Below are the SEC’s top 5 wideouts heading into next year.
1) Ja’Marr Chase — LSU
Chase is simply the full package, possessing the vast array of skills required from today’s receiver. Last year’s Biletnikoff Award winner hauled in 84 receptions for 1780 yards and 20 touchdowns. Unafraid to go across the middle and always willing to go deep, Chase is a dangerous weapon anywhere on the field.
Like former Alabama wideout Jerry Jeudy, Chase’s biggest strength is his ability to run routes. Couple that with respectable speed and agility in the open field, and you have your modern-day wideout. Though he will not have former LSU superstar quarterback Joe Burrow throwing him the football, Chase will find ways to get open and have another career season.
2) DeVonta Smith — Alabama
Perhaps the most reliable of this group, Smith’s hands, are unrivaled, making him, like Chase, a threat anywhere and everywhere. Though he is not on Chase’s level as a route runner, Smith’s big-play ability makes him a real number one. He is consistent and will be a go-to target for quarterback Mac Jones.
Smith’s 2019 stat line reads 68 receptions for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns, including one for 85 yards against LSU. Smith averaged 18.5 yards per catch. Expect more of the same this fall.
3) Jaylen Waddle — Alabama
Known for his blazing speed, Waddle is a dual-threat being an imposing wideout who can return kicks. Though listed at just 5-foot-10, Waddle plays above six-foot, boasting second to none athleticism. As he and Smith will be a lethal duo, look for Waddle to be that versatile weapon.
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will use him in a plethora of packages. Sure to take advantage of every opportunity, Waddle be heavily relied upon by coach Nick Saban, as he will be a monumental component of the Alabama offense.
4) George Pickens — Georgia
Pickens exceeded expectations as a freshman, having led the team in receptions with 49 and yards with 727. He is still coming into his own but is due to break out as a sophomore. Pickens is as talented as any receiver on this list. Do not be surprised if Pickens ends up being the 2020 Biletnikoff Award winner.
The sky is the limit for Pickens. As seen against Baylor in last year’s Sugar Bowl, 12 catches for 175 yards and a score speaks for itself. Expect Pickens to show up on the highlight reel more often than not.
5) Osirus Mitchell — Mississippi State
Listed at 6-foot-5, Mitchell is a lengthy skywalker. Most lethal on the outside, quarterback KJ Costello will have an imposing threat along the sidelines. For the Bulldogs to have a respectable season, Mitchell will have to show up and should do so in coach Mike Leach’s system.
Mitchell is deceptively quick and sharp in the open field. He can win one on one battles and take advantage of mismatches, primarily due to his combination of height and athleticism. Mitchell takes advantage of the spotlight and shows up when it matters most. Under Leach, he will be a problem for the opposition.