Thursday, June 14, 2012
The SEC's 1,000-yard receivers in 2012
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
If you’ve been following along, you know we’ve ranked those players most likely to have 3,000-yard passing seasons and 1,000-yard rushing seasons in the SEC in 2012.
Now, it’s time to turn our attention to the receivers. Who in the SEC is destined to have a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2012?
Last season, there were only two -- Arkansas’ Jarius Wright (1,117 yards) and Tennessee’s Da’Rick Rogers (1,040 yards).
In 2010, there were three, and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery led the way with 1,517 yards.
LSU’s Josh Reed has the single-season SEC record. He caught 94 passes for 1,740 yards in 2001.
Here’s a list of the players in the SEC most likely to rack up 1,000 receiving yards this coming season:
Arkansas' Cobi Hamilton should put up big numbers as QB Tyler Wilson's top returning target in 2012.
1. Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas: With Tyler Wilson returning at quarterback, the Hogs are going to throw for big numbers, and somebody has to be on the receiving end. That somebody in 2012 will be Hamilton, who’s always been a dynamic big-play threat and will now move into the feature role with Wright and Adams gone.
2.Ryan Swope, Texas A&M: Yes, he had Ryan Tannehill throwing to him last season, and yes, he will have a first-year starter throwing to him this season, but Swope is a pass-catching machine no matter who’s pulling the trigger. He caught 89 passes for 1,207 yards last season and hauled in 11 touchdown catches.
3. Justin Hunter, Tennessee: The gamble here is whether or not Hunter is all the way back from his knee injury. If he is, he’s as good a bet as any in the SEC to crack 1,000 yards. He has size, speed and unbelievable leaping ability. The Vols are going to throw it a bunch, too, with Tyler Bray.
4. Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee: If Hunter doesn’t reach 1,000 yards, Rogers may. He did last season, but was the only real option the Vols had at receiver when Hunter went down in the third week. It’s unlikely that Tennessee will have two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season, but one of these guys will probably get there.
5. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: Matthews was right there at the top of the league last season with his average of 19 yards per catch. He finished with 49 catches for 778 yards and really started to blossom once Jordan Rodgers became the starter. If Matthews can get off to a good start, he has a real chance to make a run for 1,000 yards.
6. Emory Blake, Auburn: One of the most underrated receivers in the league, Blake was slowed by injuries last season. The Tigers also struggled to get anything going in the downfield passing game. Nonetheless, Blake still managed to collect 613 receiving yards on 36 catches. Look for his catches and his yards to go up in 2012, as he will clearly be the Tigers’ go-to guy in the passing game.
7. Tavarres King, Georgia: Had Malcolm Mitchell not been moved to cornerback, he’d certainly be on this list. He’ll still get some snaps at receiver, but not enough to reach 1,000 yards. The best candidate to do so for the Bulldogs is King, who quietly had 47 catches for 705 yards and eight touchdowns last season.