Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Looking back at the 1,000-yard receivers
By Edward Aschoff
Now that we've checked out last season's 3,000-yard passers and 1,000-yard rushers from the SEC, it's time to look at which players ended the year in the 1,000-yard receiving club.
Before last season, we looked at seven receivers we thought could reach the 1,000-yard mark in 2012. At season's end, the SEC had five players reach 1,000 receiving yards. That's three more than in 2011.
Here's a look at how the seven wide receivers we looked at before the season did in 2012:
1. Emory Blake, Auburn: Without much of an offense to speak of on the Plains last fall, Blake was the only bright spot in the receiving corps. He led the team with 50 catches for 789 yards and three touchdowns. He was Auburn's only player to catch more than 18 passes last fall.
2. Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas: He certainly made us look really good in 2012. Hamilton was one of the best receivers in the league, catching 90 passes for a league-high 1,335 yards and recorded five touchdowns. He also led the SEC by averaging 111.2 receiving yards per game.
3. Justin Hunter, Tennessee: Hunter seemed to get better as the year progressed. He seemed hesitant at first after coming off his knee injury, but his knee didn't seem to bother him after the first few games, and he finished the year leading the Vols with 73 catches for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns.
4. Tavarres King, Georgia: Quarterback Aaron Murray had a lot of targets to throw to in 2012, but King proved to be his most reliable. King led the Bulldogs with 42 catches for 950 yards and nine touchdowns. His 22.6 yards per catch weren't too shabby, either.
5. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: He could have easily forgone his senior season with the year he had in 2012. Matthews was arguably Vanderbilt's best offensive weapon, leading the SEC with 94 catches and registering 1,323 yards with eight touchdowns. He also collected seven 100-yard receiving games.
6. Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee: Rogers might have cracked the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year, but he was dismissed from Tennessee's football team before the season. He ended his college career at Tennessee Tech, catching 61 passes for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns.
7. Ryan Swope, Texas A&M: Swope ended his Aggies career with a very productive senior season. He was second on the team with 72 catches for 913 yards and led the Aggies with eight touchdowns. He had five 100-yard receiving games last fall.
Who was overlooked:
- Amari Cooper, Alabama: He wasn't even supposed to be the Crimson Tide's best freshman receiver, but he looked like the league's best receiver during the latter part of the season. He finished the year with 59 catches for 1,000 yards and was second in the SEC with 11 receiving touchdowns. He registered 100 yards receiving in four of Alabama's final five games.
- Mike Evans, Texas A&M: Even with Swope lining up with him, Evans broke onto the SEC scene during his freshman year with a monster season. He led the Aggies with 82 receptions for 1,105 yards and also had five touchdowns. He caught at least four passes in all 13 of Texas A&M's games.