2016 SEC receiving superlatives
A lot of familiar names headline the best-of categories for SEC receivers entering 2016.
To be eligible, receivers had to catch at least 10 passes in 2015.
Here’s a look at the winners:
Smallest — Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia
McKenzie, just 5-8, 170 pounds, caught 10 balls for 123 yards last season. He might not retain the title next year, however. South Carolina redshirt freshman Jerad Washington is 5-8 and just 158 pounds, and Tennessee redshirt freshman Michael Lacey is 5-7, 173 pounds.
Biggest — Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M
This contest isn’t open to tight ends, but Seals-Jones could look those guys in the eye as well. Seals-Jones is a huge, physical target at 6-5, 235 pounds. He caught 45 passes for 560 yards and four touchdowns last season as a third option in the Aggies’ passing attack.
Of course, he puts that size to good use in other phases, too.
Jones might not hold onto his title, though. Missouri receiver Justin Smith is 6-7, 200 pounds. Smith will be a redshirt freshman this season.
Fastest — Speedy Noil, Texas A&M
This likely will be settled in the 2017 NFL Combine, when Noil goes head to head with LSU’s Travin Dural. Until then, Noil retains the title with a reported 4.4 40-yard dash.
Best hands — Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Ridley separated himself from the pack — and defenders — as a freshman, earning high marks for precise route running and willingness to block.
But job requirement No. 1 is catching the football, and Ridley flashed some of the best hands in the SEC in 2015 while leading the league with 89 catches.
Here are just a few examples.
Best possession receiver — Fred Ross, Mississippi State
Ross led the SEC with 6.8 catches per game in 2015.
The Bulldogs used him a lot in the screen game and on underneath routes, which limited his yards per catch to 11.44.
That total was 35th in the SEC — but it was just one spot lower than Calvin Ridley, who averaged 11.74 per catch.
Best deep threat — Travin Dural, LSU
Dural averaged 19.04 yards per catch last season, third-best in the SEC. The Tigers also used him in the jet sweep — an easier way to maximize his speed.
Here are just a couple of examples of his ability to get behind defenses:
Highest upside — Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Overshadowed by heralded teammate Christian Kirk, Reynolds is the more dangerous of the duo. He’s also substantially bigger, at 6-4, 190, which creates issues particularly in red-zone, jump-ball situations.
— Neal (Buz) Ellis (@BuzEllis) September 27, 2015
Reynolds averaged 17.78 yards per catch last season. His size and speed will make him a coveted NFL prospect — even if Kirk produces more highlight-worthy plays in College Station.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 27, 2014