The SEC is reloading a bit at this spot, as a ton of quality receivers were lost to the NFL after last season. The likes of Mike Evans, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham, Jr., Donte Moncrief, and the SEC’s all-time leader Jordan Matthews will be playing on Sundays for a good long while.
1. Amari Cooper, Alabama, Junior (736 RecYds, 4TDs in 2013) – After a spectacular freshman year that saw him top a 1,000 yards and 11TDs, Cooper saw his numbers drop off in 2013 as he battled leg and foot injuries. Cooper will see his fair share of double coverage this year, but if new Tide QB Jacob Coker can be serviceable, we think a bounce back year is in the cards.
2. Sammie Coates, Auburn, Junior (902 RecYds, 7TDs in 2013) – The pure definition of ‘speed kills’, Coates routinely ran past defenders for big plays in 2013. His 21.5 yards per catch led the SEC. With quarterback Nick Marshall now having a year under his belt, the ball may be in the air a bit more this year. Look for Coates to benefit as a result.
3. Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi, Sophomore (608 RecYds, 5TDs in 2013) – The Rivals.com #1 ranked wide receiver in the Class of 2013, Treadwell had a solid first year with the Rebels. Using his NFL-type body (6-3, 200) Tredwell worked the middle of the field and finished second in the SEC in receptions (72). Great hands, but must improve his separation and yards after catch in 2014.
4. D’haquille ‘Duke’ Williams, Auburn, Junior (2,028 RecYds, 26TDs in two years at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC) – The consensus #1 Juco player from 2013, Williams is headed to a program and coach that will definitely be able to exploit his skills. At 6-3, 216, Duke has the NFL size to go along with tremendous athleticism. Can go get it in the red zone, and in Juco could always create space. All-SEC caliber player.
5. Jameon Lewis, Mississippi State, Senior (923 RecYds, 5TDs in 2013) – Lewis has been the go-to man for the Bulldogs the last several years. His 64 catches last year were in the top 10 in the league. A bit on the smallish side at 5-9, Lewis is tough to tackle in open space and is perfect in the slot. Always a big-play threat.
6. Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M, Freshman – Seals-Jones redshirted last year after being ranked the Scout.com #1 ranked wide receiver in the Class of 2013. At 6-5, 220, he gives the Aggies another ‘Mike Evans-type’ who can stretch the field and be a nice red zone target. Great body control on deep balls, RSJ has incredible upside.
7. Marquez North, Tennessee, Sophomore (496 RecYds, TD in 2013) – North is a physical specimen at 6-4, 221. Even with shaky quarterback play working against him a year ago, he really impressed us last season with with his body control and exceptional hands. His one-handed grab vs. South Carolina was one of the top plays in the league in 2013.
Honorable Mention: Malcome Kennedy, Texas A&M; Javess Blue, Kentucky; Chris Conley, Georgia; Malachi Dupre, LSU; Christion Jones, Alabama; Shaq Roland, South Carolina; Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia; Damiere Byrd, South Carolina; Travin Dural, LSU; Quinton Dunbar, Florida; Pig Howard, Tennessee; Bud Sasser, Missouri; Andre Dubose, Florida; Jimmie Hunt, Missouri.