Receiver U. - The Best College WR Schools
Desmond Howard, Anthony Carter, & Braylon Edwards
What schools are the best when it comes to cranking out great running backs? Based only on college production and not looking at pro prospects, talent, and anything that happened in the NFL, Pete Fiutak gives his take on the top 25 Wide Receiver Universities over the last 20 years.
Receiver U. -
The Wide Receiver Factories
Richard Cirminiello Version of
WR U. (College & Pro)
R.C Version of
RB U. (College & Pro) |
Fiu version of
RB U. (College Only)
- R.C. version of QB U.
Fiu version of
Cirminiello, I don't care a lick about pro production when it comes
to schools producing great wide receivers. All I care
about is college production and which players did the most and what
schools cranked out the best players.
Also, forget about NFL-type talent and go by what actually happened
on the field. Knowing
what you know now, which schools have gotten the most out of their
Somewhat shocking is the lack of great receivers throughout college
football history. There have been great individuals, but few
programs have enjoyed any steady success. Remember, college football
was a primarily running sport until relatively recently.
So without further ado,
here are the 20 schools that produced the best college wide
since around 1970 along with the five greatest receivers for each
team. Once again, this is based on production and not just talent.
stunning that a school that ran like Michigan is Wide Receiver U.,
considering what the offense was like up until the late 1980s, is that it really isn't close. Yeah, Desmond Howard won the Heisman as
much for his punt returns as for his receiving, but he earned it
with his play on offense. Mercury Hayes, Amani Toomer, Mario
Manningham, Tai Streets
and Greg McMurtry were all more than solid, while players like David
Terrell, Anthony Carter, Marquise Walker and Derrick
Alexander made several All-America teams. Braylon Edwards was a
clutch all-timer, and if you really want to throw a wrench
into the mix, Charles Woodson might have been one of the most
dangerous receivers in Big Ten history had he spent all of his time
Michigan's fab five ...
1. Anthony Carter - Desmond Howard won the big prize, but
Carter is the bigger legend as a three-time All-American who scored 40
career touchdowns as both a receiver and kick returner. He caught
161 passes for 3,076 yards and 37 touchdowns, averaging a whopping
19.1 yards per catch, in a pure running offense.
2. Desmond Howard - He won the Heisman in 1991 catching 19
touchdown passes and scoring 23 times. He caught 134 career passes
for 2,146 yards and 32 touchdowns before taking off early for the
3. Braylon Edwards - Simply devastating, Edwards was
productive and very, very clutch. He dominated as a senior with a 1,330-yard,
15-touchdown season and caught 39 touchdowns in his final
David Terrell - Before jumping to the NFL after his junior
year, Terrell lit up the Big Ten with 2,317 yards and 24 touchdowns
on 152 catches.
5. Marquise Walker - While not the star that some other
Wolverine receivers were, Walker finished as the school's all-time leader
in receptions with 176 catches for 2,269 yards and 17 touchdowns
before getting passed by Braylon Edwards. Few made more highlight
with Lynn Swann in the 1970s and going through to Dwayne Jarrett, USC
has consistently cranked out devastating receivers to complement the
running game. The obvious stars like Swann, Miike Williams and Keyshawn
Johnson are the most popular Trojan receivers, while several stars like Johnnie Morton, R. Jay Soward, Kareem Kelly,
Keary Colbert and Eric Affholter were among the best in the Pac
10 during their time.
USC's fab five ...
1. Keyshawn Johnson - Lynn Swann didn't put up the
numbers needed for the number one spot, and Mike Williams just
missed out on being here. Johnson is Mr. Trojan who's still a
major spokesman for the school. He was a whale of a player catching
168 passes for 2,796 yards and 16 touchdowns highlighted by his
12-catch, 216-yard, one-touchdown performance against Northwestern
in the 1996 Rose Bowl.
2. Mike Williams - It's hard to understate just how much
Williams meant to the resurgence of USC football under Pete Carroll.
