Short of the starting quarterback, wide receivers are often the most recognizable players on a team. After all, much of a team's offensive production is reflected in their stats.
Looking ahead to the 2022 college football season, B/R is projecting the best positional units in each Football Bowl Subdivision conference. This is the third version of our offseason series, and the receiving corps are entering the spotlight.
The list is subjective but based on returning production—which includes transfers—and expected performance. Tight ends are not factored into the choices.
Previous editions covered the offensive and defensive lines.
American: Houston Cougars
Houston's depth is valuable, but this conversation simply must begin with Nathaniel Dell.
Last season, he racked up 90 receptions for 1,329 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those totals respectively ranked joint-13th, 12th and joint-eighth in the country.
The supporting cast includes a trio of notable transfers, along with blue-chip freshman Matthew Golden. KeSean Carter, who previously played at Texas Tech, caught 26 passes prior to a season-ending injury last year. Houston added Sam Brown (West Virginia) and Joseph Manjack IV (USC) this offseason, too.
Together with quarterback Clayton Tune, this receiving room should be a major reason Houston contends for an AAC crown.
ACC: Virginia Cavaliers
After losing several transfers, Virginia needs to restock the offensive line. But if the Cavaliers can settle that group and provide some reliable pass protection, this receiving corps can take over games.
Dontayvion Wicks recorded 57 catches for 1,203 yards—a stellar 21.1-yard average—and nine touchdowns. Keytaon Thompson (78/990/2) and Billy Kemp IV (75/742/6) were high-volume producers, too.
As if a reinforcement is needed, he's here anyway.
Lavel Davis Jr. put up 20 receptions for 515 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman in 2020, but he missed 2021 because of a torn ACL. Based on the typical recovery, Davis should be healthy in time for the season.
Brennan Armstrong threw for 4,449 yards last season, and it would almost be surprising if he didn't surpass that in 2022.