Oct 13, 2012; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Maryland Terrapins wide receiver Stefon Diggs (1) gestures towards a teammate during pregame warm-ups before the game against the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports
Next up in our offseason player rankings is wide receivers in the ACC. A loaded group heading into the season, the ACC features many dynamic wide outs. There is also good balance, with most teams returning a standout receiver for their quarterbacks. ACC defenses will have their hands full every year week as they prepare to slow down teams areial attacks.
Lets start from the bottom and work our way up the rankings.
10) Rashad Greene – Florida State: The loss of E.J. Manuel will hurt Greene’s production a little. But Florida State has never had a tough time replacing talented players. Greene was a top target last year for the Noles, hauling in 57 receptions for 741 yards. His 13.0 average per reception was around the league average for last season.
9) Deon Long – Maryland: Slight homerism on this one, but the stats for Long are unbelievable. He may be new to the Terps, but he is a junior and is coming off of a record breaking Junior College season. He is ready to make an immediate impact, especially with Sophomore Stefon Diggs on the other side of the field. The big question for the Terps, is can they keep the QB upright enough to utilize Long and Diggs to their full potential.
8) Devin Street – Pittsburgh: Street will be a big part of Pitts first season in the ACC. After almost putting up 1,000 yards in the Big East last season, Street is ready for the betterr competition in the ACC. Pitt has struggled with QB play, and next season will be no different. Consistent play from the QB will help Street potentially finish his career as an All ACC player.
7) Quinshad Davis – North Carolina: Returning a QB and the leading wide receiever is always a good sign for a team. Especially when that team won 8 games the year before. Davis finished last year with 776 yards on 61 receptions and 5 touchdowns. With running back Giovani Bernard gone, Davis is going to be the focal point of the offense. While the schedule is tough, Davis has shown great ability despite being young.
6) Phillip Dorsett – Miami: Similar to North Carolina, Miami returns their QB and leading wideout. A good sign for the Hurricanes, who are looking to return to a bowl game after being on a self-imposed bowl ban. Dorsett and returning QB Stephen Morris connected for 842 yards last year. With the offensive line back as well, look for Morris and Dorsett to find each other even more this season.
5) Michael Campanaro – Wake Forest: The trend for many of these wide receivers is having the quarterback returning as well. Campanaro was one of the few bright spots for a struggling Wake Forest team. Campanaro lacks big play potential, but he is one of the most reliable receivers in the conference. He hauled in 79 receptions last year, but despite getting the ball so much, Campanaro didn’t break 1,000 yards, let alone 800 yards. His 9.7 average yards per reception was the lowest of everyone on the list, and the only one in single digits.
4) Jamison Crowder – Duke: Hard to believe a Duke football player would be doing so well. But Crowder was an All-ACC player last season after a great sophomore campaign. His 8 touchdowns was the most of everyone on this list, and his 76 receptions was third most. With Crowder out wide, Duke finally has an offense weapon to try and lead them to a bowl game.
3) Stefon Diggs – Maryland: I know what you are thinking, how could Diggs only be 3!?! I feel the same way, to a degree. My top 3 was very close, I could have talked myself into ranking them in anyway. Diggs is another dynamic and unbelievable player. He is the only Maryland football player I have seen who is captivating, and brings fans to edge of their seat on every play. Whenever he touches the ball, the whole stadium is excited because there is potential for a big play. Diggs finished with 54 receptions and 848 yards last season. He had a great freshman campaign, but when you take into account that he had a linebacker playing quarterback for 5 games, its unbelievable what he did. With CJ Brown coming back from injury, Diggs should be able to put together one of the best seasons in Maryland history.
2) Alex Amidon – Boston College: Amidon made one of the biggest leaps from sophomore to junior season you could ask for.
Sophomore: 20 Rec; 220 Yards; 11.0 AVG; 1 TD
Junior: 78 Rec; 1,210 Yards; 15.5 AVG; 7 TD
Like I said, a HUGE jump from one season to the next. Boston College not only has Amidon returning, but they also have Chase Rettig coming back as well. Is it possible that we see Amidon break 100 receptions? The chemistry between them is there, and Amidon has proven to be able to carry the load.
1) Sammy Watkins – Clemson: Not only is Watkins one of the best play makers in the conference, but he has ACC Offensive Player of the Year Tajh Boyd at quarterback. Watkins and Diggs are the ACC’s top two playmakers at Wide Receiver. They are players that coaches say, “give them the ball in space and they will do the rest.” The biggest difference between both of them this season, is the quarterbacks they have. Watkins has not only a proven quarterback, but the best quarterback in the ACC. His stats weren’t great last year, but with DeAndre Hopkins gone, Watkins will be getting the ball more.