Last week we took a look at the Top 5 QB rooms in the country. This week we break down the Top WR rooms in the country for this upcoming 2018 season. There’s some overlap in this one. The top team on this list has several seniors at the wide receiver position, a rarity these days in the college football landscape
5. Ohio State Buckeyes:
Starters: K.J. Hill (junior), Parris Campbell (senior), Austin Mack (junior), Binjimen Victor (junior), Terry McLaurin (senior), Johnnie Dixon (senior), Jaylen Harris (sophomore), Demario McCall (junior), Kamrynn Babb (freshman)
The skinny: Ohio State returns pretty much its entire receiving corps from a year ago. K.J. Hill led the Buckeyes in receptions in 2017. Parris Campbell led the team in receiving yards and is arguably the fastest player in the country — when I watch Campbell play, I’m reminded of a young Percy Harvin at Florida — he’s that fast and that dynamic both as a receiver and in certain H-back situations. Binjimen Victor and Johnnie Dixon are both Florida natives and combined for 15 touchdowns last season. Terry McLaurin added another six touchdowns. At 6-foot-4, Binjimen Victor is the quintessential red zone option for quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Demario McCall plays some receiver, and like Parris Campbell can really fly. Karynn Babb is a freshman the Buckeyes are excited about, so expect him to be in the mix this season. Overall this is a deep group with varying skill sets.
4. South Carolina Gamecocks:
Starters: Deebo Samuel (senior), Bryan Edwards (junior), OreTre Smith (sophomore), Shi Smith (sophomore)
The Skinny: South Carolina can really make some noise in the SEC East thanks to returning quarterback Jake Bentley and his top target Deebo Samuel.
Deebo Samuel missed all but three games in 2017 after breaking his leg in South Carolina’s loss to Kentucky a year ago. Up until that point, Samuel was lighting up the conference. He had 97-yard kick returns for touchdowns in the Gamecocks’ first two games (one against Missouri, one against N.C. State) on top of a touchdown he scored against Kentucky. Back healthy, South Carolina can push Georgia for the SEC East crown.
Watch him burn the Mizzou Tigers a season ago:
Bryan Edwards is a massive target at 6-foot-3 and returns after leading South Carolina in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns last season.
OreTre Smith and Shi Smith are sophomores who combined for 59 catches, 735 yards and six touchdowns in 2017. OreTre Smith is the tallest wide receiver on the team at 6-foot-4 and Shi Smith is a speedster at 5-foot-10 and the ideal bubble-screen receiver.
3. Oklahoma Sooners:
Starters: Marquise Brown (redshirt junior), CeeDee Lamb (sophomore), Grant Calcaterra (sophomore), Jaylon Robinson (freshman), Kundarrius Taylor (freshman)
The Skinny: Marquise Brown was a JUCO transfer, but almost instantaneously emerged as one of the best wide receivers in the Big 12. A season ago, Brown scored seven touchdowns on 1,057 yards and 57 receptions. Brown, like David Sills of West Virginia, will be gunning for the Biletnikoff Award come December.
Surrounding Brown are sophomores CeeDee Lamb and Grant Calcaterra. Those two combined for 969 yards, 56 receptions and 10 touchdowns in 2017.
Freshmen 4-star recruits Jaylon Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas) and Kundarrius Taylor (Memphis, Tennessee) also figure to be in the mix right away for the Sooners.
Looking ahead to 2019: Keep an eye on incoming true freshman Theo Wease. Wease is the top wide receiver recruit in the class of 2019, and his highlight reel shows just how special this kid is. His ability to adjust in the air and re-position his body to make the catch — he’s made for the big time and is ready to make an impact on Day 1.
2. Ole Miss Rebels:
Starters: A.J. Brown (junior), DeMarkus Lodge (senior), DeKaylin Metcalf (redshirt sophomore)
The Skinny: The SEC’s best wide receiver returns in AJ Brown. Brown led the conference in receiving touchdowns (11) and receiving yardage (1,252) in 2017.
Brown’s teammate DeMarkus Lodge contributed seven touchdowns himself on 698 receiving yards. D.K. Metcalf put up similar stats to Lodge, with seven touchdowns and 646 receving yards.
Ole Miss plays in the cut-throat SEC West under the inexperienced, but highly respected Matt Luke. What Ole Miss lacks on the defensive side of the ball they can (sort of) make up for with this trio of elite receivers. Ole Miss may give up a ton of points in 2018. As long as these receivers stay healthy, they’ll keep games close and opposing defenses honest.
1. West Virginia Mountaineers:
Starters: David Sills (senior), Gary Jennings (senior) , Marcus Simms (junior)
The skinny: David Sills returns to West Virginia for his senior year after leading the country last season in receiving touchdowns. His 18 receiving touchdowns in 2017 are incredible considering:
A. David Sills was originally recruited as a quarterback, and
B. He (only) had 60 total receptions last season. Basically, Sills is a threat to score every time he touches the football and is a menace in the red zone.
Senior Gary Jennings wasn’t too bad himself in 2017. Jennings led West Virginia with 97 receptions and contributed a touchdown. Ka’Raun White and his 61 receptions for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns graduated, but that just means more opportunities for Marcus Simms to continue to get involved in the offense. Simms is a speedster and had 35 receptions for over 650 yards and five touchdowns.
West Virginia and head coach Dana Holgorsen are known for their high-flying, pass-first offense. Holgersen comes from the Mike Leach and before him Hal Mumme coaching tree which invented and perfected the air-raid offense. Expect fireworks once again from David Sills and the Mountaineers in 2018.