Carson Palmer was a talented quarterback, but he didn't become a
major Heisman candidate until Williams blossomed into a true freshman
superstar. He helped ease Matt Leinart into the job in 2003 catching
89 passes for 1,353 yards and 14 touchdowns. In only two years his
30 touchdown catches ranked number one in USC history, and he
finished with 176 catches for 2,570 yards, before joining Maurice
Clarett into court to try to leave school early.
3. Lynn Swann - An All-American in 1973 and star of the 1972
national championship team, Swann was a tremendous home-run threat averaging
20.9 yards per catch in 1972 and 17 yards per catch in 1973. He
finished his career with 95 catches for 1,562 yards and 11
4. Dwayne Jarrett - Who was going to replace Mike Williams?
Jarrett, who became Matt Leinart's favorite target finishing his
career with 216 catches for 3,138 yards and 41 scores.
5. Keary Colbert - Steve Smith might belong here. Overshadowed by Mike Williams, Colbert
somewhat quietly finished his career as USC's all-time leading
receiver. A steady player throughout his career, he closed things
out with a bang catching six passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns
in the 2004 Rose Bowl win over Michigan.
doesn't have any one receiver that will be considered among the
greatest of all-time, but there's a breathtaking number of big-time
producers. Even so, it's hard to put a program in the top spot
with Joey Kent and Marcus Nash ranking first and second, respectively,
on the all-time list (thank you Peyton Manning). Peerless Price,
Stanley Morgan, Willie Gault, Tim McGee, Carl Pickens, Alvin Harper, Kelley
Washington and Robert Meachem match up well with any receivers at any other school.
Tennessee's fab five ...
1. Joey Kent - While not a sexy pick for the number one
all-time Tennessee receiver, his numbers are too good to ignore
catching 183 passes for 2,814 yards and 25 touchdowns with a UT-best
15 100-yard receiving games.
2. Peerless Price - If nothing else his 199-yard day against
Florida State for the 1998 Fiesta Bowl and national championship
makes Price a legend. He caught 147 passes for 2,298 yards and 19
3. Carl Pickens - Averaging 17.2 yards per catch, Pickens
turned into an elite receiver after spending some time on the
defensive side. He caught 109 passes for 1,875 yards and 13
4. Marcus Nash - The number two receiver behind Joey Kent
until 1997, Nash finished number two on the Tennessee all-time
receiving list catching 177 passes for 2,447 yards and 20
5. Tim McGee - You could argue for at least four other
receivers for this spot. McGee was a premier deep threat averaging
16.6 yards per catch finishing third on the UT all-time list with
159 grabs for 2,137 yards and 24 touchdowns.
fab five ...
With several of college football's most dangerous receivers,
All-Americans, and more than its share of fantastic pro prospects,
Michigan State has always cranked out great playmakers. Charles Rogers
was the greatest superstar, but players
like Plaxico Burress, Andre Rison, Devin Thomas and Courtney Hawkins made almost
as much of an impact. Throw in above-average playmakers like Derrick
Mason, Herb Haygood, Muhsin Muhammad and Gari Scott, and few can
match Michigan State for overall firepower.
1. Charles Rogers - The Biletnikoff Award winner was one
of the best receivers in college football history. He was a consistent
touchdown maker and unstoppable playmaker with 135 catches for 2,821
yards and 27 touchdowns averaging 20.9 yards per catch. Because of
his bust of a pro career, he was even
better than most college football fans remember.
2. Andre Rison - Rison wasn't just dangerous, he was able to
make the medium range catches as well becoming MSU's all-time
leading pass catcher with 146 grabs for 2,992 yards and 20
3. Kirk Gibson - Yes, that Kirk Gibson. The future baseball
legend surprisingly held the Spartan record for yards per catch
averaging 21 per grab. He was an All-American finishing with 112
catches for 2,347 yards and 24 touchdowns.
4. Courtney Hawkins - The star of the passing attack after
Andre Rison went off to the NFL, Hawkins caught 138 passes for 2,210
yards and 12 touchdowns as one of the steadiest players in recent
5. Plaxico Burress - Occasionally unstoppable, Burress had a
brilliant two year career making
131 catches for 2,155 yards and 20 touchdowns before going off to
become a great pro.
has been loaded with several very, very good receivers boasting more
consistent quality rather than one or two signature superstars.
