Proven tandem wide receivers – and quarterbacks – aren’t a known commodity heading into 2014. The SEC’s premier duo in 2013 – Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry – left early for the NFL, and several other star wide receivers also took their talents to the NFL.
So, who can we expect to be formidable and dangerous duos in 2014?
Glad you asked. Let’s take a look at five of them, with others who can jump into the top five:
1. Sammie Coates and D’haquille Williams, Auburn
Coates’ 2013 stats: 42 catches for 902 yards (21.5 YPC) and 7 TDs
The Skinny: Sammie Coates may be the best receiver the conference has to offer in 2014, and now, he has a formidable partner in crime, JUCO transfer D’haquille Williams. Coates averaged an eye-popping 21.5 yards per catch last season on a team-high 42 catches. Knowing the limitations the passing game had under first-year QB Nick Marshall, the development of the air attack will improve this season. Add in a receiver and dynamic athlete like Duke Williams, as evidenced by just the spring game, and scoreboard numbers could get even more crooked.
2. Amari Cooper and DeAndrew White, Alabama
2013 combined stats: 77 catches for 1,270 yards and 8 TDs
The Skinny: If you give me one receiver, I’ll take Amari Cooper. Cooper’s explosiveness is second to none, and he can burn you by getting to top speed in about two steps. Coop caught 45 passes for 736 yards and four touchdowns, 14 less catches, 264 less yards and seven less touchdowns than his freshman season. Although Christion Jones is a more explosive player overall than DeAndrew White, White should have better numbers and is a nice complement to Cooper’s game. White caught 32 passes for 534 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 16.7 yards per catch.
3. Jameon Lewis and De’Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State
2013 combined stats: 90 catches for 1,274 yards and 8 TDs
The Skinny: Production! That’s what these two receivers will create for MSU’s offense and QB Dak Prescott. I love Jameon Lewis’ game, and he scored touchdowns three different ways last season: passing, rushing and catching. Lewis caught a team-high 64 passes for 923 yards and five touchdowns, going off in the Liberty Bowl with nine catches for 220 yards. De’Runnya Wilson could be one of the biggest risers this season. Just a freshman last year, Wilson caught 26 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns, and he’s ready to have a huge breakout season.
4. Laquon Treadwell and Vince Sanders, Ole Miss
2013 combined stats: 93 catches for 933 yards and 6 TDs
The Skinny: If not for Sammie Coates or Amari Cooper, one could make a very strong case for Laquon Treadwell to be the premier pass catcher in the league. He caught more passes than Coates, Cooper or White with 72 for 608 yards and five touchdowns. He flashed amazing potential, and his game is about to go to another level this season. Vince Sanders’ numbers were minimized last season due to a broken collarbone suffered in preseason practice. Sanders caught 21 passes for 325 yards and one touchdown in eight games. Knowing Bo Wallace should put a nice year together through the air, Treadwell and Sanders will be a nice duo.
5. Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Conley, Georgia
Conley’s 2013 stats: 45 catches for 651 yards and 4 TDs
The Skinny: Georgia’s explosive duo is more of a wildcard. Although Malcolm Mitchell is packed with potential, he’s had a tough time staying healthy. Prior to last year’s injury suffered in the first game, Mitchell caught 85 passes for 1,237 yards and eight touchdowns his first two seasons, while struggling from injury and also playing cornerback. In Mitchell’s absence, Conley really became the biggest threat in the receiving corps, catching 45 passes for 651 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 14.5 yards per reception. Under Hutson Mason, the receivers could thrive.
A few who have a chance to jump into the conversation:
- Marquez North and Von Pearson, Tennessee: One could easily insert Josh Malone with Marquez North. Quarterback play could hold back the explosive numbers.
- Ricky Seals-Jones and Malcome Kennedy, Texas A&M: Kennedy is a steady performer, while Ricky Seals-Jones is the total package when healthy.
- Damiere Byrd and Shaq Roland, South Carolina: I really like the Byrd-Roland combo, but I want to see more out of Roland. 2014 could be the year these two put up serious numbers with a pocket passer in Dylan Thompson.
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