Every year college football is littered with talented pass catchers and the 2014 season will be no different. Wide receivers such as Antwan Goodley and Deontay Greenberry are the household names, but let’s take a look at some receivers owners will want to target later in drafts that could put up big numbers.
• Geno Lewis, Penn State – Lewis steps into the number one receiver role vacated by the departure of Allen Robinson to the NFL. Lewis showed promise by catching 18 balls for 234 yards and three touchdowns last season. His biggest game was in the season finale against Wisconsin where he caught three passes for 91 yards including a pair of touchdowns. He spent this spring building rapport with quarterback Christian Hackenberg in preparation for a larger role this fall. With new head coach James Franklin in town, the offense promises to be a strength for Penn State, leaving plenty of opportunities for Lewis to produce.
• Vince Mayle, Washington State – Mike Leach’s Air Raid offenses have consistently produced fantasy stars over the years. Vince Mayle could be next in line. Coming off a season that saw him haul in 42 passes for 539 yards and seven touchdowns, Mayle was the star of spring practice for the Cougars. Having dropped his weight down from 245 pounds to 218, he ran crisper routes and showed better overall speed. Standing 6-foot-3 with strong hands, Mayle will remind many of former Texas Tech standout Michael Crabtree. While most will look to draft other Cougar wide receivers Gabe Marks or Dominique Williams, it’s Mayle who could be primed to put up the biggest numbers.
• Gehrig Dieter, Bowling Green – Dieter is probably the least known of this group, but could offer the most upside. As a senior in high school in 2011, Dieter was a Parade All-American who set a national record with 437 yards receiving in a game. He transferred from SMU after his freshman season due to a lack of playing time. He now finds himself in an ideal situation at Bowling Green as new head coach Dino Babers implements his high-tempo, Baylor style offense. At 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds Dieter should present a matchup problem for most defensive backs in the MAC conference. Dieter will compete with Ronnie Moore and Roger Lewis for catches, but in this offense there are plenty of balls to go around for even the third and fourth wide receivers to be fantasy relevant.
• D’haquille “Duke” Williams, Auburn – Williams arrived this spring rated as the number one junior college transfer according to several recruiting outlets. With all the hype surrounding him, Williams didn’t disappoint. He showed his ability to get vertical quickly and also make plays all over the field. He led all receivers in the spring game with five receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown. If the spring game is any indication of things to come, Auburn will be looking to throw the ball a lot more this season in order to balance their already potent rushing attack. Williams will also have standout wide receiver Sammy Coates drawing plenty of attention. All of this will give Williams the chance to produce in a big way and leave many fantasy owners happy in return.
• Victor Bolden, Oregon State – Bolden is another wide receiver that has some big shoes to fill as he takes over for first round draft pick Brandin Cooks. As a freshman he only caught six passes for 62 yards but did have a rushing touchdown. Where he made his biggest impact was special teams. He took over as the team’s main return specialist and showcased his elite speed and elusiveness. He returned 60 kicks for 1,198 yards including a 98 yard kickoff return touchdown against Washington. The Beavers will now use his talents more on offense as a receiver. With Sean Mannion back at quarterback he’ll see plenty of targets to try and fill the void left by Cooks.
• Kevin White, West Virginia – White came to West Virginia last season as a highly touted junior college transfer who was expected to make an immediate impact. He didn’t quite live up to the expectations, but even with West Virginia’s instability at quarterback he flashed plenty of potential and big play ability. He finished the season with 35 receptions for 507 yards and five touchdowns. White could have done more but nagging injuries and getting used to the rigors of the Big 12 schedule took its toll. So he spent this off season and spring building up the strength in his lower body in order to get stronger and faster. At 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds head coach Dana Holgorsen hasn’t had a wide receiver with these type of physical traits since his Oklahoma State days with Justin Blackmon. With Clint Trickett being named the starting quarterback recently, he should provide the offense with some stability and give White the opportunity to double his numbers from last season.
Others To Keep An Eye On
• Demarcus Robinson – Florida
• L.T. Smith – Akron
• Marcus Sullivan – UNLV
• Mike Williams – Clemson
• Darreus Rogers – USC
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