2020 Preseason SEC Position Rankings: Wide Receivers
There are players like Elijah Moore at Ole Miss, Osirus Mitchell at Mississippi State and Seth Williams at Auburn.
Every team appears to have a top-level wide receiver, and with Lane Kiffin returning and Mike Leach finally making the coaching jump, Southeastern Conference offenses figure to be relying more on wide receivers than ever.
After all, the league has enjoyed back-to-back Biletnikoff Award winners for the first time. It previously only had two winners since the trophy was first handed out in 1994 (fittingly, Josh Reed at LSU in 2001 and Amari Cooper at Alabama in 2014. Both were coached by Nick Saban).
In 2020, there's 1A and 1B atop the conference when it comes to overall position rankings, as two teams teams clearly stand out when it comes to receivers.
You could almost flip a coin between them.
On the one hand there's Alabama, which had two wide receivers who were top 15 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, yet the Crimson Tide still has DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Smith, not Jerry Jeudy, led the team in receiving last season with 1,256 yards, and Waddle looks poised to be a 1,000-yard player as well.
Then there's LSU.
Ja’Marr Chase won the 2019 Biletnikoff Award as a sophomore after leading the nation in receiving yards (1,780) and receiving touchdowns (20). Terrace Marshall had 46 receptions for 671 yards and 13 touchdowns despite enduring a foot injury. Throw in sophomore Trey Palmer, and the Tigers have three strong players in the passing game.
On the flip side, LSU no longer has quarterback Joe Burrow, the offensive coordinator who guided his Heisman Trophy season, or tight end Thaddeus Moss.
So, yes, this really could go either way.
The guess here is that Waddle is going to have a huge season, and Alabama will have some other wide receivers step up, but LSU is getting the nod for one important reason, height.
Chase is 6-3, and Marshall 6-4.
Meanwhile, Georgia promises to throw more under new coordinator Todd Monken, with sophomore George Pickens most likely to benefit. Last season, he led all SEC freshmen with with 49 catches for 727 yards and eight touchdowns.
With our rankings only listing the top half of the conference, there's not much separating the next four teams: Arkansas, Auburn, Florida and Texas A&M. The Razorbacks have a nice variety with Treylon Burks, Trey Knox and Mike Woods, and a player to watch is Aggies tight end Jalen Wydermyer. He's the real deal.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss fans will cry foul, but their receiving corps have to earn it on the field, and no one knows how well the players will react to the new systems and coaches. Can Leach and Kiffin turn them into stars in one season? We shall see ...
SEC Position Rankings: Wide Receiver
4. Texas A&M
This is the first story in a series that will appear in June, previewing SEC position groups for the 2020 season.