Ranking College Football’s Top 10 Receivers! With the college football season upon us, it’s time to take a look at 2021s hottest wide receivers. These are names you’re going to want to remember come draft day!
1. Chris Olave – Ohio State Buckeyes – Senior
Pronounced O-La-Vey! Olave has been a top target for Justin Fields for the past couple of seasons, and the speedy outside receiver has an opportunity to create one more years worth of highlights before he heads to the NFL. The question currently, is who’s going to be throwing passes to him?
Olave’s tape is very diverse & he has highlights all over the field. Fields has thrown many balls down the sideline and hit Olave in stride for long bomb touchdowns. Then there’s the screen passes he picks up and takes for yardage with a great ambition to pick up yards after the catch, as well as catching balls over the middle and making plays in traffic. He’s been used in such a variety of ways that it’s only going to help him further when it comes to NFL scouting.
Olave can get behind the defence and has tremendous success linking up with Fields on play action passes. He tracks the ball very well and adjusts his body to the football so not to lose a step. Route running is another key positive to his game and it’s evident when playing against press that he can shake a DB off the line. Separation is always key at the next level and Olave could really turn himself into a reliable pass catcher in the NFL. He reminds me of a Tyler Lockett or former Ohio State talent Terry McLaurin type skillset. These guys can attack you in various ways and Olave is another to add to that category.
Over the course of three seasons he has totalled 22 touchdowns and over 1700 yards. Considering he barely played his first season and OSU only played 7 games this past year, that’s pretty good going. Olave had his strongest season in 2019, in which he stacked 849 yards, 12 touchdowns, and a career high 17.3 yards per reception. While he might have had a few fumbles in 2020, I have no doubt that he can tidy that up, and have a big year this season for the Buckeyes. All he needs now is some consistency at QB.
2. Jaquarii Roberson – Wake Forest – Junior
Roberson was graded the 2nd best receiver in college football last season, behind only heisman winner Devonta Smith. With the redshirt junior likely declaring for the draft after this season, he has the year to create another highlight reel for NFL scouts to drool over.
Roberson uses his body like an NFL receiver already. He’s very controlled, and reminds me of Ceedee Lamb in that respect. He’s able to get his long frame up to high point a football, and control his body in order to come down in bounds. Invaluable to NFL teams. He has long arms, and an extended catch radius because of it. Yet his agility is like that of a much shorter receiver. He’s able to cut and weave through traffic with excellent footwork, and knows how to get himself open.
He broke out last season after only 28 targets in total during his first couple of years at Wake Forest, and went on to total over 100 yards a game (971 in total, through 9 games), with 8 touchdowns. Those including 3 in the Duke Mayo Bowl to end the season, against Wisconsin. If you want to see what Roberson is capable of you only need to go and watch that game. Roberson really caught fire in the back half of last season, which has left us all desperate to see what he can do this year. He finished the season with 4 back to back 100 yard games and 7 of his 8 touchdowns came in those games too. Jaquarii will be looking to link up with QB Sam Hartman and build on what was a very impressive 2020 campaign.
3. Garrett Wilson – Ohio State – Junior
Before you continue reading this, if you haven’t seen it, go and watch Garrett Wilson’s catch against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. It’s absurd. The amount of vertical ability he must have, to be able to elevate like that, over another human being, hang there, make a catch, and somehow bring it down inbounds, is ridiculous.
Wilson, much like his team mate Chris Olave, will be adjusting to life after Justin Fields and building a new bond with CJ Stroud this upcoming campaign. Ohio State is expected to have one of the best wide receiver groups in the nation this year, and Olave and Garrett Wilson are the bulk of that reputation.
Wilson stands 6’0″ 190 roughly, so his frame is not anything out of the ordinary, but he excels off the line and getting into his breaks, can make contested catches, and can be a real threat with the ball in his hands too. Wilson will be looking to put up some serious numbers this season, and put the NFL on notice, that there’s yet another talented wide out coming out of Ohio State.
