Big, fast wide receivers headline the Class of 2008
Posted: Wednesday May 23, 2007 12:17PM; Updated: Wednesday May 23, 2007 1:25PM
The NFL began to covet super-sized receivers around the same time that Keyshawn Johnson wrote, Just Give Me the Damn Ball!
The attraction is still there.
Four of the top five wide receivers taken in the 2007 NFL Draft are 6-foot-1 or taller. The top receiver taken in the draft in four of the last five years has been 6-3 or taller. In the world of wideouts, bigger is better.
In the last few years, high school receivers such as Ronald Johnson, Percy Harvin and Derrick Williams -- all barely over 6 feet -- have been the top-ranked wideouts coming out of high school. That trend will come to an end this year.
This recruiting year, there are two super-sized wideouts who have major programs drooling. Summerville (S.C.) standout A.J. Green is 6-4, 184 pounds and has long been considered the best receiver in the Class of 2008. However, a receiver from Foley, Ala., burst onto the scene last summer and is pushing Green for the top spot. Julio Jones, a 6-4, 215-pounder, will battle with Green all year long for the No. 1 receiver spot. Either could end up as the No. 1 player in the country before all is said and done.
Green is a Randy Moss-type receiver: a long, lanky wideout with an amazing burst, great body control and the ability to turn a short pass into a long gain.
Jones is more of a Terrell Owens-type receiver: a big, physical wideout with great strength, amazing jumping ability and uncanny speed for such a big player.
Green is already committed to Georgia, but most schools are still recruiting him. Jones is open and is being courted by Alabama, Auburn and pretty much everyone else in the country.
As a junior, Green had 65 catches for 1,203 yards and 14 touchdowns. Jones had 75 catches for 1,306 yards and 16 TDs.
Regardless of who ends up as the top receiver in this class, it's clear that both players will enter the college ranks with plenty of hype. College football could be looking at the best incoming wide receiver combination since Andre Caldwell, Chad Jackson and Robert Meachem were 1-2-3 in 2003.
Georgia adds to WR class: As if A.J. Green weren't enough, Georgia coach Mark Richt added another top wide receiver. Tavarres King, from Mt. Airy (Ga.) Habersham Central, gives the Bulldogs an excellent 1-2 punch. King isn't as hyped as Green -- and certainly doesn't have the same ceiling -- but the 6-1, 169-pounder is very smooth and has great hands.
Nebraska gets top QB: Bill Callahan is still smarting from the last-second defection of quarterback Josh Freeman, a Missouri native, to Kansas State 18 months ago. Freeman, who started for Ron Prince as a freshman last season, had been committed to Nebraska for months before changing his mind days before he was set to enroll. However, another Missouri quarterback has Callahan feeling a bit better. Parkway West's Blaine Gabbert, a 6-5, 229-pounder, committed to Nebraska last week. With Harrison Beck gone and Sam Keller coming in for just one year, Gabbert is the quarterback of the future for the Huskers.
QB Manuel down to 10: While Gabbert made up his mind, Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside quarterback E.J. Manuel has narrowed his list down to 10 schools -- Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State, Rutgers and Tennessee. The feeling is that the Seminoles and Tigers are in the lead. Manuel is a 6-6, 202-pounder who is being compared to a young JaMarcus Russell.