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Friday, August 21, 2009
SEC position rankings: Receivers

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

We'll take a look at the SEC receivers today. Included in this group are the tight ends:

1. Ole Miss: It was a tough call between Ole Miss and Arkansas, but the Rebels get the nod based on the one-two punch of Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge. McCluster will line up all over the field, but Hodge is one of the more underrated players in the league. He had eight touchdown catches last season. Ole Miss fans (not to mention quarterback Jevan Snead) are going to love freshman Pat Patterson. He can really go get the football.

2. Arkansas: The Hogs are so complete at all the pass-catching positions. Junior D.J. Williams is one of the best playmaking tight ends in the country. He caught 61 passes last season. The sophomore threesome of Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Greg Childs is outstanding. The one downer is Lucas Miller breaking his collarbone this week in practice and being out for the next four to six weeks.

3. Florida: One of the few question marks surrounding the Gators is who will step forward in the spots vacated by Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy. No worries. There's still plenty of talent to go around. Deonte Thompson, Riley Cooper, David Nelson and freshman Andre Debose will be just fine. And what a dimension junior tight end Aaron Hernandez provides with his versatility.

4. LSU: Brandon LaFell is one of most complete receivers in the league. He's got speed, good size and has been extremely productive, but the Tigers have several other pieces around him. Richard Dickson is one of the better tight ends in the league, while true freshmen Rueben Randle and Russell Shepard are both special talents.

5. Alabama: Julio Jones is so good that he vaults the Crimson Tide into the SEC's Top 5 simply by himself. He's healthier after fighting off several issues last season and has a better grasp of the offense. Alabama will also move him around more this season. Keep an eye on tight end Colin Peek. He's a transfer from Georgia Tech who will be a big part of the passing game.

6. Georgia: Just like Julio Jones, A.J. Green is so dynamic that he makes everybody else around him better. Green led the SEC with 963 receiving yards last season as a freshman and tied for the league lead with eight touchdown catches. Redshirt freshman Tavarres King, and true freshman Marlon Brown are two guys to watch.

7. Tennessee: Lane Kiffin did a nice job in this first recruiting class of going out and adding some weapons at receiver. Freshmen Marsalis Teague and Nu'Keese Richardson will both play key roles this season. Gerald Jones should flourish in this offense, and it looks like the Vols will get Denarius Moore back earlier than expected from a foot injury.

8. Auburn: The Tigers are thin in a lot of spots, and receiver is one of them. Tim Hawthorne broke his foot and is expected to miss the first four game. Montez Billings has the most experience, but freshmen DeAngelo Benton and Emory Blake will probably both have to play. Mario Fannin in the slot should make a big difference.

9. South Carolina: The Gamecocks are lacking a go-to guy and didn't have one last season. Senior Moe Brown is steady, but isn't a home-run threat. They really need sophomore Jason Barnes to put it all together this season, and the guy that's really coming is heralded freshman Alshon Jeffery.

10. Kentucky: Like a lot of other teams in the league, the Wildcats have one dynamic receiver in Randall Cobb and not much else in the way of proven players. Junior college newcomer Chris Matthews looks like he's the real deal.

11. Mississippi State: There's talent on the roster at receiver for the Bulldogs. It's just young talent. They may end up playing as many as four first-year players at receiver this season, led by freshman Chad Bumphis.

12. Vanderbilt: When Connecticut transfer Terence Jeffers-Harris didn't get eligible, that was a big blow for the Commodores. Remember, they'd already lost Justin Wheeler in the spring to a knee injury. There just aren't any proven playmakers right now at receiver, although both of the tight ends are good players.