What Is Wide Receiver U?

Welcome to the third installment in our series to determine which schools have done the best job in recent years of producing top NFL draft picks.

Top wide receiver schools include Florida (repped by Percy Harvin), LSU (led by Michael Clayton) and Florida State (repped by Anquan Boldin)

We began that series with this look at the schools who have excelled in producing quarterbacks. Last week, we came back with this look at the top schools for producing defensive line talent.

For our analysis, we used the last 15 years of the NFL draft. In each draft, we looked for wide receivers who were drafted in the first three rounds. For the purpose of this analysis, we included all players listed as receivers in the NFL.com draft history web site.

Below the school rankings we also have more data on schools and conferences that have produced wide receivers at football’s highest level. Plus, we have more interesting information on the wide receiver position group.

Wide Receiver U. Ratings

Using the last 15 years of the NFL draft (top three rounds) as a barometer, here is a look at which schools have excelled at producing wide receivers for the NFL (Note: We used first-round picks to break any ties):

1. Florida

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 10; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: Florida, on sheer volume, takes the top spot in our Wide Receiver U. rankings with players spanning from the Steve Spurrier era through the Ron Zook time and on to Urban Meyer’s stay in Gainesville.

The run began with Jacquez Green (second round, 1998). It continued with Travis Taylor (first round, 2000), Jabar Gaffney (second round, 2002), Andre Caldwell (third round, 2008) and wrapped up with Percy Harvin (first round, 2009). We’ll see if Will Muschamp can add to this pedigree.

2. LSU

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 8; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: LSU has had a nice run of wide receivers, beginning with Josh Reed (second round, 2002). Others in this lineage include Michael Clayton (first round, 2004), Devery Henderson (second round, 2004), Dwayne Bowe (first round, 2007), Craig Davis (first round, 2007), Early Doucet (third round, 2008) and Rueben Randle (second round, 2012).

3. Florida State

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 8; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: As you would expect, Florida State – which was also our pick for the top school to produce defensive linemen – was near the top in the wide receiver survey.

The Seminoles have produced some big-name receivers, including E.G. Green (third round, 1998), Peter Warrick (first round, 2001), Laveranues Coles (third round, 2000), Snoop Minnis (third round, 2001), Javon Walker (first round, 2002) and Anquan Boldin (second round, 2003).

4. Ohio State

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 5.

* The Skinny: In the last 15 years, no school has had more wide receivers taken in the first round of the NFL draft than Ohio State. That group includes David Boston (1999), Michael Jenkins (2004), Santonio Holmes (2006), Ted Ginn Jr. (2007) and Anthony Gonzalez (2007).

5. Miami (Fla.)

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: As expected, Miami is also high on this list. The ‘Canes have produced some top-flight wide receivers in recent times, including Santana Moss (first round, 2001), Reggie Wayne (first round, 2001), Andre Johnson (first round, 2003) and Roscoe Parrish (second round, 2005).

6. Southern California

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: USC was tops in our list of colleges producing quarterbacks. So it makes sense to find the Trojans on the list of top schools producing wide receivers.

USC products include R. Jay Soward (first round, 2000), Mike Williams (first round, 2005), Dwayne Jarrett (second round, 2007), Steve Smith (second round, 2007) and Damian Williams (third round, 2010).

The Trojans will add to this pedigree with Robert Woods in this year’s draft and, very likely, Marquise Lee next year.

7. Oklahoma

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 7; First-Round Picks: 1.

* The Skinny: The Sooners have had their share of top receivers taken in the draft. In the last 15 years, that group has included Mark Clayton (first round, 2005), Mark Bradley (second round, 2005), Malcolm Kelly (second round, 2008) and Ryan Broyles (second round, 2012).

8. Tennessee

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 5; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: Tennessee has had its share of wide receiver stars. The three most recent first-round picks are Marcus Nash (1998), Donte Stallworth (2002) and Robert Meacham (2007).

9. (tie) Michigan

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: Michigan has produced some top names, including David Terrell (first round, 2001), Braylon Edwards (first round, 2005) and Mario Manningham (third round, 2008).

