August 26, 2009

Notre Dame receiving duo the nation's best


We continue with our national unit rankings, and today we're focusing on receiving corps. We'll unveil one unit per day and end Tuesday with overall coaching staffs.

When it comes to solid team groups, this is probably the weakest position in the nation. There are some productive duos, to be sure, but even the teams we have in the top 10 need other receivers to step up.

Here are the receiver unit rankings. Next up: offensive lines.


1. Notre Dame
: Michael Floyd and Golden Tate have as much talent as any receiving duo in the nation. Floyd is a big, physical guy, and Tate is a big-time deep threat and a dangerous return man. There is good depth at tight end, and sophomore Kyle Rudolph has the physical tools to be a star.

2. Texas
: Jordan Shipley is a proven commodity, and his return skills are underrated. Look for Malcolm Williams to also become a star this season. James Kirkendoll is talented, as well. Tight end could be a wasteland, though.

3. USC
: WR Damian Williams has All-America potential, and Ronald Johnson has the tools to be a productive deep threat. There is talented depth at wide receiver, albeit untested depth. TE Anthony McCoy should become more involved in the attack this season.

4. Texas Tech
: The Red Raiders will miss Michael Crabtree - and Eric Morris, too - but this still will be an extremely productive group. Detron Lewis will become the go-to receiver, and Edward Britton and Tramain Swindall should each catch at least 50 passes.

5. Kansas
: Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier again should be the most productive receiving duo in the nation. No. 3 man Johnathan Wilson is coming off a 43-catch season.

6. Houston
: This is a deep, talented unit. Five receivers who caught at least 25 passes return, headed by sophomore Tyron Carrier, a speedster (he qualified for the NCAA meet in the 200 meters) who has 100-catch potential.

7. Illinois
: Arrelious Benn is one of the nation's best wide receivers, but he needs to catch more than three TD passes this season. Florida transfer Jarred Fayson could be an explosive No. 2 guy. Jeff Cumberland and TE Michael Hoomanawanui also can be effective receivers.

8. Georgia
: A.J. Green lived up to his high school hype last season. But how much will he miss QB Matthew Stafford this season? There are numerous candidates to be the No. 2 guy. There are some good tight ends, though they're mostly used as blockers.

9. LSU
: Brandon LaFell easily could lead the SEC in receptions. Terrance Toliver looks as if he could have a breakout season. TE Richard Dickson is a valuable and effective third option.

10. Central Michigan
: Bryan Anderson, Antonio Brown and Kito Poblah combined for 199 receptions last season. Brown has great speed and is an excellent return man. Anderson has caught a pass in 40 consecutive games, the longest streak in the nation.

Others to watch: Arizona (Rob Gronkowski is the nation's best tight end not named Jermaine Gresham); Boise State (Austin Pettis and speedster Titus Young are a nice 1-2 punch, and there is good depth at tight end); Colorado State (Rashaun Greer and Dion Morton are hampered by less-than-stellar quarterback play); Mississippi (Dexter McCluster is a playmaker, and Shay Hodge can be an effective deep threat); North Carolina State (Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams are returning starters, and the return of Donald Bowens who missed last season with an injury provides another physical presence); Oklahoma (The Sooners lost their top two wide receivers, but Gresham is a stud at tight end and WR Ryan Broyles will become a star this season); Tulsa (This is a deep and productive group, and H-back Charles Clay is underrated nationally); UTEP (Kris Adams and Jeff Moturi combined for 23 touchdown receptions last season).

(Rankings by staffers Olin Buchanan, Tom Dienhart, David Fox, Mike Huguenin and Steve Megargee.)

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