December 08, 2009
For the rest of the month, we're closing out the last ten years by assembling the best in one place on the Doc's All-Decade team. It's a democratic enterprise: Vote below for best wide receiver. The top two vote-getters will appear on the final team later in the month.
Charles Rogers • Michigan State (2001-02).
Remembered mainly for throwing away his career as a top draft pick with a long series of legal problems, but made every major All-America team and won the Biletnikoff Award as the best receiver in the country in 2002. An initial academic casualty, Rogers hauled in more than 2,500 yards' worth of passes and 25 touchdowns his last two years, averaging 20 yards per catch.
Rashaun Woods • Oklahoma State (2000-03).
Two-time All-American set the Division I-A record for most receiving touchdowns in a game (7 vs. SMU in 2003) and finished his career third on the all-time I-A list in receiving yards and touchdowns. Put together three straight 1,000-yard seasons, caught the game-winning pass in the Cowboys' 2001 upset over Oklahoma and caught three touchdowns against the Sooners in another Bedlam upset the following year, the last time OSU has won in the series.
Larry Fitzgerald • Pittsburgh (2002-03).
The master of the spectacular mid-air catch, Fitzgerald ran the gamut of awards and All-America teams in 2003, when he finished second in Heisman voting for a 92-catch, 22-touchdown masterpiece of a season as just a sophomore. A year of prep school allowed him to take his act to the NFL after just two years with the Panthers.
Mike Williams • USC (2002-03).
Certainly one of the biggest wideouts of the decade at 235 pounds, Williams was a matchup nightmare on every level, finishing with 176 catches and 30 touchdowns in two years. The big, sure-handed target helped turn Carson Palmer into a Heisman winner and Matt Leinart into one of the premiere starters in the country. (Leinart's Heisman would come one year later, without Williams, who lost his junior season in a failed effort to challenge the draft's age rule for early entrants.)
Braylon Edwards • Michigan (2001-04).
Joining Woods as the only four-year player on this list, Edwards had three straight 1,000-yard seasons and ultimately brought in 39 career touchdowns, though he was only an All-American once, as a senior in 2004. He finished that year with 97 catches and 15 touchdowns -- three of them in a wild comeback against Michigan State that became his signature game, and another three in the last-second Rose Bowl loss to Vince Young-led Texas -- and every possible All-American honor.
Dwayne Jarrett • USC (2004-06).
Two-time All-American was the top target on the highest-gaining offense of the decade in 2005, bringing in 91 catches for 16 touchdowns and converting one of the most memorable plays on a 4th-and-10 bomb from Leinart that Jarrett took 60 yards to set up the winning touchdown at Notre Dame. He another 70 catches in 2006 and left with 41 career touchdowns.
Calvin Johnson • Georgia Tech (2004-06).
Big, acrobatic leaper became probably the most decorated receiver of the decade in 2006, when he appeared on every All-America team and just missed a trip to New York for the Heisman. Johnson finished with nearly 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns over three years, but is remembered mainly for his almost imposing wingspan and freakish ability to come up with everything throw in his general vicinity -- a useful asset when saddled with Reggie Ball, possibly the least-respected passer in history to hold down a starting job for four years.
Michael Crabtree • Texas Tech (2007-08).
Redshirted, incredibly, then broke out with an absurd 134-catch, 1,962-yard, 22-touchdown effort that smashed every freshman record in 2007, then followed that up with a mere 97-catch, 19-touchdown season in 2008 that included the biggest play in Texas Tech history to knock off No. 1 Texas at the last second.
Percy Harvin • Florida (2006-08).
A perfect fit for Urban Meyer's offense, Harvin lined up all over the field from the beginning, playing a key role in the Gators' BCS title run as a freshman in 2006. He went out with 1,852 yards rushing for his career, 1,929 receiving, 32 touchdowns, two championship rings and a whole position in Florida's offense enshrined with his name.
Jeremy Maclin • Missouri (2007-08).
The only analogue to Harvin's versatility, Maclin did everything for two of the best offenses in Tiger history, grabbing 182 catches over two years for more than 2,300 yards and 22 touchdowns, and adding 11 more scores as a runner and return man. He was the only player in the country in 2008 to average 200 all-purpose yards per game.