Monday, August 24, 2009
Ranking the Pac-10 receivers
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
This is the first of our position rankings. On Tuesday, which is Pac-10 day on ESPN.com -- hey, take the day off; it should be a national holiday! -- we will continue with quarterbacks, which is one of our monumental stories for tomorrow's package. Feel free to disagree. This took quiet a while to put together, with lots of shuffling and re-thinking, etc.
USC: Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson are one of the best pairs in the nation. They combined for 17 touchdowns in 2008. There's outstanding depth and athleticism behind them, led by David Ausberry.
Arizona: This is a shaky No. 2 because Delashaun Dean has been hurt almost all of camp, but he and Terrell Turner combined for 86 receptions last year. William "Bug" Wright and Juron Criner ar
UCLA: Terrence Austin and Taylor Embree combined for 93 receptions last year but only one touchdown. Nelson Rosario should be more a factor this fall, while freshman speedster Randall Carroll and Ricky Marvray look ready to contribute.
Arizona State: Chris McGaha, Kerry Taylor and Kyle Williams combined for 81 receptions and eight touchdowns last year, while Gerell Robinson looks a lot better after struggling as a true freshman.
Oregon: This might be a little high, considering the Ducks' top two receivers from 2008, Terence Scott and Jaison Williams, are gone. Jeff Maehl -- 39 receptions, five touchdowns -- is the only returning receiver with double-digit receptions. But speedy Jamere Holland and newcomers Lavasier Tuinei, Tyrece Gaines, and Diante Jackson have opened eyes during practices (though Gaines and Jackson have battled injuries).
California: Everybody from 2008 is back as is talented sophomore Marvin Jones, who missed most of last year with a knee injury. The crew had potential last year, but it wasn't realized. There's more experience now, so it's likely things will trend up at the position for the Bears.
Oregon State: James Rodgers is a great start, but Sammie Stroughter and Shane Morales will be the toughest combination to replace in the conference. And this ranking doesn't include the injured Darrell Catchings, which means this is a young and unproven unit. Damola Adeniji, Jordan Bishop, Casey Kjos, Geno Munoz and Markus Wheaton have had their moments this preseason.
Washington: D'Andre Goodwin, Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar combined for 100 receptions last year. The bad news is they scored only three touchdowns. Toss in freshman James Johnson, and this is one of the Huskies strongest positions. They may well be better than eighth, but they've got to prove themselves.
Stanford: The Cardinal is expecting dramatic gains for its passing offense with quarterback Andrew Luck. And the receiving corps might be ready to jump aboard. Ryan Whalen and Doug Baldwin combined for 64 receptions last year, and Chris Owusu and some intriguing young players, such as Jamal-Rashad Patterson, will help. But after averaging 152 yards passing last year, the receivers, like the Huskies crew, need to prove themselves.
Washington State: The Cougars had the worst passing offense in the conference last year -- six touchdowns, 21 interceptions -- and the departed Brandon Gibson represented a third of that production. Speedy Jeshua Anderson could be a more refined receiver this fall, and there's some youngsters who might make an impact. Injuries have hurt during the preseason.