Top Ten SEC Wide Receivers: Where Does Sammie Coates Rank?


Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Sammie Coates (18) scores a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the fourth quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

In anticipation of the 2014 Southeastern Conference football season, we have been ranking the best players at every position, and paying close attention to where Auburn’s best players stack up. In case you’ve missed anything so far:

Top Five SEC Quarterbacks

Top Ten SEC Running Backs

Top Ten SEC Offensive Linemen, By Position

And now, we have the top ten SEC wide receivers. We know Sammie Coates made huge strides last season, but where does he rank against the best in the conference?

1. Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

One of the prized pieces of the 2013 Ole Miss recruiting class, Laquon Treadwell did not disappoint as a true freshman. Treadwell caught 72 passes last season, which is the most among active SEC players. While he was often used as a possession receiver, and averaged only 8.5 yards per catch, he does have big play ability. The sophomore should improve on his 608 receiving yards and five touchdowns thanks to the departure of Donte Moncrief and the return of Bo Wallace, the SEC’s most experienced passer.

2. Amari Cooper, Alabama

Unlike Sammie Coates, there were big expectations for Amari Cooper heading into his sophomore season. After catching 59 passes for 1,000 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012, there were some that expected Cooper to enter the Heisman discussion. While 45 receptions and 736 yards is nothing to sneeze at, it was a bit underwhelming. Now a junior, Cooper is still one of the most gifted wide receivers in the entire country. Expect new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to utilize Cooper like he did Marquise Lee at USC – which could mean huge numbers in 2014.

Oct 26, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Sammie Coates (18) runs the ball past the Florida Atlantic Owls defense for a touchdown at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

3. Sammie Coates, Auburn

There weren’t many people that knew much about Sammie Coates entering last season, at least on a national scale. However, the 6-foot-3 speedster became one of the best deep treats in all of college football. In fact, with 21.5 yards per catch, Coates led the nation. He also led the team with 42 receptions, 902 yards and seven touchdowns.

4. Marquez North, Tennessee

Tennessee fans got a glimpse of Marquez North last season as a true freshman, and if there is one player that appears ready to explode onto the national scene, it is this 6-foot-4 wideout. North had 496 receiving yards on 38 catches last year on his way to Freshman All-SEC honors. Now with more talent on offense and a senior quarterback, North should be freed up to make big plays in 2014.

5. Jameon Lewis, Mississippi State

A quick trivia question: Who is the SEC’s leading returner in receiving yards and yards per game? Of course, it is the senior from Mississippi State. Lewis had 923 receiving yards, and averaged 71 per game last season. He caught five touchdowns, but also found the end zone as a runner and a passer last year as well. Add in Lewis’ abilities as a returner, and he is quite possibly the SEC’s most versatile playmaker.

6. Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia

Earlier this week, it was announced that Mitchell had re-aggravated the knee injury that sidelined him for nearly all of the 2013 season, and he underwent a minor surgery to clean it up. While the procedure will push back Mitchell’s return to the field, whenever he makes it back he will be one of the best players in the SEC. He has 85 career receptions for 1,237 touchdowns and eight touchdowns.

7. Shaq Roland, South Carolina

Roland ranks slightly higher than his teammate on our list for his size and pure explosive ability. At 6-foot-1, Roland is a bigger target than Damiere Byrd, and is nearly as fast. The junior averaged 18.2 yards per catch in 2013 by gaining 455 yards on 25 receptions. He gets great separation from defenders, and will be utilized often this season. Roland should help new starting quarterback Dylan Thompson find his stride early.

8. Chris Conley, Georgia

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Conley has made a name for himself this offseason more for his Star Wars fandom and directorial abilities, but he is a very good wide receiver as well. Last season, the senior led the Bulldogs with 45 catches and 651 receiving yards and he was a stabilizing force on an offensive unit that was ravaged by injuries. At 6-foot-3, Conley has the size and ability to do damage both over the middle of the field and in the end zone.

9. Malcome Kennedy, Texas A&M

Overshadowed each of the last two seasons by Mike Evans, Malcome Kennedy was still a very valuable cog in the Aggies offense. Last year, Kennedy caught 60 passes for 658 yards and seven touchdowns. With Evans out of the picture, expect Kennedy to be the top option for either Kyle Allen or Kenny Hill. There are certainly other talented receivers, including five-star freshmen Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil, but Kennedy is poised for a big year.

10. Damiere Byrd, South Carolina

Byrd is a true speedster with the ability to turn short catches into big plays. Now a senior, Byrd had 33 receptions last season and averaged 17.4 yards per catch. His 575 receiving yards were second on the team behind Bruce Ellington, who left Columbia early for the NFL. The New Jersey native is the shortest player on our list at 5-foot-9, and will have to compete with talented receivers on his own roster for attention, but Byrd’s speed is undeniable.

What do you think? Is third a fair spot for Sammie Coates? How about the rest of the top ten – did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments below.