Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Personal Favorite Returnees for 2011-WR Edition

This is my third installment of this series. I take a look ahead at who I find to be the most productive players in America that will be returning for next season. This edition, I look at the WRs for FBS, FCS, and D2 football.


Justin Blackmon, Jr.-Oklahoma State
Forget about anyone else that you have seen in the last 20 years of college football. Blackmon may be the most dynamic and consistent receiver since Jerry Rice graced the field at Mississippi Valley State. All Blackmon managed to do in 2010 was make Oklahoma State fan say "Dez, who?". Blackmon has redefined what a superstar wideout is in the modern game. He rolled up a line of 111-1782-20, and by returning to OSU, he all but assures that the Cowboys will have every chance of taking Oklahoma to the wire for an all in title chase.

Ryan Broyles, Sr.-Oklahoma
The counterpart to Blackmon, Broyles basically shocked everyone by announcing his intentions to return to OU for his senior season, as he would have been a surefire top 5 NFL pick. Broyles return virtually ensured that Oklahoma will be competing for the national title in 2011, but they had plenty of pieces of he didn't. His return shows a maturity, and his skill set ensures that OU will battle it out next season with the best of them. His numbers of 131-1622-14 were so good, that if repeated, could put both he and Landry Jones in Heisman talks next season.

Alshon Jefferey, Jr.-South Carolina
Many Gamecock fans felt that Stephen Garcia had a rebirth in 2010 at QB, and that may have been true to a degree, but it was mainly due to the stellar play at WR from Jeffery, who piled up a line of 88-1517-9. Jeffery is a game changer. He's a fearless receiver who is not afraid of making the amazing grab, and sacrfices himself for the greater good. With Garcia's status in doubt for 2011, Jefferey just became more valuable than ever for SC, as his skills will more than bolster any young QB (Connor Shaw) taking over.

Juron Criner, Sr.-Arizona
Arizona is finally starting to turn a corner under Mike Stoops, and Criner is a huge reason why. In 2010, Criner piled up a huge season with a Pac-10 leading 83-1244-11. Criner averaged just under 15 yards every time he touched the football, and with Nick Foles returning at QB for the Wildcats, Arizona looks to be a darkhorse candidate in the new Pac-12 South for 2011. Criner is already one of the best ever to play for Arizona.

Lance Lewis, Sr.-East Carolina
Lewis is an under the radar type of receiver, as he was hidden behind Dwayne Harris for the last few years. The show is all his now, and he was better than Harris in 2010. Lewis posted numbers of 89-1116-14, and was a primary reason for the rebirth of QB Dominique Davis. When you think of what's scary for ECU, is that Lewis may actually be even better in 2011 as a senior. All of those grabs that Harris had will have to go somewhere.

Patrick Edwards, Sr.-Houston
You would have thought that all of the QB injury issues would have killed a guy like Edwards last season. Not so. Edwards put the load on his back and became a young QB's best friend last fall. Edwards out up a line of 71-1100-13 despite not having pre-season Heisman contender Case Keenum tossing the football his way past week two of the season. Hell, he didn't even have the #2 QB. He was catching passes from 3rd and 4th stringers and still looked like an All-America candidate. With Keenum coming back next fall, there will be some damage done by this dude.


Joel Bradoford, Sr.-Chattanooga
When you look for reason as to why the Mocs have come so far so quickly, look no further than dynamic DB turned WR Joel Bradford. Bradford is probably the best receiver that the Mocs have had since the legendary Terrell Owens graced the field back in the 90's. He had a tremendous season in 2010, rolling up numbers of 81-1284-8, but there is some unfinished business to take care, and that's taking the Mocs to a playoff birth. Bradofrd will be highly motivated to get there, meaning that his numbers may increase next fall.

Brandon Kaufman, Jr. Eastern Washington
Kaufman layed it all out during his sophomore season, and you'll rarely find a receiver so good so young. Kaufman heads into his junior season with a championship ring after posting a season of 76-1214-15, and he travels into next fal with a target planted firmly on his back. With Bo Levi Mitchell returning at QB, look for Kaufman to blow the roof off again next fall.

Ryan Spadola, Jr.-Lehigh
Once again, another young super talent. Spadola was huge for the Mountain Hawks in 2010, and like Kaufman, also has the benefit of having a super QB returning to toss the ball to him in Chris Lum. Spadola makes the big plays look easy, and should have no problems dominating Patriot League secondaries once again in 2011 after posting numbers of 78-1130-9 in 2010.

