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January 24, 2014

Top 10 wide receiver recruits of the past 20 years

Over the last 20 years, Michigan has recruited the wide receiver position extremely effectively, landing three five-stars, and 15 total prospects that would garner a 5.9 Rivals rating or better, including high-end four-star Mario Manningham.

Here is a look at the top 10 wide receivers the Wolverines have signed since the 1995 class, in order of their Rivals Rating (players pre-2002 received a rating based on Rivals criteria) and chronologically when there was a tie.

The Wolverine has been publishing since 1989 and has been including recruiting profiles in our magazine ever since.

  • 6.1 - David Terrell - 1998: It remains debatable which receiver - Terrell or classmate Marquise Walker - was ranked higher, but Terrell was considered the No. 1 receiver nationally and the No. 7 player overall in the class by Prep Football Report while ranked the No. 2 receiver by SuperPrep and The National Recruiting Advisor. Regardless, he lived up to his hype, catching 152 balls for 2,317 yards and 23 touchdowns in his three seasons before turning pro. Terrell enjoyed 1,000-yard campaigns in 1999 and 2000, garnering All-Big Ten first-team honors both years and first-team All-American honors as a junior.

  • 6.1 - Marquise Walker - 1998: Let the debate continue; Walker was SuperPrep's No. 1 wide receiver and the No. 3 player in the country while Prep Football Report rated him No. 13 nationally and the No. 2 wide receiver, behind Terrell. Like his classmate, Walker was incredibly successful at U-M, totaling 176 receptions (second all time) for 2,269 yards and 17 scores during his four-year career. After playing Robin to Terrell's Batman for two seasons, Walker stepped out into the light as a senior, catching (at the time) a school-record 86 balls for 1,143 yards and 11 scores.

  • 6.1 - Tim Massaquoi - 2001: The 2001 class would produce, arguably, the finest receiver Michigan has ever had, but Braylon Edwards was only regarded as a three-star and the No. 49 receiver nationally. Massaquoi, on the other hand, was a five-star recruit, the fifth-best receiver in the country and the No. 36 overall player in the class according to an early iteration of Rivals.com. Too big to be a receiver, Massaquoi moved to tight end and blossomed into a 6-4, 248-pounder that finished his career with 46 grabs for 489 yards. He was All-Big Ten first team in 2004.

  • 6.0 - Tai Streets - 1995: A Prep Football Report All-American, and the magazine's No. 4-ranked wide receiver in the country, Streets put together a solid career at Michigan, recording 144 receptions (ninth all time) for 2,284 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was voted Team MVP as a senior in 1998 after a 67-catch, 1,035-yard, 11-TD campaign. Streets had 28 grabs during U-M's national championship run in 1997, catching two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl.

  • 6.0 - Mario Manningham - 2005: Ranked a four-star, the No. 5 receiver in the class and the No. 45 player nationally by Rivals.com, Manningham is the highest ranked Michigan receiver of the current Rivals.com era (2002-present). Twice voted all-conference first team, Manningham was an instant hit, catching a 25-yard touchdown pass on his very first reception. He had nine touchdowns among 38 catches as a sophomore in 2006, and would cap his three-year career with 72 receptions, good for 1,174 yards and 12 TDs in 2007.

  • 6.0 - Antonio Bass - 2005: Though listed as an athlete - the nation's fifth-best and the No. 49 player in the country - Bass was deemed a supreme talent that would develop into a stud wide receiver. As a true freshman, he showed off the multitude of his capabilities, rushing for 81 yards on 19 carries, catching eight balls for 64 yards and completing his only pass attempt. Unfortunately, Bass suffered a career-ending leg/foot injury before his sophomore year.

  • 6.0 - Darryl Stonum - 2008: Rivals.com ranked Stonum the No. 7 receiver in the country and the No. 41 player nationally. The 6-2, 195-pound Texan was not the right fit initially in Rich Rodriguez's offense, catching just 27 balls for 375 yards in 2008-09, but he exploded as a junior with 49 grabs for 633 yards and four scores. After running afoul of the law, Stonum was slated to serve a one-year suspension in 2011 and rejoin the team in 2012. However, he could not stay out of trouble and never donned the winged helmet again. He ended up at Baylor but made only three receptions in nine games as a fifth-year senior.

  • 5.9 - Aaron Wright - 1996: Classmate Marcus Knight would enjoy a far more productive career, but Wright was the highly-touted prospect (Knight would have been the equivalent of a low-end three-star). The 6-0, 175-pound Wright was the No. 8 receiver nationally out of Highland Village, Texas. He made one catch, in the 1997 season opener against Colorado, during his sophomore year but did not survive the season.

  • 5.9 - Tyrece Butler - 1999: Prep Football Report regarded Butler as the No. 8 receiver in the class and the No. 62 player nationally. The Indianapolis native was supposed to be the heir to Terrell, but the 6-3, 211-pounder encountered setbacks early in his career, including a devastating knee injury that took two years to heal. He had four catches as a redshirt sophomore in 2001 and peaked with 21 grabs for 199 yards as a junior in 2002.

  • 5.9 - Doug Dutch - 2004: As this list unfolds, Dutch is another in a long line of top recruits that would eventually be overshadowed by a lesser-heralded teammate. In his case, Adrian Arrington. Though Arrington was a four-star and the No. 17 receiver nationally, his accolades could not compare to Dutch, who was ranked the 10th-best receiver and the No. 98 player in the 2004 class. Dutch spent three seasons at wideout, making four grabs, before moving to defense for his redshirt junior and fifth-year senior seasons. He could not crack the two-deep consistently however.

  • Also a 5.9 wide receiver: Greg Mathews, 2005; Toney Clemons, 2007; Je'Ron Stokes, 2009; Jeremy Gallon, 2009; and Drake Harris, 2014.

    Top Wide Receiver In Each Class
    Tai Streets
    Aaron Wright
    David Terrell
    Tyrece Butler
    Calvin Bell
    Tim Massaquoi
    Jason Avant
    Doug Dutch
    Mario Manningham
    Greg Mathews
    Toney Clemons
    Darryl Stonum
    Je'Ron Stokes
    Jerald Robinson
    Amara Darboh
    Jaron Dukes
    Drake Harris

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