Receiver could be an area of strength across the soon-to-be-renamed Big East in 2013, as leading pass-catchers return at nearly every single school.
Unlike running back, there are plenty of veteran leaders with an opportunity to take the next step and make an even bigger name for himself. As we did Tuesday with running back, today we are going to take a look at the top receivers returning at each school -- by total career receptions.
Some of the names on this list might surprise you:
Anthony McClung, Cincinnati: 105
Eli Rogers, Louisville: 87
J.J. Worton, UCF: 85
Jeremy Johnson, SMU: 84
Dewayne Peace, Houston: 67
Andre Davis, USF: 66
Brandon Coleman, Rutgers: 60
Keiwone Malone, Memphis: 56
Geremy Davis, UConn: 50
Deon Miller, Temple: 31
Here are a few things that jump out at me. First, it should come as no surprise that the Mustangs could have fit another player into the top 5 -- Der'rikk Thompson has 71 career catches. AND they lost their top pass-catcher from a year ago in Darius Johnson. SMU likes to throw the ball, and the stats bear that out.
Along those same lines, it should come as no surprise that Temple is at the bottom. The Owls have not been a passing team the past two seasons. Jalen Fitzpatrick led the team in receptions last year with 30 amassed in just one season. Miller's 31 have come over three.
While it is not a huge shock to see Coleman in the middle of the pack, it is further proof that a player with his incredible skill set should step up the production in his final season. There is no doubt Rutgers is going to be relying on him to catch more than the 43 passes he caught a year ago. Coleman already is appearing in early 2014 mock drafts as a potential first-round draft pick. Let's see him realize all that incredible potential this year.
For those wondering where DeVante Parker is, he is actually tied with teammate Damian Copeland with 58 career receptions, well behind Rogers. Houston and SMU have top-notch receiving groups but I think the Cardinals' trio goes into the season as the No. 1 group in the league.
Though McClung has more career receptions than anybody in the Big East, there is a big drop-off between him and the next player on the Bearcats' list -- bigger than any other team in the league. Alex Chisum is behind McClung, with 28 career receptions.