ESPN ranks top 10 wide receivers in college football

ESPN ranks top 10 wide receivers in college football

The 2024 NFL Draft is loaded at wide receiver, meaning the college football ranks will feature a brand new group of top pass catchers next season.

Of course, there are familiar names returning, but much of the star power has departed. So, with a long summer coming up, ESPN decided to rank the best 10 wide receivers ahead of the 2024 college football season.

Take a look at the full list below:

Photo by Jay Biggerstaff | Getty Images

The Missouri star takes the top spot after an absurdly productive sophomore season, posting 86 receptions for 1,212 total yards along with nine touchdowns as he was one of the stars on a Tiger team that really broke through under Eli Drinkwitz.

Some of Burden’s teammates will be different, but not quarterback Brady Cook, so you can see how Missouri might keep pace with the offensive production they got a year ago. If they do, it will be because Burden has elevated his game to yet another level.

arizona-wildcats-wide-receiver-tetairoa-mcmillan-enters-ncaa-transfer-portal
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Like Burden, McMillan will reunite with his quarterback again in 2024 as the talented wideout and young QB Noah Fifita have both pledged to come back to the Wildcats despite a coaching change this offseason. This could be one of the more electric QB-WR duos in the nation next season.

In 2023, McMillan was wildly productive with more than 1,400 yards receiving, roughly doubling his output the year before as a freshman. So, can we expect a 2,800-yard season this fall? Likely not, but there certainly could be room to grow for this budding superstar wideout.

ohio-state-head-coach-ryan-day-explains-offensive-difference-receiver-emeka-egbuka-makes
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Egbuka will finally get his chance to shine now that guys like Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jaxon Smith-Njigba are no longer in front of him. Who knows, perhaps there’s a wealth of untapped potential with this guy after always playing second fiddle.

So far, Egbuka has put together a roller-coaster couple of seasons, with just under 200 yards as a freshman, and then more than 1,100 as a sophomore in 2022, but that figure dipped down to 515 this past season. With the WR room centered around him, though, expect a spike back over 1,000 for this coming season.

what-tez-johnson-traeshon-holding-returning-means-for-oregons-receiver-room-in-2024
© Craig Strobeck-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson exploded in his first season with the Ducks, topping a previous career high in yards, 863 the year prior at Troy, with 1,182 yards as the No. 2 option in yellow and green. Of course, Troy Franklin led the way at 1,300+ but is now gone, clearing the way for Johnson’s stardom.

Sure, a concern for him could be that Bo Nix is no longer throwing the passes, but Oregon has a sure-handed replacement at the very least in sixth-year senior Dillon Gabriel, who was terrific for Oklahoma last season.

(©Bruce Newman)

Harris put himself on the map immediately starting last season, letting folks know that a jump from Louisiana Tech to Ole Miss was no problem for him as he scored four touchdowns on six total catches worth 133 yards in the opener vs. Mercer last September.

He would go on to eclipse the 130-yard mark three more times that season but only scored four total touchdowns the rest of the way. Still, his season-long numbers were strong at 985 yards and eight touchdowns, and he’ll be back this fall to catches pass from Jaxson Dart once again.

Xavier Restrepo
(AP Photo/Doug Murray)

This list is filled with lanky athletes and broad-shouldered deep threats, but Xavier Restrepo offers a sub-six-foot frame and more of a gadget game than many of these other players — well, except for Luther Burden.

Last season, Restrepo only averaged 12 yards per catch but needed a high usage rate and 85 catches to help keep a struggling Hurricane offense moving along. He did eclipse the 1,000-yard mark and hopes to put up much bigger numbers in what’s hopefully a much better offense in 2024.

WR Caullin Lacy
Stephen Lew | USA TODAY Sports

ESPN is banking hard on a South Alabama transfer serving as the second coming of Jamari Thrash for the Cardinals. Lacy is a 5’10 speedster who began his career at running back but has developed into an elite slot wide receiver.

Lacy put up 1,316 yards and seven scores in 2023, and with a step up into the Brohm system, playing that Thrash role, Lacy could very well wind up in the ballpark of those numbers once again. And that’s despite a step up in competition and more pass catchers around him.

Michigan Wolverines football tight end Colston Loveland
(Photo by Gabriella Ceritano / TheWolverine.com)

Almost all of the receivers on this last put up major production last fall, mostly in the 1,000+ yard territory. But Michigan’s Colston Loveland is one of the few bets on potential among this list.

Loveland isn’t a nobody, having recorded north of 600 yards for the title winners. However, his placement on this list is a product of what he will likely become this season, which is the No. 1 target on a reigning champion.

Travis Hunter-Colorado Buffaloes-Colorado football-NIL deal
USA Today Network

Hunter’s play early on in the season was nothing short of extraordinary, as the dual-sided star played the majority of snaps for both the offense and defense before he eventually had to miss time and only appeared in nine games.

In those nine games, though, he racked up more than 700 receiving yards with a few jaw-dropping touchdown catches — and all while playing some elite cornerback. Hopefully, we can all see a full season of the unique Colorado star.

Isaiah Bond
Isaiah Bond (Will Gallagher/Inside Texas)

With Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy out the door, Texas needed replacements at wideout and tapped the transfer well for another SEC import, just like Mitchell, in Alabama’s Isaiah Bond. He put up 888 career yards through two years with the Tide.

However, there was one moment this past season from Bond that will forever live in Iron Bowl lore. On a fourth down and 31 and Alabama trailing with just seconds to play, Jalen Milroe found Bond in the back of the end zone for the score. Here’s to more moments like that, but in a burnt orange uniform, for the rising junior.

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