9. (tie) Georgia

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: The list is not that long for Georgia, but there is some talent here. Hines Ward was a third-rounder back in 1998, the first year of this survey. Also from Georgia: Reggie Brown (second round, 2005), Mohamed Massaquoi (second round, 2009) and A.J. Green (first round, 2011). Green is already making a big name for himself with the Cincinnati Bengals.

9. (tie) Georgia Tech

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 2.

* The Skinny: First-rounders from Georgia Tech in the last 15 years include Calvin Johnson (first round, 2007) and Demaryius Thomas (first round, 2010). Johnson is so good he has been glossed with the nickname Megatron.

12. (tie) Penn State

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 1.

* The Skinny: Penn State’s lone first-rounder in the last 15 years was Bryant Johnson in 2003. They also produced a pair of third-rounders in 2009 in Derrick Williams and Deon Butler.

12. (tie) Wisconsin

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 1.

* The Skinny: The Badgers have produced some receiver talent, including Chris Chambers (second round, 2001), Lee Evans (first round, 2004) and Brandon Williams (third round, 2006). Jared Abbrederis could be a draftable commodity in 2014.

14. Texas A&M

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 4; First-Round Picks: 0.

* The Skinny: The Aggies have had a couple of second-round picks in the last 15 years with Robert Ferguson (2001) and Terrence Murphy (2005).

15. Oklahoma State

* The Data: Top-Three Round Picks: 3; First-Round Picks: 3.

* The Skinny: There are several teams with three picks taken in the top-three rounds. But of that group, only Oklahoma State had three first-rounders so the Cowboys cracked the top 15.

That group includes Rashaun Woods (2004), Dez Bryant (2010) and Justin Blackmon (2012).

More Comparisons

As we compiled the data, here were some more interesting comparisons:

* Honorable Mentions – Besides Oklahoma State, we found 10 more schools with three top-three round picks over the last 15 years

The ones with two first-round picks in that time frame included Michigan State (Plaxico Burress in 2000 and Charles Rogers in 2003), N.C. State (Torry Holt in 1999 and Koren Robinson in 2001) and Pittsburgh (Larry Fitzgerald in 2004 and Jonathan Baldwin in 2011).

Those with one first-round pick were Notre Dame (Michael Floyd in 2012), North Carolina (Hakeem Nicks in 2008), South Carolina (Troy Williams in 2005), Texas (Roy Williams in 2004) and Utah (Kevin Dyson in 1998). Those with no first-rounders in that group included Indiana and Kansas State.

* First-Round Picks -- In terms of first-round picks of wide receivers over the last 15 years, Ohio State has had the most with five.

Next on the list are four schools with three first-round picks each: LSU, Miami (Fla.), Tennessee and Oklahoma State.

Schools with two first-round wide receivers in the last 15 years include Florida, Florida State, USC, Michigan, Georgia, Michigan State and N.C. State.

* NFL All-Pro Picks – Looking at the last 15 years, several schools have been well represented on the NFL’s All-Pro list at wide receiver – even if in some cases it’s been the same player chosen multiple times.

Miami (Fla.) has had a combined nine first- or second-team All-Pro selections, led by Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson. Syracuse has had eight first- or second-team All-Pro picks, all of them by Marvin Harrison. Marshall’s Randy Moss and Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Terrell Owens each made five All-Pro appearances.

Pittsburgh’s Larry Fitzgerald, Oregon State’s Chad Johnson, Georgia’s Hines Ward and Texas Tech’s Wes Welker each have made four All-Pro teams in the last 15 years.

* This Year’s Class – Draft experts say this year’s draft class at wide receiver is not all that deep. Some of the top draft prospects this year include West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, Cal’s Keenan Allen, Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee’s Justin Hunter, Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins, USC’s Robert Woods, Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton and West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey.

* Next Year’s Class – Some of the top names mentioned for the 2014 NFL draft include USC’s Marquise Lee, Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, Rutgers’ Brandon Coleman, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, Alabama’s Kevin Norwood, Notre Dame’s T.J. Jones and Oregon’s Josh Huff.

Stay tuned in the weeks to come for analysis of the schools who have produced top draftees at each position group.

Skip To Comments

Already have an account? Sign In