Players like Wes Chandler, Reidel Anthony, Jabar Gaffney, Jack
Jackson, Jacquez Green, Ike Hilliard and Cris Collinsworth earned
All-America honors, while others like Reche Caldwell, Taylor Jacobs,
Travis McGriff, Percy Harvin, and Darrell Jackson were in the mix for the Biletnikoff Award. It should say something Carlos Alvarez,
who left as the school's all-time leading receiver, and Chris Doering,
who finished as the team's top touchdown producer, didn't make the
top five. Jacquez Green didn't make the top five despite being a
finalist for the 1997 Biletnikoff Award finishing with 61 catches
for 1,024 yards and nine scores.
Florida's fab five ...
1. Wes Chandler - While Chandler's 92 career catches
for 1,963 yards and 22 touchdowns might not seem like all that big a
deal in comparison to the top receivers of all-time, the stats are remarkable
considering Florida ran the wishbone at the time.
2. Percy Harvin
- While he was injured a
bit too often, Florida wouldn't might not have won two national
titles without him. He finished with 133 catches for 1,929 yards and
13 touchdowns, and ran 194 times for 1,852 yards and 19 scores, but
it was the way he came through in the big games highlighted by a
dominant performance against Oklahoma in the 2009 BCS Championship.
3. Jabar Gaffney
- An unstoppable receiving force, Gaffney
was an All-American as a sophomore and a Biletnikoff Award finalist
in 2001. He finished his career second on the UF receiving yards
chart with 2,375 yards despite leaving after his sophomore season.
4. Reidel Anthony - It was an on-going debate over who the
better player was in 1996, Anthony or Ike Hilliard. Hilliard was a
touchdown maker, but Anthony was the better all-around receiver
catching 72 passes for 1,293 yards and 18 touchdowns.
5. Jack Jackson - The first really big-time receiver in the
Steve Spurrier era, Jackson made catching touchdowns on post routes
look routine. He was an All-American in 1994 with 57 catches for 833
yards and a then SEC best 15 touchdowns.
There was a time when Ohio State
was a pure power running program with Woody Hayes more likely to
wear maize and blue than to throw a forward pass. That was a long
time ago. Ohio State has cranked out some of the best receivers in
college football over the past 30 years with top pro prospects,
All-Americans, and a Biletnikoff winner in Terry Glenn. It's not like
the Buckeyes have had a who's who of all-star quarterbacks until
receivers have simply been that good. How good is this group? Ted
Ginn, Santonio Holmes, Michael Jenkins, and Chris Gamble aren't in
the top five.
Ohio State's fab five ...
1. Cris Carter - Carter showed off the hands that would
make him an all-time NFL great making highlight reel grabs the norm.
164 passes for 2,725 yards and 27 touchdowns and set a then-Rose
Bowl record in 1985 with nine catches for 172 yards and was an
All-American in 1986.
2. David Boston - Boston left school after rewriting most of
the Buckeye record book catching 191 passes for 2,855 yards and 35
touchdowns highlighted by the game-winning touchdown catch in 1997
Rose Bowl over Arizona State. He was unstoppable even when he was
the focus of everyone's defensive scheme.
3. Terry Glenn - Glenn caught 15 passes for 266 yards and no
touchdowns in his first two years in Columbus. And then he blew up
with a Biletnikoff Award-winning 1995 season catching 64 passes for
1,411 yards and 17 touchdowns averaging 22.1 yards per grab.
4. Joey Galloway - An All-Big Ten performer on the field and
in the classroom in 1993, Galloway used his otherworldly speed to be
one of the premier deep threats in college football. He caught 64
career passes for 1,225 yards and 19 touchdowns.
