Power Five’s Top-20 wide receivers for the 2019 season
There’s nothing like a quarterback having a reliable target to throw to, especially if he’s a newly inserted signal-caller. No need for bump-and-run coverage on these wideouts, because they have the speed and athleticism to break away from defenders and catch frozen rope passes over the middle. Some are possession receivers, while others do their damage from the slot or on jet sweeps, but all can simply stretch the field on defenses. Several talents tie into being an effective pass catcher, including vision, blocking and soft hands. The receivers on this list have significant experience and production and look to capitalize this fall on their great seasons from a year ago. Without further ado let the drum roll to the countdown begin.
20. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan: The Detroit native had a solid true-sophomore season, hauling in 47 catches for 612 yards and eight touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a 60-yard touchdown against Nebraska, the second of his career. Peoples-Jones is a versatile receiver, who’s dangerous in the open field and Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh will try to get him as many touches as possible this fall.
19. T.J. Vasher, Texas Tech: The six-foot-six wideout is the Red Raiders leading returner in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns. He hauled in 54 passes, for 687 yards last season. Vasher had five games of six catches or more and two touchdown catches against Houston and Texas. The Wichita Falls native also has 13 career touchdown receptions and will provide quarterback Alan Bowman with a big target to throw to again.
18. Justin Jefferson, LSU: He led the Tigers in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches last season. Jefferson has great size at six-foot-two and caught 54 balls for 875 yards and six touchdowns. He was the go-to-receiver for Joe Burrow and had 100-yard games against Arkansas and Georgia. Not to mention Jefferson had two touchdown performances against Ole Miss and Central Florida.
17. Jaylen Waddle, Alabama: He was one of the Crimson Tide’s top recruits last season and delivered with a solid true freshman campaign with 45 receptions, 848 yards and seven touchdowns. The Texas native had 100-yard games against Tennessee, Louisiana and Georgia. Waddle also has the speed to stretch the field on opposing defenses, averaging nearly 19 yards per catch. Alabama will arguably have the nation’s No. 1 receiving corp this fall.
16. Denzel Mims, Baylor: The six-foot-three, 215-pounder has the frame that scouts love and he’s the Bears’ leading returner in receptions, yards and touchdown grabs. He caught 55 passes for 846 yards and and seven touchdowns last season, including 100-yard games against UTSA and Oklahoma. The Daingerfield native had a touchdown catch against seven different Big 12 teams. Not to mention Mims had a 1,000-yard campaign in 2017 and 16 career touchdown receptions.
15. Bryan Edwards, South Carolina: Another receiver with great size and soft hands. The six-foot-three, 220-pounder snagged 55 balls for 846 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He had 100-yard outings against Akron, Ole Miss and Georgia. Edwards flirted with going into the NFL Draft, but decided to stay home for his senior season. He has 163 career receptions for 2,229 yards and 16 touchdowns. Edwards needs 45 catches, 814 yards and eight scores this fall to become the Gamecocks’ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
14. K.J. Hill, Ohio State: He caught 70 balls and scored eight touchdowns, earning third team All-Big Ten honors last season. The Little Rock native is the Buckeyes leading returning pass catcher in receptions and receiving yards. Hill had nine catches apiece and 100-yard games against Minnesota and Purdue. Not to mention Hill had six receptions against Oregon State, Penn State, TCU and Michigan State. He has speed to burn to go along with his 141 career receptions for 1,667 yards.
13. Collin Johnson, Texas: He’s the Longhorns leading returning receiver in catches, yards and receiving touchdowns. Johnson caught 68 balls for 985 yards and seven touchdowns last season. The six-foot-six, 220-pounder is able to snag balls out of the air other defensive backs can’t get to. He had 100-yard games against TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship. The California native passed up on the NFL to return for his senior season and has 150 career catches for 2,065 yards and 12 touchdowns.
12. Henry Ruggs III, Alabama: The Montgomery native along with Jerry Jeudy are the Batman and Robin receiving corp of the SEC. Ruggs III had only 46 catches last season, but 11 of those went for touchdowns, which tied for second in the league. He had 100-yard games against The Citadel and Louisiana. Ruggs III also had two touchdown catches against the Tigers and Ragun Cajun. He’ll enter his junior season with 17 career touchdown receptions.
11. J.D. Spielman, Nebraska: He led the Huskers in touchdown catches last season. Spielman is also the teams’ leading returner in receptions and receiving yards. The Minnesota native only played in 10 games, but finished the season with 66 receptions, 818 yards and eight touchdowns, earning third team All-Big Ten honors. The explosive wideout is dangerous in the slot and also returned a punt for a score. He has 121 career receptions, 1,648 yards and 10 touchdowns. With Stanley Morgan gone Spielman will be the Huskers’ go-to receiver this fall.
10. Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt: The New Orleans native led the SEC in receptions last season and finished the year with 916 yards and scored 10 total touchdowns. Lipscomb had two touchdown catches against Nevada, Tennessee State and Ole Miss. With Kyle Shurmur moving onto the NFL Lipscomb will have a new quarterback throwing balls to him this fall. Still, Lipscomb will make the transition easy for the signal-caller, after all he has 151 career catches, 1,845 yards and 19 receiving touchdowns.
9. Justyn Ross, Clemson: He had a fabulous true freshman campaign last season, hauling in 46 passes for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. Ross established himself as one of the best deep threats in all of College Football, averaging nearly 22 yards per catch. The six-foot-four, 205-pounder has the elevation to grab balls out the air other defensive backs can’t reach. The Alabama native had 100-yard games against Georgia Southern, Notre Dame and Alabama. It’ll be interesting to see what Ross has in store for an encore, but he’ll definitely provide a huge, reliable target for Trevor Lawrence to throw to.
8. Jalen Reagor, TCU: He had an amazing true sophomore season and led the Horned Frogs in catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions. Reagor had 100-yard games against Kansas and West Virginia and had a touchdown catch against TCU’s last seven Big 12 opponents. He also had six games where he caught seven or more passes. Reagor finished the season with 72 catches, 1,061 yards, nine scores and earned second team All-Big 12 honors. In just two seasons the 20-year old has 105 catches, 1,637 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.
7. Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado: He led the Pac-12 in receptions and receiving yards per game despite missing thee games last season. The six-foot-two, 225-pounder caught 86 balls for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns, earning first team All-Pac 12 honors. Shenault Jr. started off the 2018 season with a 200-yard performance against rival Colorado State. He followed that up with 100-yard games against Nebraska, UCLA, Arizona State and Washington State. The Texas native didn’t participate in Colorado’s spring game, but should be in full force by the time fall hits for new coach Mel Tucker.
6. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma: The Texas native had a magnificent true sophomore campaign, snagging 65 passes for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns, earning second team All-Big 12 honors. Lamb had five 100-yard games, led the Sooners in touchdown receptions and averaged nearly 18 yards per catch. In two years the six-foot-two, 195-pounder has 111 catches, 1,965 receiving yards and 18 touchdown receptions. Lamb also was a key contributor on special teams and led Oklahoma in punt return average. With Marquise Brown now in the NFL, Lamb will be the go-to-receiver for the Sooners and will make life easier on Jalen Hurts when the ball is in the air.
5. Tee Higgins, Clemson: The six-foot-four, 195-pounder is a matchup nightmare for defensive backs and led the ACC in touchdown catches. He posted 100-yard games against Texas A&M, NC State and South Carolina and earned second team All-ACC honors. Higgins finished the season with 59 catches for 936 yards and 12 touchdown receptions. The Tennessee native has 76 career catches, 1,281 yards and 14 touchdowns in two seasons. Higgins along with Ross form the best wide receiver duo in the ACC.
4. Tyler Johnson, Minnesota: The hometown kid tied for first in the Big Ten in touchdown catches last season. Johnson had 100-yard games against New Mexico State, Miami(Ohio), Iowa, Ohio State, Nebraska and Indiana. He also had four games of at least two touchdown catches. Johnson finished the season with 78 catches, 1,169 yards, 12 scores, averaged 15 yards per catch and earned first team All-Big Ten honors. The six-foot-two, 200-pounder could’ve easily bolted for the NFL, but decided to return for his senior season and Minnesota should make some noise this fall in the Big Ten West.
3. Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State: The Texas native had a monster sophomore campaign and led the Big 12 in receiving yards last season. Wallace posted 100-yard games against South Alabama, Boise State, Texas Tech, Baylor and Kansas. Not to mention he had 200-yard outings against Texas and Oklahoma and had three games of at least two touchdown receptions. He finished the season with an eye-popping 86 catches, 1,491 yards, 12 touchdowns, earned first team All-Big 12 honors, AP second team All-America and was a Biletnikoff Award finalist.
2. Rondale Moore, Purdue: He was the Boilermakers No. 1 recruit last season and he exceeded expectations. Moore stands only five-foot-nine, but the Indiana native took the College Football world by storm and led the entire FBS in receptions last season. He also tied for first in the Big Ten in touchdown catches and led the league in receiving yards. Moore finished 2018 with a jaw-dropping 114 catches, 1,258 yards, 14 total touchdowns and earned first team All-Big Ten honors. Not to mention he averaged 20 yards on kick returns and broke the school record for all-purpose yards in a single season. Moore was the Big Ten’s freshman and receiver of the year, plus he had seven 100-yard games.
1. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama: The Florida native had an outstanding true sophomore campaign, hauling in 68 passes for 1,315 yards, 14 touchdowns and averaged over 19 yards per catch. Jeudy led the SEC in touchdown catches, earned first team AP All-America honors and became the second Alabama receiver to win the Biletnikoff Award. The six-foot-one, 192-pounder has the speed and athleticism to stretch the field on opposing defenses and can change the game on a single catch. Jeudy had 100-yard games against Ole Miss, Arkansas, Missouri, LSU and Clemson. He had four games when he had two touchdown catches. Jeudy is one of the most exciting players in the game and will likely play his last season this fall before he bolts for the NFL to make millions. Mel Keiper recently had him as the No. 1 player on his big board.