4. John Metchie III – Alabame Crimson Tide – Junior
The Alabama blood line of talented wide receivers is very well documented over the last couple of seasons. With Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle ALL being drafted in the first round in the last two seasons, that track record is just crazy. Metchie is the next guy in line, and he could be every bit as good too.
Metchie only really began to feature for the Tide in the last campaign, after only 5 receptions for 20 yards as a freshman. He came into his own in 2020 with Jaylen Waddle missing some time and both Jeudy and Ruggs off to the NFL, and held it down alongside Heisman winning team mate Devonta Smith. Metchie finished the season with 916 yards and 6 touchdowns, and will be looking to build on that this year while having the opportunity to become the number one guy. When you consider the fact that Devonta Smith had 145 targets last season, that’s a lot of production to redistribute. Metchie hit those 916 yards on only 76 targets of his own, and boasted a 16.7 yards per reception, to Smith’s 15.9.
He can do it all and he’s extremely talented. Not afraid to do the dirty work in the blocking game either. John Metchie is a physical receiver, very capable of going up and facing contact at the point of the catch, and runs at you with everything he’s got for extra yardage. He’s put it all on tape, and possesses all the tools of those before him at Alabama, who ended up as first round draft picks. He had a few drops last year, needs to iron those out, but circumstancially this season, he could be the best receiver in college football. He’ll likely be the Tide’s number one outside threat this year, and i’m expecting big numbers from an even more polished, mature version of John Metchie III. His name will be called early on day 1 of the draft.
5. Kayshon Boutte – LSU – Sophomore
Kayshon Boutte is going to be that guy for the LSU Tigers this season. Leftie QB Max Johnson found a connection with Boutte as the season went on in 2020, and they’re only going to build on that heading in 2021.
Boutte was a heavily recruited 5 star prospect coming out of high school, and committed and enrolled with LSU over Alabama. A Louisiana native, he stayed close to home to play football, and was given an opportunity earlier than he expected when experienced receiver Ja’Marr Chase opted out. Now, with team mate Terrace Marshall Jr now in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, the wide receiver number 1 role is wide open for Boutte. He’s one of the most hyped talents on this list, and there’s a serious buzz around him as LSU approach the season.
Boutte went crazy against Ole Miss in the final game of the season, with 308 yards(!!!) and 3 touchdowns. He had 14 receptions that game… and then the off season came, and fans just want to see him suit up again. Kayshon Boutte plays hard, fights for yardage, and could be one of the best talents in the college football world for years to come.
6. Justyn Ross – Clemson – Redshirt Junior
We haven’t seen Justyn Ross for a while, after he missed the entire 2020 season with a spinal condition he was born with. Ross didn’t know about it until he felt something in his neck during spring practice. He’s now been medically cleared to play after surgery to repair the disc in his spine, and should lead the line for the Clemson receivers in 2021.
Ross was one of Trevor Lawrence’s favourite targets in both 2018 and 2019. He caught 9 of Trevors 30 touchdown passes when they were both freshman back in 2018, including one in the National Championship game against Alabama. Justyn Ross ended that season with 1000 yards and over 21 yards per reception. He caught another 864 yards and 8 TDs the following year, and was consistently reliable all season long.
At 6’4″, Ross lines up primarily on the outside, and dominates as a physical receiver. His elevation to the point of the catch is phenomenal, and as a result has some very impressive tape. Should transition to the next level as a first round talent.
7. Calvin Austin III – Memphis Tigers – Junior
Calvin Austin III had to step up for the Memphis Tigers last season when Kenneth Gainwell & Damonte Coxie opted out of the season early on in 2020. Austin had played almost 80% of his snaps out of the slot in 2019, but with Coxie no longer around, there was a role to fill on the outside. Calvin Austin slid into this role with almost zero preparation and had a career year doing so…
He finished 8th among wide receivers across all of college football last year, and ended the year with 1,053 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 6 of the 11 Memphis games he was over 100 yards receiving, and considering he was technically playing a new position, the step he could take this year is astronomical.