5. Doug Donley - The
team's leading receiver from 1978 through 1980, Donley was a deep
receiver averaging 21.2 yards per catch to finish his career on top
of the OSU receiving charts with 2,252 yards on 106 catches with 16
touchdowns. Santonio Holmes could be here, but Donley did more in an
offense that didn't throw.
great the Florida State passing attacks have been over the last few
decades, the program hasn't had too many superstar receivers on the
collegiate level. Many put up huge numbers, but most were products
of the system more than being great receiver talents. Obviously Peter
Warrick is an all-timer, while players like Marvin "Snoop" Minnis, Craphonso Thorpe, Kez McCorvey, E.G. Green,
Anquan Boldin, Andre Cooper and
others have been part of the frighteningly strong attack. Everyone
assumes that Fred Biletnikoff was among the greatest college
receivers of all-time, and he was certainly decent, but he doesn't
even make many lists of the all-time FSU stat leaders. He isn't even
the best receiver in the history of Seminole football. That honor
belongs to Ron Sellers, who held most of the receiving records
for a long, long time despite finishing his career in 1968. Even though the lists are only
supposed to count players since 1970, I'm putting Sellers on the
Florida State's fab five ...
1. Ron Sellers - Most would assume Peter Warrick should
be number one, but Sellers set way too many records and had too many
huge performances to keep him out of the top spot. He had five of
FSU's top six all-time receiving games going for 260 yards against
Wake Forest and 259 against South Carolina. In all, he had five
games with over 200 receiving yards and finished with 212 catches for 1,496
yards and 23 touchdowns.
2. Peter Warrick - The Dillard's incident tarnishes Warrick's
career a wee bit, but his talent was undeniable highlighted by his
show-stopping performance against Virginia Tech for the 1999 national
title. He set the FSU record with 31 career touchdown catches.
3. E.G. Green - Sort of forgotten over the years among all
the Seminole receivers, Green finished his career third on the FSU
all-time receiving list with 2,920 yards and set the record with 29
4. Kez McCorvey - Charlie Ward's favorite target and the top
receiver in 1993 and 1994, McCorvey caught 189 passes for 2,660
yards and 16 touchdowns.
5. Lawrence Dawsey - The leader of a great group of receivers
when Florida State really started to get rolling under Bobby Bowden, Dawsey made 128
catches for 2,129 yards and 20 touchdowns even though players like
Ronald Lewis and Terry Anthony took catches away.
hasn't been the wide receiver school you'd think it might be
considering how loaded the program has been at quarterback. There
have been some great pro prospects and some good overall talents,
but there aren't too many All-Americans and few college legends.
Michael Irvin leads the way as the standard for the brash and cocky
program, while players like Andre Johnson and Santana Moss were
tremendous talents who have turned into NFL superstars.
Miami's fab five
1. Michael Irvin - Even though
the program is known for its quarterbacks,
Irvin might be the closest thing there is to being Mr. Hurricane.
Irvin talked it, walked it, and always came though as one of
college football's top playmakers catching 26 touchdown passes.
2. Santana Moss - Not just a great receiver, Moss was also an
elite punt returner. He was the 2000 Big East Offensive
Player of the Year setting the Miami career record with 2,546
3. Reggie Wayne - While not nearly as electrifying as some of
the other great Hurricane receivers, Wayne was a steady pass catcher
setting the school record with 173 catches, 29 more than the
school's all-time number two receiver, for 2,510 yards and 20
4. Eddie Brown - While he didn't put up huge numbers, Brown
was a first-team All-American in 1984 with 59 catches for
1,114 yards with 14 career touchdowns. His biggest performance was
in the classic Hail Mary loss to Doug Flutie and Boston College
catching ten passes for 220 yards.
5. Lamar Thomas - A star on national championship teams,
Thomas finished his career second on the Miami all-time receiving
list catching 144 passes for 2,271 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Outside of Biletnikoff
Winners Antonio Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald, the Panthers have had
some good, but not outstanding receivers. However, Bryant and
Fitzgerald were good enough to carry Pittsburgh into the top ten. Surprisingly,
there weren't too many big-name performers during the heyday of Pitt
football outside of Julius Dawkins, and there were few stars when Dan Marino
was throwing the ball.
fab five ...
1. Larry Fitzgerald - The
most consistent touchdown catching machine in NCAA history was a
decent performance against Miami away from winning the 2003 Heisman.
