Whereas Running Back seems like a Big Ten position, one in which big names and history prevail, the conference seems to be a little more lacking as of late in the Wide Receiver world. With offenses moving into dual-threat mode with Quarterbacks in the conference more likely to run than to pass, it is no wonder we don't instantly list off a laundry list of powerful receivers that will be Biletnikoff award winners.
Still, that doesn't mean there aren't some guys coming back who we think can be pretty amazing. Funny enough, when MNWildcat and I conversed about who should be on this list, we only had a few crossovers, and both of us wondered if Ohio State's crazy good offense should have someone or not. So here is what we came up with for the Very Early Best of the Best Wide Receivers in the B1G.
With Robinson, it's all about the numbers. He led the B1G with 11 Touchdowns, had 77 receptions, and 1018 yards. At 84.8 YPG, he basically led the conference in everything. Now here's the catch, will next man up for Penn State be able to get him the ball the same way that McGloin did? I am not one to talk trash about the BOB though because again, we just asked if Penn State can replace Matt McGloin which means he was pretty good last season, which means... well, not sure what it means, but it's remarkable nonetheless. But yeah, not much to say about Robinson other than he catches a lot of passes and scores a lot of Touchdowns in an offense that throws the ball a lot.
2. Kenny Bell
Besides having the best hair in the conference, Kenny Bell has solidified himself as the big play man for the surging Cornhusker attack. He is a big target who also throws nasty blocks in the open field, and he definitely is poised for a big year. Bell was second in yards last season, second in Touchdowns, and third in YPR, which means he was pretty productive once the ball was secured. So long as Taylor stays upright, Bell will continue to put up some yards and make defensive coordinators dread playing a very deep Husker receiving corp.
3. Insert Michigan Receiver Here
MNWildcat and I agreed that there should be a Michigan Man at third, especially with the chance that a better passer is under center now, but who that person is depends on perspective. Personally, the way I see it, Jeremy Gallon is already Gardner's go-to man and this year will be huge for him. Last season, he finished strong and finished with 829 yards and 4 TDs.
4. Cody Latimer
So many Indiana players on these lists. It is kind of throwing me off. Stats don't lie, though, and Latimer was all stats all the time last year. Both MNWildcat and I agreed on Latimer in the four position for his 800+ yards, and 6 TDs. As always, Latimer's legitimacy will somewhat be directly related to how good the team is as a whole. While he can't play both sides of the ball, he better hope the defense steps up this season and gives him and the rest of the Hoosiers a chance at some more notoriety.
5a. Devin Smith
MNWildcat did not put Devin Smith in this position. I will give you his thoughts on that decision:
"For the fifth spot, I was between Devin Smith of OSU, Gallon of Michigan, and Abbrederis. Not quite sure why Abbrederis got the nod, but I think it's just raw total stats."
I think that is an absolute fair thought process, but I'm picking Devin Smith because a) he's a big play guy in a big play offense, b) Smith averaged over 20 yards per catch last season, and c) I just think he is crazy fast. So why would I pick him over a guy like Jared Abbrederis? Mostly because I see Smith having more highlight plays, more yards, and more TD's next season. That's picking on a lot of projection, but I think it's the right move. Wisconsin fans can remind me of this later when Abbrederis is scoring another touchdown on Nebraska later in the season. (For what it's worth, MNWildcat later reminded me that it really was a hard pick for him as well. Smith has the highest YPC in the conference, but Abbrederis is a workhorse of a Wideout. This was really a tossup).
5b. Jared Abbrederis
There is really no way I can find a difference between Smith and Abbrederis. Simply put, Jared Abbrederis put up stats good enough to be on this list, and so long as Wisconsin doesn't lose too much of their identity this year under a new coach, Abbrederis should really get his. He was third in yards last season, and his average per catch was a shade above 17. He's a guy who manages to get open and has strong hands, and considering I have copped out at every turn in making this positional list, why wouldn't I put him at 5b? Of course, I still think Smith is better. Nonetheless, this guy is on there.
Next Man Up:
Okay, this is one of those guys who is probably being overlooked by virtue of not being big numbers. Nonetheless, he had 67 catches and 6 TD's last year and is primed to do more in this ever evolving Indiana offense. Look for his name to be on a few All B1G Lists at the end of next season.