[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with the 3-Point Stance, looking at the wide receiver tiers in the SEC, five coaches who were given too long a leash, and the best commit for each team in the Big Ten.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]The WR tiers in the SEC are interesting to say the least.
Stop me if you've heard this one before - the Crimson Tide are talented and deep at wide receiver. They brought in two key transfers in Jermaine Burton (Georgia) and Tyler Harrell (Louisville) to go along with former five-stars JoJo Earle and Ja'Corey Brooks, both of whom saw action as true freshmen last season. Fellow sophomore Christian Leary is another playmaker in the slot, and of course, there's a bevy of true freshmen waiting to make an impact, led by five-star Aaron Anderson out of New Orleans.
Good but not Great: Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Ole Miss
If we were including tight ends in this list, Georgia would bump up to elite without a question, as they've got the best stable of talent at that position in the country. However, after losing Jermaine Burton to Alabama and George Pickens to the NFL, the Dawgs are a notch below elite at this moment. Still, Adonai Mitchell and Ladd McConkey are proven commodities who will only get better as their roles increase. Kearis Jackson is back in the slot as well. The Dawgs will be just fine.
LSU might have the single most talented receiver in the conference in Kayshon Boutte, but after him there's still some work to sort out the rest of the unit. But Boutte is about as good as they get in college - he's a matchup nightmare who can win 50-50 balls and is dangerous in the open field. Jack Bech may have come in originally as a tight end, but he's been playing receiver and can use his big body well. Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas have both shown flashes at times as well.
It can be tough at times to truly evaluate receivers in a Mike Leach offense, but even taking away that caveat, the Bulldogs still have a solid crew. They return starters Austin Williams and Jaden Walley, both of whom are excellent in Leach's air raid attack. Georgia transfer Justin Robinson is a guy who was buried for the Dawgs but could have a chance to see significant playing time in Starkville. Rara Thomas and Antonio Harmon are ready to break out though, so watch out.
Cedric Tillman proved he was a legit number one receiver last season for Tennessee, and he returns on the heels of a 1,000+ yard, 12 TD season. He's joined by Jalin Hyatt and transfer Bru McCoy to form a very good starting trio, assuming McCoy can play up to at least some of the potential he had coming out of high school as one of the top players in the country.
Ole Miss brought in three different receivers via the portal to fill in for the guys they lost. In acquiring Jaylon Robinson (UCF), Malik Heath (Mississippi State), and Jordan Watkins (Louisville), they've found three guys who should all be contributors and complement each other well. Robinson has the biggest upside of them all though, so look for him to get a lot of looks early in the season. They still also have Jonathan Mingo and Dennis Jackson as well from last season.
That'll Do: Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas A&M
The Razorbacks have to replace first-round draft pick Trelon Burks as well as Tyson Morris from last year's squad. They snagged former five-star recruit Jadon Haselwood from the portal and are hopeful that they can tap into his potential. Warren Thompson is the most proven guy returning from last year's roster, and he figures to start out wide. The Hogs also have two very talented in-state true freshmen in Quincey McAdoo and Isaiah Sategna who could see action early in their careers.
Florida lost last season's leading receiver Jacob Copeland to Maryland in the transfer portal this offseason, and they responded by getting Ricky Pearsall from Arizona State, who is talented but a clear step back from Copeland. Justin Shorter and Xzavier Henderson both return for the Gators after seeing significant roles in 2021. Trent Whittemore is one other guy to keep an eye out for as well.
Losing Wan'Dale Robinson hurts Kentucky in a lot of ways, but they're hoping that a transfer receiver can be the answer for the second year in a row with the acquisition of Tayvion Robinson from Virginia Tech. Four-star true freshman Dane Key is a kid to watch out for down the line.
Mizzou is the one team on this list where you can pretty much definitely say that their best receiver is a true freshman. Five-star Luther Burden was a massive win for Eli Drinkwitz, and the buzz surrounding him in Columbia is out of this world. He joins Christauskie Dove, last year's leading receiver for the Tigers, to form a solid 1-2 punch at the top of their lineup. Sophomores Dominic Lovett, Chance Luper, and Mookie Cooper all have a chance to break through as well.
Getting back Ainais Smith is huge for the Aggies, as he's clearly their best playmaker at the position. Jalen Preston is a reliable target beside him, and Chase Lane has had moment when he's been able to stay healthy. True freshman Evan Stewart is the real name to watch out for here - he's got the potential to be the best Texas A&M WR since Mike Evans.
