Big East preseason position rankings: Receiver

August, 25, 2009
8/25/09
11:35
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Let's continue our preseason rankings of each Big East position group now with the receivers. Tight ends will also be included in this group.

There are some real stars in the league at this position, but again, depth matters since we're considering the entire group.


1. Pittsburgh: There's no more talented receiver in the Big East than sophomore Jonathan Baldwin, but he's not all Pitt has at this position. The Panthers also have Oderick Turner, their leading receiver two years ago, as well as potential playmakers in Ced McGee, Aundre Wright and Cam Saddler. Plus, the best tight end in the league, Nate Byham, plays here, and No. 2 tight end Dorin Dickerson is an all-around threat.


2. Cincinnati: Mardy Gilyard headlines this group, which could prove to be incredibly productive. Marcus Barnett's return to offense could be a huge boost if he regains his 2007 form. The only proven other proven wideout is sophomore D.J. Woods, but Armon Binns and junior college transfer Jamar Howard look ready to contribute in a big way. And tight ends Ben Guidugli, Kazeem Alli and Adrien Robinson could all start for most Big East teams.


3. South Florida: Sometimes it seems like the Bulls skill player options never end. There's no one superstar, but Matt Grothe can choose from Jessie Hester, A.J. Love, Carlton Mitchell, Dontavia Bogan and Ed Alcin. And that's not counting freshmen speedsters Sterling Griffin and Derrick Hopkins.


4. West Virginia: The Mountaineers want to throw downfield more, and they should have the receivers to do so. Alric Arnett and Bradley Starks have each shown flashes of big-time ability, while the 6-foot-8 Wes Lyons had a big spring. The return of Jock Sanders and the possible emergence of Tavon Austin helps. A lack of depth and proven experience are the only concerns.


5. Louisville: The deepest and most talented spot on the Cardinals roster. Scott Long is a star when healthy, and while he was out last year, several wideouts gained valuable experience. Doug Beaumont had 62 catches last season, and 6-foot-8 Josh Chichester is a dangerous target. The Cardinals also have Trent Guy, Troy Pascley and former walk-on Andrew Robinson. More dependable tight end options would put Louisville higher on this list.


6. Rutgers: Tim Brown is as solid as they come. Rutgers hasn't exactly found a lot of answers around him. But freshman Mohamed Sanu played well in the spring, and Julian Hayes has looked good this month. Shamar Graves is a good pass-catching tight end, and the move of D.C. Jefferson to that spot is intriguing. The Scarlet Knights have enough athletes to figure something out here.


7. Syracuse: Mike Williams should be one of the best receivers in the Big East, provided he hasn't lost too much since his year off. Mike Owen has all-league potential at tight end. Other than that, though, there's not a whole lot to get excited about.


8. Connecticut: This ranking goes up if freshman Dwayne Difton is the real deal. UConn's receivers were mostly dreadful in '08, cursed by drops and not helped by erratic quarterback play. Veterans like Kashif Moore and Brad Kanuch have to improve to make this offense go.

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