Week 1 of the 2022-23 college football season is right around the corner, and with a ton of blue-chip wide receiver talent taken in this year’s NFL Draft, there’s a new crop of speedsters looking to carve out a name for themselves this fall.
Let’s take a look at the top-tier wideouts heading into the upcoming college football season.
Addison, the 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner, racked up 100 receptions for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games for Pittsburgh last season. His 17 scores were tied for the most TD catches in the ACC, and he led the Panthers with 1,834 all-purpose yards.
Addison lifted Pitt to an ACC Coastal division title after scorching Virginia for 202 receiving yards and four touchdowns on just 14 catches. He earned consensus All-American status in 2021, becoming the first sophomore to achieve that stature since NFL great Larry Fitzgerald (2003). What’s more, Addison is just the fourth Pitt player to reach 200 receiving yards in a game and the first to do so since Fitzgerald (’03).
He boasts 160 receptions for 2,259 yards — the fourth-most receiving yards among active and returning WRs despite only playing two seasons — and 21 TDs all-time for Pitt. The rising junior made waves when he entered the transfer portal in May before announcing that he will enroll at USC ahead of the new season.
In 2021, Smith-Njigba caught 95 passes for 1,606 yards and nine TDs in his sophomore season at Ohio State, breaking single-season records in receptions and yards — both numbers were tied for sixth-most in Big Ten history. He broke a 20-year-old Big Ten receiving yards record set by Wisconsin‘s Lee Evan in 2001 (1,545 yards).
The sophomore made history at the 2021 Rose Bowl, hauling in 15 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns, earning him MVP honors and setting the record for the most receiving yards in any Bowl game in FBS history in the process. His 347 receiving yards in that game were also a school single-game record, the second-most in Big Ten history and the fifth-highest total in NCAA Division I history. What’s more, six of his catches were for 30-plus yards, including TD grabs of 50 and 52 yards on consecutive plays.
Smith-Njigba had seven 100-plus receiving yard games last year.
Boutte ended his true freshman season during the 2020-21 campaign with three straight 100-plus receiving yard games, racking up 735 yards on 45 catches in 10 games (five starts). He set the SEC record for receiving yards in a game in the Tigers’ 2020-21 season-finale against Ole Miss with 308 yards and was a Freshman All-SEC selection.
Boutte added 38 receptions for 509 yards and nine TDs in six games as a sophomore, but his season was cut short after suffering a leg injury that has since required two surgeries.
He boasts 83 receptions for 1,244 yards and 14 TDs in 16 career games.
Downs, a First-Team All-ACC selection in 2021, reeled in 101 catches for 1,335 yards — both program records — and eight TDs in 13 games last season. He had eight or more catches in 11 of those 13 games and scored in eight-straight games — just one TD short of the UNC school record.
Downs led the ACC and ranked fifth nationally in receptions (101) and was second in the league and 11th nationally in receiving yards (1,335). He has racked up 108 career receptions for 1,454 yards and 11 TDs in 17 games over two seasons with the Tar Heels.
Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year Worthy established Texas’ single-season freshman records in receptions (62), receiving yards (981) and receiving TDs (12).
He has made a huge impact in just one year with the Longhorns. Worthy led all FBS and Big 12 freshmen receivers in total yards, yards per game (81.8) and TDs. He also led Texas with 15 big plays (20-plus yards), with seven resulting in touchdowns.
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