1. Frank Darby - Arizona State
No other team on the Beavers’ schedule features a Quarterback to Wide Receiver duo on caliber with what the Sun Devils are bringing to the field. Jayden Daniels had a stellar first season, and he found an excellent big play threat in Frank Darby.
Darby finished last season with 8 touchdowns and 616 yards, with a massive 19..9 average on his receptions. Whenever he gets the ball in his hands he’s dangerous, and Daniels is getting better and better at getting the ball in his hands.
2. Johnny Johnson III - Oregon
While Oregon’s offense is getting a significant change at Quarterback, with Justin Herbert headed to Los Angeles to become a Charger, the rest of the unit returns with a significant amount of experience. That’s includes on the conference’s top returning pass catchers in Johnny Johnson III. Johnson is coming off a huge 2019 season, during which he caught 836 yards worth of passes alongside 7 receiving touchdowns.
Johnson’s had issues with drops in the past, but appeared to get that sorted out last season. His workload may decrease if the Ducks decide to rely on their strong running game while their new starter get settled in. If the Ducks do get the passing game sorted out early in the season, Johnson could be on pace for a monstrous season.
3. Jamarye Joiner - Arizona
After converting from quarterback, Jamarye Joiner swiftly established himself as Arizona’s best receiving target. He finished the year with 552 yards and 5 touchdowns, capping things off with a 140 yard, 2 TD game against Arizona State. Despite lacking the experience of other receivers, Joiner showed great hands and the ability to embarrass defenders.
There will be some question as to whether Joiner is ready to go whenever the season starts. He broke his foot in spring practices, and is only now getting the boot off. Still, Arizona’s staff, and Joiner’s mom, seem optimistic he’ll be ready to go for the first game.
4. Simi Fehoko - Stanford
Stanford’s receivers emerged as a bright spot on a bad team in 2019, and the unit has strong potential for growth in 2020. While Michael Wilson emerged as the top target for both KJ Costello and his replacement, Davis Mills, Simi Fehoko has the tools to be the team’s breakout star.
Despite pulling in half as many catches as the team’s two top receivers, Fehoko nearly matched their production, with 566 yards and an absurd 24.0 YPC, and led the team in receiving touchdowns with 6. With his size, 6’ 4” and 220 lbs he poses a match-up problem for most teams in the conference and has a tremendous amount of big play potential. Expect Fehoko to pop up on a lot of highlight reels if the Cardinal can get their offense going.
5. Britain Covey - Utah
Utah’s got a few questions on offense, but their receiving corps looks solid. They’ll hopefully be lead by Britain Covey, a Junior who led the team in receiving yards in 2015 and 2018. Covey is coming off of an ACL tear in 2019 that caused him to take a redshirt season, but if he’s healthy, he’ll be a dangerous weapon for whoever wins Utah’s starting QB job.
Covey will line up in the slot and be a useful security blanket for the new QB. In his last full season, in 2018, he finished with 637 receiving yards. He’s never been a TD machine, grabbing only 5 in his unfortunately shortened college career, but that may change if he becomes a favorite target in the new system. He’s also an extremely talented kick returner. He’s been All-Pac 12 twice on Special Teams, and if he’s ready to go next season, he’ll make big contributions to the team even when the offense isn’t on the field.
Note: This list was compiled using Oregon State’s current schedule of conference opponents for the 2020 season, with all their non-conference games cancelled. It does not include players from all Pac-12 teams, since that alteration has yet to be formally decided or announced.