The definition of best is “of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.” As a fan you can use any number of factors to determine who you think is the best. Most fans just use their heart.
I prefer to use my eyes and statistics.
Based on my research, and what I have witnessed, it is my opinion that Louisville has the best receivers in the ACC. I want to also say that they could be top 5 in the country but I have not seen enough of the other receiving corps to fairly make that assessment. So I’ll just stick with my opinion that Louisville has the best receivers in the ACC and that they compare favorably with the top receivers in the country.
Louisville has a stable of talent but it will be led by senior, Jaylen Smith, sophomore, Dez Fitzpatrick and junior, Seth Dawkins. They will be the “Big 3.” You will also witness guys like Corey Reed, Justin Marshall, and freshman Tutu Atwell contribute and grow – as they are the future. Two guys that are solid contributors than many forget about due to injury are redshirt juniors, Devante Peete and Emonee Spence. Peete was elected team captain in both 2016 and 2017.
Last season, Jaylen Smith had 60 receptions for 980 yards. That’s a 16.3 yard per catch average. He also hauled in 7 touchdowns. Those stats are impressive for any receiver’s full season but for Jaylen, those stats are only for 10 games. Jaylen missed 3 games (Kent State, Murray State and NC State) due to a wrist injury. He played most of the season hampered by that wrist.
His most impressive game last season was at North Carolina where he pulled down 9 receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown.
Jaylen’s 980 yards ranked 3rd in the ACC last season behind Syracuse WR, Steve Ishmael (1347 yards) - now with the Colts- and NC state’s, Kelvin Harmon (1017 yards) - who played in all 13 games.
Jaylen will give Jawon Pass that deep threat that defenses must respect.
Dez Fitzpatrick burst on to the scene last season as a redshirt freshman. I predicted that he would have a solid year and he could be the best receiver to ever wear a Cardinal uniform before his time at Louisville was over, but he exceeded my expectations. Dez finished his first year with 45 receptions for 699 yards.
He set a freshman record at Louisville with 9 touchdowns.
His best game came at NC State where he had 10 receptions for 134 yards.
He will wear jersey number 7 this season, changing from 87 last season.
In my opinion, Dez is a superior route runner with incredible hands. But what most people don’t notice is his ability to block. There are no awards or no stats collected for blocking by a receiver (as far as I can find) but I watched Dez block downfield better than most NFL receivers. Notice in the pics below how Dez blocks to allow Reggie to score. That’s how you finish a block…
As if those 2 weren’t enough, don’t forget about Seth Dawkins. Seth accumulated 42 receptions for 642 (15.3 avg.) and 4 touchdowns last season. He will be a junior this season and I look for him to take another step forward. Seth has the biggest pair of hands I have ever seen. He is as solid as they come and can make the big play as well.
Those Big 3 are enough for me to put them atop the ACC as the best but here is what others think because we all use different metrics to determine best.
ESPNCharlotte has their top 5 in the ACC with 2 Cards making the list –
Clemsons SB nation site has a top 5 and Jaylen comes in at #3 –
This is probably my favorite statistical chart for ACC receivers. Wake Forest comes in at 1 and 2 but Louisville comes in with 3,4 and 7. In my opinion that gives Louisville the edge. –
Wide Receiver Rating
The PFF Wide Receiver rating shows the quarterback rating when a receiver is thrown at. The factors that go into this rating: Number of targets, number of receptions, receiving yardage, receiving touchdowns and interceptions thrown whilst a receiver was the target of the pass. These players participated in at least 50% of their team’s offensive snaps.
- Greg Dortch – Wake Forest – 134.0 rating (51 targets, 29 receptions, 535 yards, 5 touchdowns, 1 interception)
- Tabari Hines – Wake Forest – 130.5 rating (43 targets, 31 receptions, 405 yards, 5 touchdowns, 1 interception)
- Dez Fitzpatrick– Louisville – 126.9 rating (52 targets, 33 receptions, 498 yards, 5 touchdowns)
- Seth Dawkins – Louisville – 115.6 rating (43 targets, 26 catches, 412 yards, 3 touchdowns)
- Jakobi Meyers – N.C. State – 115.0 rating (63 targets, 46 receptions, 548 yards, 3 touchdowns)
- Rafael Araujo-Lopes – Pitt – 102.9 rating (39 targets, 27 receptions, 324 yards, 1 touchdown)
- Jaylen Smith – Louisville – 102.1 rating (69 targets, 39 receptions, 676 yards, 5 touchdowns, 2 interceptions)
- Olamide Zaccheaus – Virginia – 96.1 rating (76 targets, 51 receptions, 554 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception)
- Kelvin Harmon – N.C. State – 89.8 rating (65 targets, 34 receptions, 628 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception)
- Eric Kumah – Virginia Tech – 84.0 rating (39 targets, 22 receptions, 247 yards, 1 touchdown)
Here is one from a national perspective…
Top WR units for 2018:
1 Ole Miss
2 West Va
3 Ohio St
14 Arizona St
17 Miami (FL)
19 South Carolina
— CFB Home (@CFBHome) July 8, 2018
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As Always, GO CARDS!