Ranking the top 10 SEC wide receivers in the BCS era
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When you think SEC football, wide receiver is probably not the first position group you think of. But in the BCS era, it’s arguably one of their strongest areas of the past 16 years. From Josh Reed to AJ Green to current stars like Amari Cooper and Laquon Treadwell, some of the SEC’s biggest stars have been wide receivers.
Here are the 10-best:
1. Percy Harvin, Florida (2006-08)
Receiving stats: 133 catches, 1,929 yds, 13 TD
Rushing stats: 1,852 yds, 19 TD
The lowdown: In terms of receiving numbers, Harvin doesn’t rank as high as the other guys on this list, but Harvin’s impact extended way past just the receiving game. Harvin was used in every which way for Urban Meyer and he was practically untouchable as one of the SEC’s fastest players ever. Although he shared the field with Tim Tebow, you could argue he’s been Florida’s most irreplaceable player considering the Gators have yet to have a strong receiving corps since Harvin left for the NFL. Perhaps what’s most impressive is that Harvin managed to dominate 2009 BCS Championship in the midst of a nagging ankle injury. He tallied 181 total yards and a rushing touchdown and forever cemented his legacy as one of the most dynamic playmakers to put on a SEC uniform.
2. AJ Green, Georgia (2008-10)
Receiving stats: 166 catches, 2,619 yds, 23 TD
Rushing stats: 105 yds
The lowdown: When you think about a the ideal wide receiver, you think of a player like AJ Green. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Green’s combination of size, strength, jumping ability, speed and hands were unparalleled during his time at Georgia. He made an instant impact as a freshman, leading the conference in receiving yards and touchdowns. Despite team’s often double or even triple teaming him at times, Green still dominated opposing defensive backs. He was virtually unstoppable.
3. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (2010-13)
Receiving stats: 262 catches, 3,759 yds, 24 TD
Rushing stats: 115 yds
The lowdown: It might come as a shock to you to see a Vanderbilt player ranked so high since the program has been mediocre, but Jordan Matthews was the truth. In his four-year career with the ‘Dores, Matthews set the SEC record for career receptions and receiving yards. He holds virtually every Vanderbilt receiving record and garnered First-Team All-SEC and All-American honors his senior year. Because he played at Vanderbilt, Matthews may have been the best receiver you never heard of, but he’s absolutely one of the conference’s best in the BCS era.
4. Josh Reed, LSU (1999-2001)
Receiving stats: 167 catches, 3,001 yds, 17 TD
Rushing stats: 63 yds, TD
The lowdown: Reed comes in at No. 4 on our list. 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.
5. Julio Jones, Alabama (2008-10)
Receiving stats: 179 catches, 2,653 yds, 15 TD
Rushing stats: 139 yds, 2 TD
The lowdown: He owns the most receptions in one season for any Bama receiver with 78 and finished second in history for receiving yards. Jones was apart of the triad of top-tier wide receivers in the SEC alongside AJ Green and Alshon Jeffery and helped lead the Crimson Tide to the 2009 National Championship. He was later drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft as the sixth overall pick, just two selections after Green.
6. Terrence Edwards, Georgia (1999-2002)
Receiving stats: 204 catches, 3,093 yds, 30 TD
Return stats: 285 yds
The lowdown: Edwards’ career receiving yards record was broken in 2013, but the Georgia wideout remains one of the best in the BCS era. Apart of Georgia’s 2002 SEC Championship team, Edwards was as sure-handed as they come with 204 catches and a scoring machine with 30 touchdowns – the second-highest on this list.
7. Jabar Gaffney, Florida (2000-01)
Receiving stats: 138 catches, 2,375 yds, 27 TD
The lowdown: Plenty of Florida wide receivers made their mark in Steve Spurrier’s Fun ‘N Gun offense, but Gaffney stands out as one of the best in the BCS era. He finished his career seventh in SEC history with 27 receiving touchdowns despite playing only two seasons. His accolades include a first-team All-SEC and All-American selection in 2001.
8. Randall Cobb, Kentucky (2008-10)
Receiving stats: 144 catches, 1,661 yds, 13 TD
Rushing stats: 228 carries, 1,313 yds, 22 TD
Passing stats: 62-122, 1,689 yds, 5 TD
Return stats: 1,700 yds, 1 TD
The lowdown: The SEC’s ultimate “do-it-all” player, Randall Cobb literally did all he could for the Kentucky Wildcats. A QB-turned-WR, Cobb accumulated and outrageous 6,363 total yards and 41 touchdowns. Few could impact the game in so many areas like Cobb. If he plays for a better team, Cobb’s legacy is probably even greater than it is now, but the former Wildcat still remains one of the best players in recent memory.
9. Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt (2005-07)
Receiving stats: 236 catches, 2,852 yds, 20 TD
Return stats: 586 yds
The lowdown: Bennett holds the SEC’s career receptions record with 236 and was the first SEC receiver to record 75 catches in three different seasons. Bennett exploded onto the scene in 2005 as one of Jay Cutler’s most reliable targets and managed to stay productive in the following two seasons despite below .500 seasons from Vanderbilt.
10. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina (2009-11)
Receiving stats: 183 catches, 3,042 yds, 23 TD
The lowdown: In recent memory, there’s probably not a player on the Gamecocks that scared you more as an opposing fan than Alshon Jeffery. He may have played second-fiddle to Georgia’s AJ Green while in school, but Jeffery hands and leaping ability rivaled that of the Georgia standout. His 6-foot-3, 215 pound frame didn’t hurt either. Jeffery holds the school’s season and career records for receiving yards and has brought the same kind of production to the NFL with the Chicago Bears.