The SEC’s top returners: Wide Receivers

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In the coming series, SDS will take a look at the SEC’s most productive returners over the next few weeks broken down by position. Next up are the wide receivers.

All positions:

The SEC returns three 1,000-yard receivers. Vandy’s Jordan Matthews is coming off a spectacular junior season where he registered 94 (94!) catches that led the conference. I named Mike Evans ‘Radius’ because he catches everything thrown his direction, and finally there’s Amari Cooper, who may be the best overall receiver in the country in 2013, coming off a spectacular and crucial showing as a freshman.

This is not a ranking, and it’s based on receiving yardage:

1. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
2012 stats: 94 catches for 1,323 yards and 8 TDs

2. Mike Evans, Texas A&M
2012 stats: 82 catches for 1,105 yards and 5 TDs

3. Amari Cooper, Alabama
2012 stats: 59 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 TDs

4. Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
2012 stats: 66 catches for 979 yards and 10 TDs

5. Chris Boyd, Vanderbilt
2012 stats: 50 catches for 774 yards and 5 TDs

6. Odell Beckham, LSU
2012 stats: 43 catches for 713 yards and 2 TDs

7. Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
2012 stats: 40 catches for 600 yards and 7 TDs

8. Jarvis Landry, LSU
2012 stats: 56 catches for 573 yards and 5 TDs

9. Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia
2012 stats: 40 catches for 572 yards and 4 TDs

10. Marcus Lucas, Missouri
2012 stats: 46 catches for 509 yards and 3 TDs

Alabama could have the best receiving corps in the country led by Cooper. Returning is Kevin Norwood, Kenny Bell and Christion Jones, along with a slew of other up-and coming youngsters. AJ McCarron’s options will be unlimited.

Arkansas has four primary receivers who will catch Brandon Allen’s passes. Demetrius Wilson, Julian Horton and Javontee Herndon are three to watch, but look out for rising sophomore Mekale McKay.

Auburn is still searching for their wide receivers. Jaylon Denson is really the only one to have locked up a starting job this spring, with Sammie Coates, Trovon Reed and Quan Bray, among others, looking to emerge more reliable and break into the starting role.

Much like Auburn, Florida is looking for someone – anyone – to emerge as a leading receiver. Look for Quinton Dunbar and freshman Demarcus Robinson to start this fall.

Georgia is stacked at receiver with Mitchell headlining the group. Michael Bennett returns from injury, and Chris Conley and Justin Scott-Wesley should be more reliable this fall. Aaron Murray will have weapons on the outside.

Kentucky is lacking in receiver depth, but Demarco Robinson has some of the best skill-sets of any receiver in the league. Also, DeMarcus Sweat should play a much bigger role in the new Air Raid offense in 2013.

LSU has a chance to have a sexy receiver tandem of Landry and Beckham, and don’t forget about solid contributor Kadron Boone. Beckham and Landry’s numbers will increase with a better passing game.

Robert Johnson, Jameon Lewis and Joe Morrow are the new trio Mississippi State and Tyler Russell are counting on. Each are solid contributors but not proven and inexperienced. Look for one to emerge as a legit receiver in the SEC.

Dorial Green-Beckham, Marcus Lucas and L’Damian Washington are a formidable trio for Missouri and James Franklin. However, DGB has more upside at receiver than anyone in the conference not named Donte Moncrief or Amari Cooper.

And speaking of Moncrief, he leads Ole Miss’ receivers and could be the best receiver in the conference right now. He headlines the group, but Vince Sanders and Ja-Mes Logan will have another big year for Bo Wallace.

The Gamecocks are looking for Ace Sanders’ replacement. While Bruce Ellington will be a solid contributor, Shaq Roland and Kwinton Smith have big futures ahead. Don’t think just because Sanders is gone that USC won’t have any legit receivers.

I would argue the weakest position of Tennessee’s team remains at receiver. Pig Howard and Vincent Dallas should make plays, but outside of those two, true freshmen will have to step in immediately.

Mike Evans leads a deep and talented receiving corps for the Aggies. Malcome Kennedy and a slew of newcomers will get their feet wet immediately in 2013. Watch out for transfer JaQuay Williams to have a big year.

The Commodores have one of the best one-two receiving options in the league. Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd combined for 144 catches for 2,097 yards and 13 touchdowns. Both are legit receivers and could start for any SEC team.

Photo Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

REFERENCES

COMMENTS

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  • Considering that Vanderbilt finished in the Top 20 last season, why is anyone saying that their receivers could start for any SEC team? They’re already starting for one of the top teams in the country.

    I’d say save that for a lower-tier team like Kentucky or Tennessee, but as you mentioned, they don’t really have anyone of that caliber, do they?

    • The perception of the program is changing, but many are quick to discount Matthews and Boyd. They are certainly two of the very best in this league. Matthews will be a first-round pick in 2014’s draft.

  • I sure hope “Money” Mitchell can stay healthy this season. With Bennett back and the possible emergence of Chris Conley and J. Rumph there should be a solid rotation of Targets going at all times for Murray. Not to mention Jay Rome, Artie Lynch and the “Baby Backs” who can all catch the ball at a high level.

  • Keep an eye out for Alshon’s brother this year. Melvin and Alshon came down and had a talk with Shamier and apparently Ole Head Ball Coach liked his change in attitude and play in the spring. He could become a favorite target along with Shaq and Bruce.

  • With Amari Cooper’s success last season, it’s easy to forget how he earned his starting role. DeAndrew White started the season at the X and performed greatly until his season-ending injury. Chris Black, who actually a higher prospect than Cooper, did not play in 2012 due to injury. Nonetheless, Alabama is loaded at the WR position, and will receive more help with incoming freshman OJ Howard (TE), Raheim Falkins, and Robert Foster (who will be the tallest WR on the roster).

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