Carolina fan, I would have ranked Alshon Jeffery (2009-2011) over Sidney Rice. Alshon set several individual records at SC and was a human highlight reel of one-handed catches. He caught a few game winners as well.

    • Rice was better to me. He did close to what Jefferey but in just 2 years. A lot of other USC fans will agree with you but I think it was b/c of it being more recent and winning more games at the time.

  • Uhmm, not a bad list, but you left off Alshon Jeffrey and I would say that fi you are going to include Julio Jones because of his ‘physical attributes’ while clearly lacking the numbers that other SEC greats have put up, then Jeffrey should have landed on your list also. Just saying.

    • Uhhh what haha Julio Jones’ numbers are right up there with all of the other guys? Not quite as many TDs but he had the 3rd most receiving yards on the list haha.

  • I could be wrong here, but does Harvin take top spot on a receiving list because of rushing stats? There may should be a separate list for “electrifying play-makers” or dual threat rushing/receiving guys. Speaking of great receivers; what about Alshon Jeffrey?

    • Agreed. You can’t boost Harvin because of his ‘electrifying ability’ as a running back and returner because that’s not what this category is about.

      • Then what is the category about? Wide Receivers? Harvin was never a return man. He took hand offs from the slot, but he wasn’t return man. Harvin was a receiver, correct? Then he belongs in the category.

  • Gotta mention my boy Dexter McCluster, only because Harvin is #1 & McCluster was the same all-purpose freak that Percy was. Also, McCluster primarily played defensive back his first 2 years, so he basically did all his damage in his final 2 years: 304 Carries, 2,044 yds., & 15 TD’s and 130 carches, 1,703 yds., & 7 TD’s. Counting returns, had almost 5,000 all-purpose yds.

  • DJ Hall 2923 career yards. When Alabama was not as good…..better than Julio in the college game.

  • You’re not crazy .. at least today. :) Your take on Julio is dead on. AJ is the best WR, so I would disagree with Harvin. Julio is good, but AJ is in another class, right up there with Jerry Rice and a few others.

  • The article title is top 10 WIDE RECIEVERS of the BCS era. Therefore Harvin’s rushing/returning stats should not be taken into account. Yes Harvin was a good wide receiver, but better than AJ Green? No. Green, had about 700 more yards than Harvin and 10 more touchdowns. AJ should be number 1 on this list.He made incredible play after play. He would catch any ball that was within a 20 feet radius.of him Also surprised to not see Alshon Jeffery on this list.

    • So we should penalize Harvin for the offense he played in? Come on.

      • There is no penalizing, it’s like trying to rank the best shooters in basketball and taking their defensive skills and stats into account. Like, that was not the category, therefore the stat should not be able to boost you in the standings at that certain category (Wide Receiver). It says best WR’s not best WR/RB’s.

  • If this is by potential I think for all means Tyrone Protho should be on this list, had some of the best potential I have seen in a WR. And Percy was a good WR but I don’t think he is the best Wr ( no doubt few can match his total play making ability) but when I think of WRs I think of catching not Running the ball. So in my opinion AJ Green should be on top, but still a great list

  • Wow there’s a pretty conspicuous absence from this list. Let’s see…

    Played from 2009-2011
    #2 ALL-TIME in SEC Career recieving yards (3,042)
    #2 ALL-TIME in SEC Single-Season recieving yards (1,517 in 2010)
    #13 ALL-TIME in SEC Career Catches (183)
    #4 ALL-TIME in SEC Single-Season Catches (88 in 2010)
    All-American
    Biletnikoff Award Finalist

    I’m talking about Alshon Jeffery of course. I assume that his absence from this list is a result of some sort of inadverdent oversight, because it is obvious to anyone with a pulse he should have been included.