Last season, the Big Ten had four wide receivers catch over 10 touchdown passes and gain over 1,00 yards in the conference. All four receivers are now playing the NFL as they have already left a lasting impact on their former programs.
This season, a new crop of wide receivers will look to become the new stars for respective universities.
Similar to other top five player rankings of Big Ten athletes, this list will feature the top five wide receivers for the upcoming season. What sets this list apart from the others is that this is based off of potential rather than results. Other than one player, these players haven’t become household names but should be in the near future.
Last season, Abbrederis had a breakout season for the Badgers in his sophomore year. The 6-foot 2-inch receiver caught 55 passes for a career-high 933 yards and eight touchdowns. With the departure of Nick Toon to graduation, Abbrederis can become the prominent receiver for Wisconsin this season and have his first 1,000 yard receiving year in his career. The Badgers will likely become an offensive juggernaut this season and are the only team to have two players ranked No. 1 in the conference by Midway Madness.
2. Keenan Davis-Senior/University of Iowa
For the early part of Davis’ career with the Hawkeyes, he was primarily used as a kick returner until last season when he had 50 receptions for 713 yards and four touchdowns. Davis will receive a boost in receptions this season as Marvin McNutt left for graduation. Davis is poised to have a 1,100 yard receiving season and could improve his draft stock for the 2013 NFL Draft.
3. Kenny Bell-Sophomore/University of Nebraska
Bell was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2011 and had the longest touchdown run in school history against Minnesota at 82 yards. Bell has the potential to become the primary receiver for an offense that threw for only 13 touchdowns last season. Bell had 32 receptions for 432 yards and three touchdowns. He has the ability to have a stellar season and could also help the Cornhuskers in the return game as well.
4. Jeremy Gallon-Junior/University of Michigan
While Gallon experienced much better success with kick returns, he was able to have solid season for the Wolverines in 2011 with 31 receptions and 453 yards and three touchdowns. If Gallon doubles those numbers in 2012, he could become a featured receiver for what looks to be a very potent Michigan offense this upcoming season.
5. Kyle Prater-Sophomore/Northwestern University
Prater was able to transfer from USC earlier this year to Northwestern and is still awaiting word from the NCAA on his appeal to play this season after he made the move to come closer to home to care for an ill family member. While Prater was a highly-touted recruit in 2010, he didn’t see much playing time at USC due to an injury. If Prater can get on the field for the Wildcats this season, he has the potential to become one of the better receivers in the conference, something Northwestern has lacked for a long time.