Aaron Mellette, Jr.-Elon
Yet another young mega talent at the receiver position in FCS, Mellette was solidly Elon's go to guy as a sophomore in 2010. Mellette put together a fantastic season of 89-1100-12 in his second season for the Phoenix, but this season presents a challenge as his QB, Scott Riddle, moves on. Whomever wins the QB battle will have a major benefit of having a big time playmaker like Mellette running routes for him.

Chris Summers, Sr.-Liberty
Summers had the benefit of having a magician QB in Mike Brown tossing passes to him last fall. He has that benefit once more in 2011. Summers is more than likely to finish the season once again at the top of the ranks after posting numbers of 76-1081-15 last fall. The difference this season will be the gigantic chip on his shoulder after Liberty collapsed late in the season and missed the playoffs. There are no excuses in 2011. Summers will be huge.

Cordell Roberson, Jr.-Stephen F. Austin
One drawback will be losing Bilo FCS QB of the Year Jeremy Moses, but with talent like Roberson and Gralyn Crawford coming back next fall at the WR position, I wouldn't worry about much. Roberson is a stunning talent in the field. His numbers (61-1011-16) were incredible, and he knows his way around an endzone, and he knows about making tough grabs. As a junior, Roberson still has room to kick it up a notch in 2011, and I expect him to help any young QB rise in ability by his presence alone.

Jace Davis, Northern Colorado; Gralyn Crawford, Stephen F. Austin; Tyrone Walker, Illinois State; Orlandus Harris, Eastern Kentucky; Josh Philpart, Jacksonville; Justin Wilson, Delaware State; Norman White, Villanova; Brian Quick, Appalachian State; Greg Hardin, North Dakota; Marvon Sanders, Illinois State


Tyson Williams, Sr.-West Texas A&M
Williams may be the best returning receiver in D2 football in 2011. He certainly is ranked higher in yards per game than any other returning receiver in the nation. He is purely dynamic, and is the glue that will hold the offense together for the Buffaloes in 2011. Williams piled up numbers of 96-1321-8 in 2010, as the Buffaloes went 8-4 last fall, having lost to Central Missouri in the 1st round of the playoffs.

Thomas Mayo, Sr.- Concord
Mayo is the man on offense for the Mountain Lions, having rolled up a season in which he posted 74-1315-14. If you want to punch the ball in, get it into his hands. Concord missed the playoffs with an 8-3 record last fall, so Concord will be extra motivated, which means getting the ball to Mayo will be additionally as important this season.

Charles Johnson, Sr.-Southwest Baptist
Johnson comes from outside the box, as SBU is a D2 independent, and likely will not be considered for a playoff birth in 2011. That being said, Johnson is the perfect kind of receiver for a transitioning program like the Bearcats. He put up a huge season last fall (81-1223-13), and is the kind of receiver that most teams on this level don't have the personnel to cover. Look for another huge season.

Gerald Worsham, Sr.-West Alabama
Worsham is a beast. He's also a big time receiver for the Tigers, as he pulled down a line of 80-1201-11 last fall, as the Tigers finished the season at 7-4. With the Gulf South Conference whittled down to 5 schools for 2011, look for the Tigers to make a surge in league play, and look for them to get the rock to Worsham as often as they can. Do not be shocked if his numbers are even bigger next fall.

Deonte Gist, Sr.-Tusculum
The Pioneers pass the ball about as often as a human blinks their eyes. Gist is a massive reason as to why that's a great idea. Gist just missed 100 receptions last fall (96-1183-8), so I would guess that it's a goal of his to break the 100 mark as a senior. As dependable as he can be, I think that I would do all that I can to get the ball to him to help achieve his goal.

Joseph Jean-Pierre, Sr.-Virginia Union
You may know Virginia Union as the school that NBA great Charles Oakley attended, but you'll know it for Jean-Pierre in 2011. He may not have had the pure number of receptions that others on this list had (52-1019-7), but you simply cannot dismiss that whenever he gets the ball, he turns it into a 19 yard gain. That is a huge deal, and so is he. Big things are coming in 2011.

Willie Epps, Southern Connecticut State; Jake Soy, Northwest Missouri State; Brandon Bostick, Newberry; Rashaad Carter, Tusculum; Cody Renken, Colorado Mines; DJ Winfield, Minnesota-Duluth; Jon Meadows, West Virginia Wesleyan; Chris Bowden, Wingate; Laquan Frazier, Kutztown; Trevor Kennedy, Mercyhurst

Look for our report on the best returning TEs for 2011 this weekend!

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