Preseason position reviews: Receiver

The Pac-12 has the best collection of receivers in the country. Really, it's not even close. It's entirely possible that both first-team All-American receivers will come from the conference.

So how do things stack up?

Great shape

USC: The Trojans own the best receiving combo in the nation in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. In fact, they may be the two best receivers in the nation, period. And George Farmer, Victor Blackwell and De'Von Flournoy have plenty of potential as a supporting cast.

Washington State: Hard to make a pecking order for the next three. The Cougars are here because Marquess Wilson will battle Woods, Lee and California's Keenan Allen for first-team All-Pac-12. The Cougars' Nos. 2 & 3 wide receivers from 2011 are gone. But Dominique Williams, Isiah Myers, Kristoff Williams, Andrei Lintz -- he no longer counts as a tight end -- Bobby Ratliff, Bennett Bontemps, Blair Bomber and Gino Simone are each capable.

Oregon State: Markus Wheaton would be All-Conference in just about any other conference, though he needs to find the endzone more. Speedy Brandin Cooks caught 31 passes last year. Obum Gwacham is a big, athletic target who stood out this spring. Jordan Bishop, if healthy, can be a playmaker.

Utah: Basically all the top guys from a good -- if underused -- receiving corps in 2011 are back, topped by DeVonte Christopher, who could probably trade notes with Wheaton about how hard it is to get noticed at the position in the Pac-12. Dres Anderson, Luke Matthews, Reggie Dunn and Kenneth Scott are solid and experienced.

Good shape

Oregon: Neither De'Anthony Thomas nor Josh Huff are "pure" receivers, but they are dynamic athletes that any team would want. Rahsaan Vaughn should take another step forward, as should Daryle Hawkins. Of the three redshirt freshmen, B.J. Kelly seems to have advanced the most compared to the more touted Devon Blackmon and Tacoi Sumler. Keanon Lowe could get into the mix, and hopes are high for incoming freshman Bralon Addison.

Washington: Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar are gone but Kasen Williams looks like a budding star -- 36 catches for 427 yards as a true freshman -- and James Johnson has been productive. After that, there are some questions. Cody Bruns could emerge, as could Kevin Smith, if healthy. But one or two redshirt or incoming freshmen figures to get into the mix.

California: Hard to believe Cal only rates "good shape" with Keenan Allen on hand, but that's the reality. Maurice Harris was the only other receiver on the post-spring depth chart, and coach Jeff Tedford hasn't been shy about saying three or four incoming freshmen need to step up and be ready to immediately play.

UCLA: The Bruins are replacing two of the their top-three receivers, most notably Nelson Rosario, a 1,000-yard receiver in 2011. But it helps their receiving ranking that Joseph Fauria, a once and future tight end, now is officially a "Y" receiver in the Bruins new system. Shaq Evans caught 19 passes and Ricky Marvray 10 in 2011. There are hopes 6-foot-4 Jerry Johnson breaks through as a senior and speedy Devin Lucien does so as a redshirt freshman. Incoming freshmen Jordan Payton and Randall Goforth could get into the mix.

Arizona: On the one hand, three of the top four receivers from 2011 are gone. On the other, Dan Buckner (42 receptions), Richard Morrison (22) and Austin Hill (21) are back, and Terrence Miller, Garic Wharton and Tyler Slavin have talent.

We'll see

Arizona State: The Sun Devils lost three of their top four receivers from 2011, including Gerell Robinson and his 1,397 receiving yards. Jamal Miles caught 60 passes last season, but after that things are pretty fluid. Senior Rashad Ross has outstanding speed but inconsistent hands. Junior J.J. Holliday, Kevin Ozier and junior college transfer Alonzo Agwuenu are the top options.

Stanford: Not only are the Cardinal's top two receivers gone, their leading returning wideout, Ty Montgomery, caught just 24 passes. Montgomery has potential but things are questionable behind him. Will Drew Terrell and/or Jamal-Rashad Patterson finally break through? The recruiting class didn't feature any highly-touted guys who appear ready to immediately step in and contribute. Of course, things are still good at tight end, which is where we expect the new quarterback to look first.

Colorado: The Buffaloes had an A-list receiver but then Paul Richardson blew out his knee this spring. Despite reports of his rapid recovery, this is a questionable position in Boulder, one in which freshmen -- the Buffs signed three -- will need to play. The leading returning pass catcher among the wideouts is Keenan Canty, who was listed third on the post-spring depth chart. True sophomore Tyler McCulloch (10 receptions in 2011) and redshirt freshman Nelson Spruce were the No. 1 receivers.

You can see previous previews here:


Running back