SEC's Mr. Clutch: Pass-catchers

We've looked at some of the SEC's most clutch quarterbacks and runners of 2014 over the previous two days.

Today let's search the ESPN Stats & Information database to determine which of the league's pass-catchers came up big when it mattered most last season -- and don't be surprised if you see former Alabama superstar Amari Cooper's name a bunch of times over the next several paragraphs.

Clutch Factor No. 1: Most catches on third- or fourth-and-long

Let's define third- or fourth-and long here as any play where the offense needed to gain at least 7 yards to achieve a first down.

No SEC players hauled in more passes in those situations than Auburn's Duke Williams (14 catches, 16.07 yards per catch -- and in just eight games), Alabama's Cooper (13, 14.38) and Tennessee's Alton Howard (13, 15.31).

Williams achieved a first down on 12 of those 14 catches, which tied for the most in the FBS.

Meanwhile, only one FBS player (Washington State's Dominique Williams with five) had more receptions in such situations than Mississippi State's De'Runnya Wilson (four).

The good news for SEC fans -- at least the fans of their respective teams -- is that Cooper is the only member of this foursome who is not back in 2015. This is setting up to be an outstanding season for receiver talent in the conference.

National top 10: T1. Tajae Sharpe, UMass (17 receptions for 330 yards, 3 TDs); T1. Jaelen Strong, Arizona State (17-183, TD); T3. Tyler Lockett, Kansas State (16-282, 2 TDs); T3. Bradley Marquez, Texas Tech (16-253, 2 TDs); T5. Roger Lewis, Bowling Green (15-371, 3 TDs); T5. Nelson Agholor, USC (15-211, 2 TDs); T5. Kevin White, West Virginia (15-160, TD); T5. Joshua McCain, Idaho (15-197); T5. JoJo Natson, Utah State (15-83); T5. John Harris, Texas (15-280, 3 TD); T5. Issac Blakeney, Duke (15-190).

SEC top five: T12. Duke Williams, Auburn (14-225, 2 TD); T16. Amari Cooper, Alabama (13-187); T16. Alton Howard, Tennessee (13-199); T30. Demarcus Robinson, Florida (11-168, TD); T46. De'Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State (10-177, 4 TDs).

Clutch Factor No. 2: Number of catches that resulted in first down or TD

Cooper's record-setting season included 124 catches, 1,727 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. He was valuable in every capacity, but that was especially the case when the Crimson Tide needed to pick up a first down or score some points.

Only one player in the country (East Carolina's Justin Hardy with 84) had more catches that resulted in a first down or touchdown than Cooper's 77.

Former Missouri receiver Bud Sasser also deserves a mention here. The 2014 senior frequently carried the Tigers' passing game -- as evidenced by his spot in the top 15 with 54 catches that resulted in a first down or touchdown.

And don't be surprised if South Carolina's Pharoh Cooper (45) and Auburn's Williams (38) make a leap in these standings in 2015, as well.

National top 10: 1. Justin Hardy, East Carolina (84 receptions for 1,263 yards, 10 TDs); 2. Amari Cooper, Alabama (77-1,474, 16 TDs); 3. Rashard Higgins, Colorado State (72-1,630, 17 TDs); 4. Tyler Lockett, Kansas State (67-1,238, 11 TDs); 5. Vince Mayle, Washington State (65-1,260, 9 TDs); T6. Rashad Greene, Florida State (64-1,167, 7 TDs); T6. Nelson Agholor, USC (64, 1,132, 12 TDs); 8. Tommy Shuler, Marshall (63-959, 9 TDs); 9. Jaelen Strong, Arizona State (62-1,085, 10 TDs); 10. Nelson Spruce, Colorado (60-949, 12 TDs).

SEC top five: 2. Amari Cooper (77-1,474, 16 TDs); T14. Bud Sasser, Missouri (54-875, 12 TDs); T31. Pharoh Cooper (45-1,019, 9 TDs); T62. Duke Williams, Auburn (38-693, 5 TDs); T67. Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M (37-757, 13 TDs).

Clutch Factor No. 3: Most catches in the fourth quarter and overtime

Finally, let's check out production late in games. Who are quarterbacks looking for to keep drives alive and push their teams down the field?

Again, Sasser makes the list. In this case, he was tops in the SEC with 22 grabs -- including five touchdowns, which tied for second in the FBS. The Tigers will desperately miss his presence this year as they break in an entirely new set of receivers.

Tennessee's 5-foot-8 jitterbug Howard (18 catches) again ranks toward the top of the SEC's list here, as does Florida's Demarcus Robinson (15 catches, three TDs).

In fact, this is the second of the three categories where Robinson made the SEC's top five. Perhaps that's a good sign for new Gators coach Jim McElwain, who is remaking the team's offense and needs all the weapons he can get.

Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell might be another breakout candidate here after tying for fifth in the SEC last year with 13 late catches despite playing into the fourth quarter in just six games.

National top 10: 1. Vince Mayle, Washington State (31 receptions for 495 yards, 2 TDs); 2. Nelson Spruce, Colorado (30-275, 4 TDs); 3. Kevin White, West Virginia (27-257, 2 TDs); T4. Keevan Lucas, Tulsa (24-235, 3 TDs); T4. Jordan Payton, UCLA (24-337, 4 TDs); T6. Rashard Higgins, Colorado State (23-375, 3 TDs); T6. Mike Dudek, Illinois (23-354, 3 TDs); T8. Tyler Lockett, Kansas State (22-362, 2 TDs); T8. Tommy Shuler, Marshall (22-224); T8. Justin Hardy, East Carolina (22-240, 2 TDs); T8. Joshua McCain, Idaho (22-342, 2 TDs); T8. Bud Sasser, Missouri (22-368, 5 TDs).

SEC top five: T8. Bud Sasser, Missouri (22-368, 5 TDs); T23. Alton Howard, Tennessee (18-230, TD); T40. Demarcus Robinson, Florida (15-268, 3 TDs); T59. Amari Cooper, Alabama (14-165, 2 TDs); T79. Steven Scheu, Vanderbilt (13-197). T79. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss (13-176, 2 TDs).