It is time to rank the Big East wide receivers. There is plenty of talent at this position, so let's see how the list shakes out.
1. Tavon Austin, West Virginia. If I am going with him as "NEXT" in the Big East, then he is going to be ranked No. 1. Now that he is going into his second year as a receiver, he feels totally at ease with his role and should have a monster year with Dana Holgorsen in charge.
2. Mark Harrison, Rutgers. I like Harrison because he seems to have the complete package. He is big (6-foot-3, 230 pounds), he is fast (4.38 speed) and he is a go-to guy (829 yards, 9 touchdowns last season). With a more focused offensive system in place, he should be even better in 2011.
3. D.J. Woods, Cincinnati. Though Woods was second in the league in receiving last season (898 yards), he could be overshadowed by some of the young talent the Bearcats have, including Kenbrell Thompkins, Shaq Washington and Anthony McClung. Still, Woods is the leading returning receiver in the league.
4. Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers. Sanu fought through an injury-plagued season in 2010, but when healthy he is one of the more dynamic players in the league. You have to love the size and versatility of Rutgers' receivers.
5. Mike Shanahan, Pitt. Shanahan should be the direct beneficiary of Jon Baldwin leaving and the new high-flying offense coming to the Panthers. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Shanahan is more of a possession-type receiver but he definitely is one of the most valuable pieces of this offense.
6. Stedman Bailey, West Virginia. Look for his numbers to increase in the Holgorsen offense. He should form a nice one-two combo with Austin in Morgantown. Bailey has terrific hands and catches everything that comes his way.
7. Van Chew, Syracuse. Chew leads a Syracuse crew that returns its top three receivers from last season. He may be underrated because the Orange are not known for their huge passing numbers, but look for them to work on the deep ball more this season.
8. Devin Street, Pitt. Purely based on potential here in the new Todd Graham offense. Street is a big-time deep threat. If Tino Sunseri can get him the ball and make explosive big plays, Street will be among the best in the league.
9. Josh Bellamy, Louisville. Receiver is a big question for the Cardinals, but with Bellamy returning, he should be the go-to player for Teddy Bridgewater and Will Stein. He has the size (6-foot, 206 pounds) to make plays and, now that he is going into his second year in the offense, should be much improved.
10. Marcus Sales, Syracuse. Sales really seemed to turn a corner this spring with Chew out. The two make a good tandem for the Orange, and he should have better numbers this season.
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