August 21, 2010

Preseason power rankings: WRs and TEs

MORE RANKINGS: RB

Here is part two of our preseason power rankings at each position.

We will update the power rankings each week during the regular season and release the final rankings for the season after the BCS title game.

The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.

Here are the nation's top 25 wide receivers and top 15 tight ends. Next up: interior offensive linemen.

WIDE RECEIVER POWER RANKINGS

1. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame (6-3/220, Jr.)
BUZZ: Floyd - an excellent combination of speed, size and athleticism - caught 44 passes for 795 yards and nine touchdowns last season despite playing in just seven games. He has had at least 100 receiving yards in nine of the 18 games he has played and has 16 touchdown catches. Floyd's career average of 84.1 receiving yards per game leads all active FBS players who have appeared in at least 15 games.

2. A.J. Green, Georgia (6-4/212. Jr.)
BUZZ: He battled injuries last season and still finished with 53 receptions for 808 yards and six touchdowns - leading the Bulldogs in each category. He has 109 career catches, for 1,771 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had a key blocked kick in last season's victory over Arizona State.

3. Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh (6-5/230, Jr.)
BUZZ: Baldwin was a touted recruit and began living up to billing last season with some monster stats. He had 1,111 receiving yards and eight TDs last fall on a team that emphasizes the run. He's a big-play threat who has averaged 20.2 yards per catch in two seasons.

4. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma (5-11/183, Jr.)
BUZZ: One of the nation's greatest big-play threats, Broyles turned in 23 plays that covered at least 20 yards last season. Despite missing some time with a shoulder injury, he had 1,129 yards and 15 TDs as a receiver; he also ranked third in the nation in punt returns with a 15.9 average. An All-Big 12 selection, he was named MVP of the Sun Bowl after making 13 catches for 156 yards and three TDs.

5. James Rodgers, Oregon State (5-7/188, Sr.)
BUZZ: At a school that produced Chad Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Rodgers had a team-record 91 receptions last season, for 1,034 yards and nine TDs. He also rushed for 303 yards and a score. There's more: He had 36 kickoff returns (for 840 yards) and 13 punt returns (for 151 yards). In all, he accounted for 2,328 yards, which was sixth in the nation.

6. Julio Jones, Alabama (6-4/211, Jr.)
BUZZ: There is no doubting Jones' talent - he has great size, can run and is physical - but you wonder what he could do on a team that truly threw the ball. He battled injuries last season, when he had 43 receptions for 596 yards and four touchdowns, and has 101 catches and eight TDs in his career.

7. Austin Pettis, Boise State (6-3/201, Sr.)
BUZZ: Pettis, who has great size, good speed and runs crisp routes, has been an important player since he stepped on campus. He had 46 receptions as a true freshman in 2007, 49 as a sophomore and 63 - with 14 TDs - last season. As for his toughness, he suffered a broken leg in late November but returned for the Fiesta Bowl. He has 29 career TD receptions, the most of any current player.

8. DeVier Posey, Ohio State (6-0/200, Jr.)
BUZZ: He emerged last season as a playmaker, catching 60 passes for 828 yards and eight touchdowns. Posey had eight receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in Ohio State's Rose Bowl victory over Oregon. He has excellent speed and can physically overpower most cornerbacks.

9. Armon Binns, Cincinnati (6-4/200, Sr.)
BUZZ: Binns had 61 catches for 888 yards and 11 TDs last season - and that was as the Bearcats' No. 2 receiver. Binns, who has good speed and hands and was an excellent high jumper in high school, is expected to be the go-to receiver for new starting QB Zach Collaros.

10. Keith Smith, Purdue (6-2/226, Sr.)
BUZZ: No Big Ten player caught more passes (91) for more yards (1,100) last season than Smith, who was recruited as a quarterback, moved to safety and finally settled at wide receiver in 2007. He figures to be the favorite target of new Purdue QB Robert Marve.

11. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina (6-4/237, Soph.)
BUZZ: Jeffery had 47 catches for 763 yards and six TDs despite starting just seven games as a true freshman last season. He was the lone SEC freshman in the top 10 in the league in yards and receptions per game. Jeffery is a freakish blend of size and speed.

12. DeAndre Brown, Southern Miss (6-6/239, Jr.)
BUZZ: Brown wasn't healthy last season, but he still has 114 career receptions for 1,902 yards (16.7 avg.) and 21 TDs. His size and strength make him a matchup nightmare, and he has OK speed, too. He has six 100-yard games and five multiple-TD games in his career. He needs to play with more focus and consistency.

13. Dwayne Harris, East Carolina (6-0/205, Sr.)
BUZZ: Harris is coming off an 83-catch season, and that was in former coach Skip Holtz's rather staid attack. This season, with an offense patterned after the one Mike Leach ran at Texas Tech, Harris could have a monster season. He has good size and great speed, which serves him well as a return man. Harris had three kickoff returns for TDs last season, when he averaged 27.0 yards per return.