Cross your fingers and pray: Auburn, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
The only player returning for Auburn with more than 300 receiving yards from last season is Shedrick Jackson, and even he only scored one touchdown. With the talent drain that's been happening on the Plains, it's no wonder that the Tigers are so thin. Ja'Varrius Johnson has the highest upside of the guys on the roster and he looks to be in line to start opposite of Jackson along with Malcolm Johnson. Ze'Vian Capers has struggled with injuries during his career but if he can stay healthy he's got the frame and physicality to break out.
South Carolina has done a great job restructuring their roster under Shane Beamer, but the WR room still needs some work. They return top receiver from last season Josh Vann, but outside of him there's not a lot there in terms of guys who've contributed before. James Madison transfer Antwane Wells has some intriguing traits and Dakereon Joyner is an okay veteran, but neither of them are really going to move the needle all that much. Corey Rucker from Arkansas State is intriguing as well but there is a lot of unproven talent here.
The Commodores lost their top three receivers from last season, which was their only real position of strength on the roster. Will Sheppard is a solid option, but behind him there's almost nothing. Devin Boddie Jr. has big play ability but needs to put it all together, while Logan Kyle needs to prove that he can stay on the field healthy. Like usual, it's going to be a long season in Nashville.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]— Tuesday I looked at five coaches who got fired way too early. Here’s five who got too long a leash.
Clay Helton, USC
It really felt like Helton was a dead man walking from the day the interim tag was taken off of him ahead of the 2016 season. He never felt like he jived with the glitz and glamour of USC, and recruiting took a nose dive. He had a couple of highs early on in his tenure, but that marriage was doomed from the beginning.
Chad Morris, Arkansas
The fact that Morris lasted more than one season is a miracle in and of itself. Just ask any Arkansas fan you know - his tenure was one of the most disastrous two years any program has seen in a long time.
Mark Richt, Georgia
Richt was universally known as one of the good guys in the coaching world, and his battle with Parkinson's is very noble. But even the most ardent of Richt supporters would admit it was time for him to move on at Georgia near the end. The results were still (sort of) there, but they were never going to take the next step in recruiting and on-the-field results without moving on from Richt.
Tommy Bowden, Clemson
Bowden had the bad luck of being followed by the best coach in program history. But that still doesn't excuse the fact that the program really took off after he left. He's the reason that the word 'Clemsoning' even exists - Bowden was never able to get the most out of his rosters, something that Dabo Swinney has done consistently. He had only four top-25 finishes in ten years, and never even won the ACC.
David Cutcliffe, Duke
Cutcliffe is one of the great quarterback minds in college football history, and his relationship with the Manning family is stuff of legend. But his time at Duke lasted much longer than it really should have. He spent 14 years at Duke, but the last three were particularly bad. Duke's not an easy place to win, but it was clear by the end that his time had come.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]And finally we are headed into the slower period for 2023 recruiting so I’ll continue a series looking at the best commit for each Power Five school and the reason. Let’s keep it rolling with the Big Ten.
LB Kaden Feagin — He could play running back instead as Bret Bielema loves big and powerful backs and at 6-2 and 240 pounds he has some AJ Dillon in him. However he’s more likely to be a linebacker with his ability to hit and cover. He’s more nimble on the defensive side of the ball. He’s a top 10 in state commit, a rarity for Illinois.
It’s a slow start for Indiana after a down season but DB Amare Ferrell is a good get especially from Florida where they have done well with prospect development.
This is kinda easy as OT Kadyn Proctor is a 5 star, a future star and an in state prospect that everyone wanted. He changes this class.
This is not a star studded class but local WR Sean Williams should continue the solid receiver tradition that’s going on in College Park.
It hasn’t been an amazing start for Michigan but in state RB Cole Cabana can do a ton of different things.
Going into Iowa to land DE Andrew DePaepe is a big deal as the Hawkeyes and Cyclones wanted him as well as Michigan.
RB Marquese Williams from Eastern PA could be the next elite back for the Gophers and highlights an average start.
Former LSU WR commit Omarion Miller is a huge get from Louisiana for the Huskers and more commits of this caliber are needed.
A great start for Pat Fitzgerald is highlighted by big Ohio LB Michael Kilbane who could have played almost anywhere.
How do you pick between WR Carnell Tate and Brandon Inniss? Both are amazing 5 star gets.
Virginia OL Alex Birchmeier could be the best lineman James Franklin has recruited at Penn State.
QB Rickie Collins didn’t light up the Elite 11 but the Louisiana native is still a huge get.
I’m high on massive OL Dominic Rivera from Ohio as a nice Midwest get.
Shocker. A big, physical running back leads the way for the Badgers as Jaquez Keyes is an under recruited beast from Ohio.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]