Building the Perfect Big 10 Wide Receiver
Names like Allen Robinson, Michael Thomas, and Stefon Diggs are just a few players who come to mind when talking about Big 10 Receivers who have made a splash in the NFL. It has become one of the most important groups in the country. Look at Ohio State the last few years and their receiving corp. There are so many playmakers in this conference this year, both draft and non-draft eligible teams.
Nico Collins, Michigan
Shea Patterson has a safety blanket in Nico Collins. Standing at 6’4”, Collins not only has the size to box out defenders, but has the wheels to run pass defenders. Back shoulder fade? Nico got it. Fade ball near the goal line? Nico will go up and get it. Not a first or second round guy, but becomes valuable when it’s third and short and you need a first down. Collins also has the flexibility to exploit a speed matchup if a safety tries to guard him.
K.J. Hamler, Penn State
You want to talk about flat out burners? If Hamler has a seam, and space, he will showcase his “get away from the cop speed” (homage to Gus Johnson). Hamler put together an impressive freshman campaign for the Penn State Nittany Lions, catching 42 balls for 754 yards and five touchdowns. Expect the Nittany Lions to rely on him not only in the pass game, but the return game as well.
Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
Oven mitts for hands is the best way to describe Tyler Johnson from Minnesota. You want a contested, Sportscenter Top 10 play? Throw it in the vicinity of Johnson and watch him work. Johnson only stands at 6’2” but plays like he’s much taller. His ability to climb the ladder and position his body to make tough catches could catapult him as a first or second round pick in next year’s draft. Expect another 1,000-yard, 10 touchdown season from the Minnesota standout.
Jump Ball Ability
Benjamin Victor, Ohio State
Ohio State always has a few special receivers each and every year. Benjamin Victor is no different. Dwyane Haskins last year would throw passes slightly off target or high, and Victor would go up and snatch them. And don’t be fooled by his 6’4” frame, the kid’s got wheels. Just ask Penn State about him, when he caught a high pass over the middle, made a few defenders miss, then cut across the field to score a touchdown. JT Barrett utilized Victor’s ability to out jump any defender during his time, as did Haskins, so I expect Victor to continue being utilized as a fade/back shoulder down the field receiver this year as well.
Cody White, Michigan State
This is my favorite receiver prospect by far. Cody White from Michigan State is one of the most fearless receivers I have seen. Michigan State runs a pro style offense, so there are times where White has to roam over the middle. Throws aren’t always accurate over the middle but Cody White will hold on no matter the lick he takes. White isn’t a burner either, so whenever the ball is in his hands, he will lower his shoulder and sacrifice his body to get a first down or touchdown. Despite attention being drawn to him, White finds a way to get open, whether it’s an out route, corner route, in cut, pretty much any route you can think of. White also has the versatility to work out of the slot, and as an outside receiver.
Run After Catch (RAC) Ability
Rondale Moore, Purdue
No receiver in the BIG put on a better performance than Purdue’s Rondale Moore did against Ohio State. The stats don’t tell the whole story either. Every time Moore touched the ball during that game, you had a feeling he was heading to the endzone and putting six on the board. Moore has all the intangibles and work ethic to be a dominant force again this season and for years to come. His screen pass against Ohio State where he made one man miss and simply ran through an Ohio State defender was one of the highlights of the season. There are several categories he fits end, but his ability to run after the catch in the open field is what makes him special from other receivers in this conference.
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