- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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We discuss one of the top wide receivers in the country a year ago as we move to No. 24 on our list:
No. 24: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina, Jr.
Preseason rank: No. 1
2011 numbers: Finished fifth in the SEC in receiving with 762 yards and was tied for third with eight touchdowns. Five of his touchdowns came in conference play and Jeffery averaged 15.6 yards per catch.
Why he's here: Jeffery was the No. 1 player on our preseason list in August, after having a spectacular sophomore season. He put up more than 1,500 yards in 2010 and was looked at as one of the best players at his position. In 2011, defenses took advantage of the lack of receiving threats the Gamecocks had outside of Jeffery and keyed in on him more. If you take his name off of the back of his jersey, Jeffery might not make our list. He only averaged 47. 1 yards per SEC game and failed to have a 100-yard receiving game until South Carolina's bowl game. However, Jeffery isn't an ordinary receiver, and he received a lot of attention from defenders for a reason. In one-on-one situations, it's hard to find a better matchup nightmare for defensive backs because of his size and strength. He also has very underrated speed and can catch just about everything thrown his way. Against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, Jeffery out-muscled defenders to catch a Hail Mary pass to end the first half. He caught four passes for 148 yards and a touchdown before he was eventually ejected for a personal foul. Jeffery didn't have stellar numbers in 2011, but despite having to just about everything on his own at the receiver position, he was still a top-five receiver in the SEC.
No. 25: Michael Dyer
1dSam Khan Jr.
2dSam Khan Jr.