1. Drake London (USC)
The true definition of a “match-up nightmare”, Drake London is one of those guys at 6’ 5”, 210-pounds that can physically outmatch his opponents without much trouble. He has the versatility to play in the slot for short yardage and also find seams in the defense deep downfield to make game-changing plays. His abilities have been amplified by having a quarterback like Kedon Slovis, who can deliver a steady ball, and 2021 is setting up to be his signature year.
2. David Bell (Purdue)
David Bell is one of those players who seems better every time you watch him on film and while mostly unheralded outside of Big Ten country, he deserves a lot more respect than the due he’s been given. The receiver caught a ridiculous 53 passes for 625 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2020, despite the Boilermakers playing in just six games, and in five of those contests, the steady-handed talent caught at least 8 balls. He’s an absolute terror to defenses.
3. Kyle Philips (UCLA)
One of those players who can operate so cleanly from the slot that he can actually change an offensive scheme by himself, Kyle Philips graces the list due to his high efficiency and ability to pick and choose his spots against opposing defenses. His 38 catches for 370 yards and 2 scores in 2020 seem a bit pedestrian, but when you take into account that he hauled in 6 passes or more in four of the five games that the Bruins played, you can see where his mark is made.
4. Johnny Johnson III (Oregon)
A true veteran who returns for year five in 2021, there’s few players are experienced as Johnny Johnson III is in all of college football. According to UO’s athletic department, he “needs 20 receptions, 431 yards and four TDs to enter the top 10 in program history in all three categories”, showing his quiet, yet stable success over his stay in Eugene. He also was a Coaches Pac-12 All-Honorable Mention choice in 2020.
5. Cutrell Haywood (Idaho)
Across the board, Idaho has a lot of questions that need answering but one of them is not at the top receiver spot, where the multi-talented Cutrell Haywood leads the way for the Vandals. What I love about Haywood is that it almost seems like he can pick and choose his spots and he’s a better route-runner in my eyes than he’s given credit for at the end of the day. For his career, he has 139 grabs and 14 touchdowns over the course of three seasons in the Gem State.