We had the privilege of recording an interview with him earlier in the off season, in which he talked about the difference between playing in the slot and lining up against safeties and linebackers in softer coverage, versus the outside role, where you’re pressed a lot more and have to rely on your footwork and route running more in order to create separation.
Calvin Austin is 5’9 and 165 pounds, and also runs track at the University of Memphis, so the key to his game? Speed. The dual athlete brings the speed and athleticism from his track career directly onto the football field, and he’s tough to stop once he gets moving. With the experience and game tape that he has both in the slot and on the outside, another big year for Calvin this year could mean a lot of attention coming his way before the draft.
The success that the Kansas City Chiefs have had with Tyreek Hill has left the rest of the league searching far and wide for players with similar abilities. Calvin Austin fits that mould perfectly and could add a strong element of speed and stretching the defence to any NFL roster. He’s definitely one to keep your eye on this year.
8. Marvin Mims – Oklahoma Sooners – Sophomore
Spencer Rattler to Marvin Mims was a connection we heard a lot of in 2020. Mims came out as a freshman and made a statement. He was going to be the guy for Spencer Rattler and the Sooners offence. At just 180 pounds, and standing 5’11”, he did just about everything. Jump ball contested catches. punt returns, yards after catch, blowing straight by the defence to get on the end of a deep Rattler pass… And he’s only one season in.
This duo is one of the most anticipated across all of D1 football and it’s easy to see why. Mims brings that next gear of speed to the Oklahoma offence, and an arm talent like Rattler is perfect to utilise that ability. Mims makes his way straight onto our top 10 based on the rookie campaign and a school record for rookie touchdowns.
He led the Sooners in receiving yards with 610, and the 9 TDs to accompany said yardage. The Sooners got off the a slow start last year, but found their rhythm as the season went on. Rattler will go into this season with far more confidence, and Marvin Mims could start to climb this list of receivers quickly.
9. Treylon Burks – Arkansas – Junior
Apparently the sheer size of his hands is enough reason to be on this list… but we’ve got a few more for you too. Burks found a connection with QB transfer Feleipe Franks, and was seemingly unguardable for the Razorbacks in 2020. He never found the end zone as a freshman, but in his sophomore campaign more than made up for that, with 811 yards and 7 TDs.
Burks is a stockier build, 6’3″ and 225 pounds, and extremely powerful. Once he gets his feet moving you’re going to struggle to slow him down too. He seems to have a different gear that he can just switch on once he’s got the ball in his hands. His athleticism actually surprises me for his size and stature. But all that means is that teams at the pro level will look favourably upon him as a multi tool guy with a whole bunch to offer.
I’d like to see Treylon Burks have another very strong campaign ahead of making a step to the next level. His name is certainly one that people are keeping an eye on.
10. Khalil Shakir – Boise State – Senior
And finally, Khalil Shakir of the Boise State Broncos, touted the best receiver in the mountain west division. Shakir isn’t at all afraid of getting involved in the middle of the field, and if you allow him to turn and run at you, you’re going to be in trouble.
He’s coming off two consecutive seasons with 13.8 yards per reception and 6 TDs, and will pick the ball up on end arounds and designed runs out of the backfield too. He’s a utility player who could attract a lot of attention from the NFL. I love the variety to his tape. His route running is crisp and effective, and he plays with his energy. Shakir is a guy who’s going to be a lot of fun to watch this season.
Ranking College Football’s Top 10 Receivers Ranking College Football’s Top 10 Receivers Ranking College Football’s Top 10 Receivers Ranking College Football’s Top 10 Receivers Ranking College Football’s Top 10 Receivers Ranking College Football’s Top 10 Receivers Ranking College Football’s Top 10 Receivers