He finished his career with 161 catches for 2,677 yards and 34
touchdowns. He also set the NCAA record with a scoring grab in 18
2. Antonio Bryant - Bryant led the nation in receiving in
2000 on his way to the Big East Offensive Player of the Year honor,
All-America recognition, and the Biletnikoff Award.
3. Latef Grim - Grim never had a national breakout season,
seeing Antonio Bryant take away the limelight in 2000. Even so, Grim
finished his career as Pittsburgh's all-time leader in receptions
with 178 grabs for 2,680 yards and 15 touchdowns.
4. Julius Dawkins - Dawkins was a big-time touchdown-maker
earning All-America honors in 1981 with 46 catches for 767 yards and
Jells - Who? Very quietly, Jells had a fantastic career in the
early 1990s catching 160 passes for 3,003 yards and 25 touchdowns
averaging 18.8 yards per catch.
LSU & Wisconsin
I know this is a copout, but I couldn't decide between the
Badgers and Tigers. The last thing that comes to mind when you think
of Wisconsin football is passing, but the Badgers put together
enough great college receivers to made it hard to bump it out of
the top ten considering the numbers the top players put up in a
run-only offense. Throw in producers like Brandon Williams, Jonathan
Orr and Donald Hayes, along with the players in the top five, and
the Badgers have had a stunning number of good players.
a slew of flashy receivers that didn't
get enough work. Can you imagine what Michael Clayton and Devery
Henderson would've done in a better passing offense? Dwayne
Bowe, Craig Davis and Early Doucet add to LSU's tremendous talent
fab five ...
1. Josh Reed - The Biletnikoff winner caught 167 career passes
for 3,001 yards and 17 touchdowns. He always seemed to be wide open.
2. Wendell Davis - The all-time leading receiver before
Michael Clayton came along, Davis caught 183 passes for 2,708 yards
and 19 touchdowns..
3. Michael Clayton - The only knock against the super-steady
Clayton was that he didn't put up huge numbers against great teams.
Even so, he was always dangerous when he was actually used.
4. Eric Martin - With a 17.3-yard per catch average, Martin
tore up the SEC in the early 1980s catching 152 passes for 2,625
yards and 14 touchdowns.
Hamilton - Totally unknown to most college football fans,
Hamilton was a dangerous deep threat from 1969 to 1971 averaging
19.9 yards per catch finishing with 100 grabs for 1,995 yards and 18
fab five ...
1. Lee Evans - The two-time Biletnikoff Finalist and
All-Big Ten star overcame a knee injury to be Wisconsin's all-time
leading receiver. He was UW's stat leader even before
his huge 2003 campaign when he caught 64 passes for 1,213 yards and
13 scores, highlighted by a 10-catch, 258-yard, five touchdown day
against Michigan State.
2. Al Toon - The star of some good Wisconsin teams in the
early 1980s, Toon caught 131 passes for 2,103 yards and 19
touchdowns while setting a then-Big Ten record with 252 yards in a 1983 win
3. Chris Chambers - The future NFL star was a top deep
threat for two Rose Bowl winning teams. He finished with 127 catches
for 2,004 yards and 16 touchdowns.
4. Lee DeRamus - The standard-bearer for a
new wave of great Badger wideouts, DeRamus was the leading receiver
for the 1993 Rose Bowl winners. He was poised for a huge 1994 before
suffering a broken leg..
Simmons - Wisconsin's greatest deep threat before the arrival of
Lee Evans, Simmons averaged 20.1 yards per catch catching 99
passes for 1,991 yards and 23 touchdowns.
next ten greatest wide receiver schools since 1970
(remember, based on college production)...
Penn State - The main man: Bobby Engram
13. Notre Dame - The main man: Tim Brown
Oklahoma - The main man: Mark Clayton
15. Texas - The main man: Roy Williams
UCLA - The main man: J.J. Stokes
North Carolina State - The main man: Torry Holt
Texas Tech - The main man: Michael Crabtree
19. Illinois - The main man: David Williams
Syracuse - The main man: Marvin Harrison