14. Terrance Toliver, LSU (6-5/206, Sr.)
BUZZ: Toliver had by far the best season of his career in 2009, with 53 receptions for 735 yards but just three TDs. He has 85 career receptions, but LSU has been saddled with less-than-stellar quarterback play. With Brandon LaFell gone to the NFL, Toliver will be LSU's go-to receiver this fall.

15. T.Y. Hilton, Florida International (5-10/175, Jr.)
BUZZ: Hilton has rather modest stats, but keep in mind that FIU's quarterback play has been ... well, it hasn't been good. Hilton has 98 career catches for 1,645 yards and 12 TDs, including two vs. Rutgers last season. He also has thrown a TD pass, rushed for two TDs, returned one punt for a score and returned two kickoffs for TDs in his career, including one against Alabama last season.

16. Greg Childs, Arkansas (6-3/217, Jr.)
BUZZ: Childs emerged as QB Ryan Mallett's favorite receiver and one of the country's top big-play threats in '09. He averaged 18.7 yards on 48 catches and had seven touchdown grabs. Childs had five games in which he averaged more than 20 yards per catch and was especially effective against Georgia, Florida and LSU, with more than 100 receiving yards in each of those games.

17. Vincent Brown, San Diego State (6-0/195, Sr.)
BUZZ: As if 45 catches for 778 yards and six touchdowns weren't impressive enough, understand that Brown's '09 stats were compiled in just seven games. He hadn't gotten a catch in the Aztecs' seventh game before suffering a season-ending thumb injury. Before the injury, he'd exceeded 100 receiving yards in five games and had 85 yards in the other one. With a healed thumb, Brown is a bona-fide contender for All-America honors.

18. James Cleveland, Houston (6-2/205, Sr.)
BUZZ: A junior college transfer, Cleveland made a major splash in '09 by earning All-Conference USA honors and being named the league's top newcomer. He had 104 catches for 1,214 yards to rank among the nation's top eight in both categories. He did that despite missing two games with an ankle injury. Cleveland had more than 10 catches in five games, including 19 for 241 yards and three touchdowns against East Carolina in the C-USA championship game.

19. Jermaine Kearse, Washington (6-2/205, Jr.)
BUZZ: The explosive Kearse established himself as a big-play threat during a breakout sophomore season. He led the Huskies with 50 receptions for a 17.3 average and eight touchdowns. Half of his touchdown receptions covered at least 34 yards, and he had at least one catch for 30 yards in eight games.

20. Titus Young, Boise State (5-11/170, Sr.)
BUZZ: A reliable, productive receiver with sure hands and good speed, Young is dangerous as a receiver and kick returner. Last season, he had at least six catches in eight games en route to amassing 79 receptions for 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns. Young exceeded 100 receiving yards five times and had 92 in another.

21. Leonard Hankerson, Miami (6-3/205, Sr.)
BUZZ: The best player in a deep Miami receiving corps, Hankerson caught 45 passes for 801 yards and six touchdowns last season to lead the Hurricanes in all three categories. The big-threat caught a pass of at least 20 yards in 12 of Miami's 13 games last season, and he had a reception of at least 30 yards in eight games.

22. Greg Salas, Hawaii (6-2/210, Sr.)
BUZZ: Salas is the latest in a long line of prolific Hawaii receivers. He caught 106 passes for 1,590 yards and eight touchdowns last season while ranking fourth in the nation in receiving yards per game (122.3) and sixth in catches per game (8.15). He set a school single-game record with 16 catches against New Mexico State.

23. Jerrel Jernigan, Troy (5-9/190, Sr.)
BUZZ: Few receivers in the country were as hot as Jernigan late last season. He caught 20 passes for 443 yards in Troy's final three games to finish the season with 71 receptions for 1,101 yards and four touchdowns. He earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors as a receiver and all-purpose player last year and made the second team as a kick returner. He has 178 career receptions, the most of any current player.

24. Ronald Johnson, USC (6-0/185, Sr.)
BUZZ: This ranking is based more on Johnson's potential than his production thus far, but keep in mind that he missed the first five games of the 2009 season with a broken collarbone. He caught at least five passes in each of USC's final four games last season to finish the season with 34 receptions for 378 yards. He will be the Trojans' go-to guy this fall.

25. Tandon Doss, Indiana (6-3/195, Jr.)
BUZZ: Doss caught 77 passes for 962 yards and five touchdowns last season to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors from the league's media. He ranked second in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game and finished third in catches per game. More than one-third of his receiving yards came after he made the catch.

TIGHT END POWER RANKINGS

1. Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame (6-6/265, Jr.)
BUZZ: A rare combination of size, speed and strength, Rudolph should be a great fit for the new offense being installed by Brian Kelly. Rudolph has caught 62 passes for 704 yards and five TDs in his career. He may match those totals this season.

2. Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin (6-4/241, Sr.)
BUZZ: He arrived in Madison as a wide receiver but has morphed into a tight end. Kendricks was at his best in the victory over Miami in the 2009 Champs Bowl, grabbing seven passes for 128 yards with a career-long 37-yard catch. He finished last season with 29 receptions for 356 yards and three scores, and should be a much bigger part of the offense this season.

3. George Bryan, N.C. State (6-5/265, Jr.)
BUZZ: He was a first-team All-ACC pick last season after pacing conference tight ends in receptions with 40. Bryan ranks fourth among active ACC players in career touchdown catches with nine. The bruising Bryan also has developed into a strong blocker.

4. Luke Stocker, Tennessee (6-6/253, Sr.)
BUZZ: Few tight ends possess his combination of blocking ability and hands, reminding some of former Vols great Jason Witten. Stocker, who enters his third season as a starter, finished 2009 with 29 catches for 389 yards and five touchdowns. He enjoyed his best game in the finale vs. Kentucky, making five grabs for 78 yards and a score.

5. Jeffrey Anderson, UAB (6-3/255, Sr.)
BUZZ: The athletic Anderson has caught at least one pass in 23 of his past 24 games and enters 2010 with 64 career catches for 982 yards and nine TDs, averaging 15.3 yards per catch. Anderson ranked second on the Blazers with 26 receptions for 398 yards with five scores in 2009.

6. D.J. Williams, Arkansas (6-2/251, Sr.)
BUZZ: Williams considered turning pro but opted to return for his senior season. Already a standout with his hands, Williams made a concerted effort to block better in the spring and made big improvement. He caught 32 passes for 411 yards in 2009. Williams enters this season as Arkansas' active leader in career receptions (98), receiving yards (1,228) and games played (38).

7. Daniel Hardy, Idaho (6-4/242, Sr.)
BUZZ: A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Hardy was Idaho's second-leading receiver last season with 39 catches for 691 yards and three touchdowns despite missing a game. He enters his third season as a regular after redshirting in 2006 and serving on the scout team in 2007. Hardy became a regular in the rotation in 2008, making nine catches for 128 yards and two scores before his breakout in 2009.

8. Zack Pianalto, UNC (6-4/250, Sr.)
BUZZ: He's known for his sticky hands, and he has bulked up to become a better blocker. But Pianalto must avoid the injuries that have forced him to miss portions of the past two seasons. He grabbed a career-high 33 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown in 2009. The 33 receptions was a school single-season record for a tight end.

9. Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern (6-3/235, Jr.)
BUZZ: The Wildcats use the multi-talented Dunsmore as a "Superback," often putting him in motion like an H-back. Dunsmore is a sharp route runner with excellent ball skills who has added weight and gotten stronger. He ranked second in catches among Big Ten tight ends last season with 47, enjoying a breakout 2009 after suffering a season-ending knee injury on the fifth day of preseason drills in 2008.

10. Charlie Gantt, Michigan State (6-5/260, Sr.)
BUZZ: Entering his third season as a starter, Gantt is a strong blocker who has the athletic ability to get downfield and make the catch. He enters 2010 with 41 career catches for 650 yards and six touchdowns in what is a tight end-friendly offense.

11. Lee Smith, Marshall (6-6/ 267, Sr.)
BUZZ: Smith signed with Tennessee out of high school but quickly transferred to Marshall. He shared time the past two seasons with Cody Slate, with the Herd often using two-tight end alignments. Smith is a bruising blocker but is developing into a legitimate receiver; he had 23 catches for 335 yards last season and has 37 in his career, though none have gone for touchdowns.

12. Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6/230, Jr.)
BUZZ: Green missed four games with a neck injury but still led the Ragin' Cajuns in receiving yards with 533, on 32 receptions; he scored three times. He had 22 receptions, with five going for scores, as a freshman backup in 2008. Green has above-average speed for a tight end and is effective in the middle of the field.

13. Alston Umuolo, San Diego State (6-4/250, Sr.)
BUZZ: He emerged as a reliable receiving threat last season, coach Brady Hoke's first with the Aztecs. Umuolo had 22 receptions for 243 yards and three TDs, and is an effective complement for the Aztecs' top-notch wide receiver duo of Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson.

14. Virgil Green, Nevada (6-5/240, Sr.)
BUZZ: Green is coming off a 23-catch season; those receptions went for 260 yards and five TDs. He had one stretch last season in which he caught a scoring pass in four consecutive games.

15. Ben Guidugli, Cincinnati (6-1/230, Sr.)
BUZZ: The brother of former Cincinnati QB Gino Guidugli, Ben is entering his third season as the Bearcats' starting tight end. He had 27 receptions for 364 yards and three TDs last season.




 

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