1. Johnny Manziel to Mike Evans, Texas A&M
2012 stats (from Manziel): 82 catches for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns
Lowdown: Aside from Tyler Bray, Johnny Manziel had the most passing attempts with 434 in the SEC. Combine that with Kevin Sumlin’s electrifying offense that puts up numbers through the air and Mike ‘The Radius’ Evans who catches everything in sight, and you have a nasty quarterback-receiver duo. I’m not saying that Manziel is even the best signal caller or Evans is the best pure receiver, but add in the up-tempo air attack offense and, together, they are deadly. Also when you factor in that Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu are gone, Evans now becomes the primary target for Manziel in 2013. Ninety-five plus catches for Evans should be attainable.
2. AJ McCarron to Amari Cooper, Alabama
2012 stats (from McCarron): 59 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns
Lowdown: Alabama has a wealth of talent at receiver, and they arguably have the most explosive combo in AJ McCarron and Amari Cooper. Cooper, to me, is the second best receiver in the country behind USC’s Marqise Lee. Factor in one of the most decorated quarterbacks with one of the best deep balls in the game, and it’s a sick, sick duo. Go ahead and expect to hear McCarron to Cooper much more this year, especially knowing Cooper really didn’t get going until later in the season.
3. Aaron Murray to Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia
2012 stats (from Murray): 40 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns
Lowdown: Georgia has a chance to have the best combo by season’s end, but questions surround Malcolm Mitchell entering the year. Can he handle the primary receiving role? Tavarres King has been Murray’s bread and butter on deep balls, as he averaged over 22 yards per catch, while Mitchell averaged slightly over 14. Mitchell has a load of talent, but he hasn’t lived up to his capability yet, and that should excite UGA fans. Mitchell is returning from offseason surgery on his torn meniscus.
4. Bo Wallace to Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
2012 stats (from Wallace): 66 catches for 979 yards and 10 touchdowns
Lowdown: I love Donte Moncrief as a receiver, but Bo Wallace was too erratic for me at times last season. His 22 touchdowns looked picture perfect one drive, but his 17 INTs showed he was much too careless with the ball. I do think both will have bigger years next season, and Wallace will have more weapons to throw to, limiting the number of catches Moncrief will have. This offense, however, stands to take a big step forward in 2013, thanks in part to an added year of experience from Wallace and Moncrief.
5. Zach Mettenberger to Odell Beckham, LSU
2012 stats (from Mettenberger): 43 catches for 713 yards and two touchdowns
Lowdown: LSU’s offense stands to improve in ‘13, thanks to new OC Cam Cameron. Zach Mettenberger enters his senior season and has two veteran receivers in Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry to throw to. However, Beckham looks like he has a higher ceiling. Mett should improve his feel for the offense as the season wears on, but I do expect the passing game to be improved, which means the Mettenberger to Beckham combo will be one to watch.
Wildcard: James Franklin to Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri
2012 stats: 28 catches for 395 yards and five touchdowns
Lowdown: If Missouri can ever figure out its quarterback situation, Dorial Green-Beckham will have big seasons. He’s arguably the most physically gifted receiver, certainly in the SEC and maybe the country. But he’s useless unless they can get him the football. Missouri has more options at quarterback, including fast-riser Maty Mauk, than Franklin should he not perform well for the Tigers in 2013.
Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports