Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

SEC Bloggers: 5 Thoughts on WRs
Arkansas' Greg Childs
Arkansas' Greg Childs
Posted Jun 6, 2011

CFN's SEC Bloggers put the conference's wide receivers under the microscope

Billy Gomila: On who are the SEC’s best returning WRs?

Any discussion of the league’s top pass-catching target begins and ends with South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery. He led the league last year in catches, yards (by a near-400-yard margin) and touchdowns, with eight of his nine scores coming against SEC competition. Jeffery blends size with speed and athleticism as well as any of the league’s top wideouts of the last decade, and has shown that the Gamecocks’ shaky quarterback situation is no impediment to his play.

But as a unit, nobody in the league can touch Arkansas’ talented corps. Joe Adams, Greg Childs, Jarius Wright and Cobi Hamilton. The quartet combined for 170 catches for 2,890 yards and 23 touchdowns a year ago, and those numbers shouldn’t take a major hit with a new quarterback. They struggled with some drops in the Sugar Bowl, but that can’t overshadow an outstanding regular season.

Eleven of the SEC’s top 15 receivers in yards per game are gone, but talent always abounds, and players like Auburn’s Emory Blake, LSU’s Rueben Randle, Mississippi State’s Chad Bumphis and Tennessee’s duo of Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rogers will make names for themselves in 2011.

Barrett Sallee: On who will be the next breakout wide receiver?

There are many options here, including Auburn’s Trovon Reed, South Carolina’s Ace Sanders and Georgia’s Marlon Brown. But Tennessee’s Da’Rick Rogers will be the SEC’s next receiving superstar.

Sure, his quarterback Tyler Bray is a bit unproven and he plays on the same team as fellow sophomore receiver Justin Hunter, but Rogers came to Tennessee to be the next big thing, and he’ll be just that in 2011.

The Calhoun, Ga., native had only 162 yards on 10 catches last season, but impressed coaches this spring and will have a more meaningful role this year. With Hunter and running back Tauren Poole grabbing most of the attention, Rogers will have plenty of opportunities to get open and make plays.

The biggest thing that could hold Rogers back is that Tennessee won't be a high-profile team in the 2011 national landscape, so the opportunities for him to shine on the big stage will be fewer than some of his competitors.

Gabe Harris: On which team has the most riding on the WR position?

This question is an easy one: it’s Auburn. In 2010, the Tigers' wide receivers were great downfield blockers and as sure-handed as they come. For all of Cam Newton’s brilliance, Darvin Adams and company helped make him a star.

In addition to the departure of Newton, there are substantial losses at receiver from last year. Adams surprised many by declaring early for the NFL draft, and subsequently went undrafted. Terrell Zachery and Kodi Burns graduated, which leaves a leadership and downfield blocking void that the young Tigers will surely miss. ~70% of last year’s catches and receiving yards are gone, along with 15 TD receptions.

Whomever the QB is, whether it’s Barrett Trotter, Clint Moseley, Kiehl Frazier, or perhaps even Russell Wilson, he will need all the help he can get. Four starters from the OL are gone, and you combine that with a young, inexperienced WR corps and there could be trouble. The new receivers will need to step up and create a security blanket for their QB, because unless it’s Wilson, the experience under center is even less than for the WRs.

Russ Mitchell: On which SEC school is today’s WR U?

Bobby Petrino has an embarrassment of riches in Fayetteville, and no one is surprised.

It may be early days, but Arkansas has quickly, though not surprisingly, become WR U in the SEC. South Carolina may lay claim to the most talented receiver in the south, but the rest of the top five all Call the Hogs.

Childs, Adams, and Wright will all shine on Sundays one day – but all start for the Razorbacks in 2011. As if that weren't enough, the 6’3”, 215 pound “backup” Hamilton would likely start on virtually every other team in this conference, were he not saddled behind the trio before him – and in time, even they may not be enough to stop him. He averaged a staggering 20 ypc last season (on 31 receptions).

Child’s was our break out receiver heading into 2010, and before injuring his knee midway through the year, he didn’t disappoint. He has it all – size, speed, toughness, great hands – and a killer instinct. Like all the great ones, he doesn’t just want to beat you – he wants to look in your eyes while he does it. Ask Georgia.

Adams may be small, but he’s the toughest receiver in the SEC – particularly across the middle of the field. Wright turned it on after Childs went down, with all five of his touchdowns coming in the last six games.

Indeed, it is not a stretch to contend that these four receivers may be the most talented unit assembled at one time it in the history of the SEC. Merry Christmas, Tyler Wilson.

When he came into the conference from the Atlanta Falcons, many speculated it was only a matter of time before the hard-driving Petrino leveraged his pass-happy offense to build a stable of talented wide receivers for his bevy of quarterbacks. Given the skill on the roster and the depth of his recruiting efforts, there is no reason to doubt that Arkansas is now a factory of receiving talent – and has become the WR U of the SEC.

Brian Harbach: On who will be the conference’s next first round NFL wide receiver?

My phone blows up with a text message from Russ on Friday afternoon telling me what a layup question I got this week, and he is 100% correct. SC's Jeffrey will be the next SEC receiver taken in the first round of the NFL draft - indeed, he may be the #1 player taken overall.

There likely isn’t too much that needs to be said that you don't already know. The guy has freaky athletic ability, he runs like a man 20 pounds lighter and has hands equal to UGA's A.J. Green. He is the best receiver in the SEC, and with all due respect to the boys in Fayetteville, it isn’t even close.

Throw in the fact that NFL scouts will factor in that Stephen Garcia has been the guy tossing him the ball the last three years, and his stock will jump even higher. Oh, and some cat named Marcus Lattimore is running out of the backfield, so teams can't simply focus on Jeffrey.

Childs is a very nice player and Georgia's Orson Charles is a wide receiver in a TE's body. But after that the SEC is full of good, not spectacular, junior/senior WRs. None of the first round NFL talent is draft eligible after this season except for Jeffrey.

The only way Alshon is not the next first round SEC WR is if he goes out with an injury like Childs did a year ago (and even that might not stop him). If you think there is any way Greg is still a Razorback if he finished 2010 like he started it, you are crazy. Same goes for Jeffrey. Even the prospect of a significantly lower rookie pay scale won’t stop him. Jeffrey is gone faster than Chuck Norris can find a needle in a haystack.

Please follow Russ Mitchell on Twitter @russmitchellsec, Brian Harbach @harbabd and Barrett Sallee @barrettsallee.

SEC Bloggers: 5 Thoughts on RBs
SEC Bloggers: 5 Thoughts on QBs
SEC Bloggers: NFL Draft Review
SEC Bloggers: 5 Thoughts On Janoris Jenkins
SEC Bloggers: 5 Thoughts On UK’s Spring
SEC Bloggers: Stephen Garcia, Winning!
SEC Bloggers: Real Sports Much Ado About...