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July 19, 2014
Big Ten's Top Receivers
Michigan's Devin Funchess is the most physically impressive wide receiver in the Big Ten, and this season, he will have the chance to prove himself the conference's best wideout.
1. Devin Funchess - Michigan: A former tight end, Funchess is an imposing 6-5, 230 pounds, but he hasn't yet learned how to use all of that size to his advantage. As he does, he could prove unstoppable the way Calvin Johnson is in the NFL because no defender should be able to match Funchess' physical prowess.
A year ago, he caught 49 balls for 748 yards and six scores, and he's in line for a 1,000-yard campaign this fall. In fact, it would be disappointing if he fell shy of 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.
2. Stefon Diggs - Maryland: A five-star recruit in 2012, the 6-0, 195-pound Diggs lived up to his lofty ranking right away, catching 54 balls for 848 yards and six scores as a freshman.
Last year, he was well on his way to eclipsing those marks, recording 34 grabs, 587 yards and three TDs in seven games, but would miss the final five contests with a leg injury. He's back, and begins his junior year intent on establishing himself as the top receiver in the Big Ten.
3. Devin Smith - Ohio State: A productive performer in his first three seasons, with 88 catches to his name, Smith should really have the chance to shine this fall with the departure of Corey Brown.
A year ago, the 6-1, 197-pound Smith finished second to Brown in catches (44), yards (660) and touchdowns (eight), largely playing the role of the big-play receiver, but now has a chance to be the Buckeyes' go-to target.
4. Tony Lippett - Michigan State: There is a two-headed monster at receiver for MSU, with Macgarrett Kings and Lippett, but Lippett is intriguing because of the way he finished his junior campaign, catching four balls for 65 yards and a touchdown in the Big Ten Championship and five balls for a career-high 94 yards and the game-winning TD in a Rose Bowl win over Stanford.
The 6-3, 190-pound Lippett enters his senior season with confidence, and with his quarterback, Connor Cook, back, the Detroit native could be in line for a big year.
5. Leonte Caroo - Rutgers: The 6-1, 200-pounder only started three games last season but in 10 total appearances he compiled nine touchdown receptions, or one every three catches. And now the Scarlet Knights are expecting Caroo to take a big step forward in his junior campaign, becoming the reliable, game-breaking receiver that should at least double his 28 catches of 2013.
The Best of the Rest
6. Shane Wynn - Indiana
7. Kenny Bell - Nebraska
8. Christian Jones - Nothwestern
9. Kevonte Martin-Manley - Iowa
10. Tony Jones - Northwestern